Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Conferences and Festivals

My post today is more of a question to everyone out there... as I posted here, I've been doing more speaking events and festivals recently and I'm curious about other people's experiences out there with this kind of thing.

Authors/Illustrators/Editors and publishing folk:

-If you attended or spoke at any conferences/festivals in recent past, which ones stand out as the most interesting, organized, and all around great venues to promote your books and connect with the librarian/school community?

-How many roughly do you attend in a year?

-In what specific ways do you feel they benefit your work/books?


-Which conferences and/or festivals have been the most interesting and helpful for you, and why?

-Do you prefer smaller or larger events?

-How many would you say you attend in a year?

Thanks in advance for indulging my little quiz. There are no wrong answers, promise! I just thought it might be helpful for all of us to talk a little nitty gritty about how the people who create books are able to connect with the people who read, buy, and get the word out about whats new in the kid lit world... thoughts anyone?


Anonymous said...

I thought the LA SCBWI Annual Conference was fantastic. Not necessarily for connecting with the library/school community, though. ALA and IRA are probably the best for that.

I attend one or two of the major conferences a year--all the editors here take turns going depending on which authors are attending. This year I'll be at IRA in Toronto and ALA in DC. And I also do around two SCBWI conferences a year.

I think going to these conferences allow me to talk about the books I work on, and hope that some of the conferece-goers end up reading them.

Elaine Magliaro said...


I like the Keene State College Children's Literature Festival that's held in late October every year in New Hampshire. I think you'd agree with me that David White attracts a stellar group of children's authors and illustrators. Another thing I like about the Keene festival is that it is very affordable.

I attend the Children's Literature Institute at Simmons College in Boston. It's held every other year
--in odd numbered years. It's expensive--but they always have an outstanding group of authors and illustrators as speakers. Some of the speakers stay at the college for the duration of the institute. I met Janet Wong at one of them several years ago. She offered to read a couple of my poetry manuscripts. She has been very supportive and has given me some great suggestions. I have connected with other librarians and children's book lovers at Simmons, too. We have had some great book discussions.

I usually attend In Celebration of Children's Literature at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham in July. I often see many of the same attendees there every year. Some children's authors and illustrators who live in Maine attend the conference.

One reason I like to attend conferences is because I have been the person responsible these past few years for arranging for children's authors and illustrators to be speakers at our reading council's three yearly membership meetings. I like to find out which authors and illustrators are good presenters.
I also like to get to know the people behind the books.

Although I have been a member of both NCTE and IRA for many years, I have never attended one of their annual conferences. I don't like crowds that big.

Anonymous said...

I had the pleasure of participating in the first annual Decatur Book Festival this past Fall (Atlanta, Georgia) and wow was it a great event. For it’s first year it was amazing how smooth everything went, not to mention the impressive line-up of famous authors. The children’s section (hosted by my independent children’s book store, A Little Shop of Stories) was more successful than anybody expected and we actually sold out of my books (they’d ordered scads). Add to that, I got to rub elbows (and share a panel) with Chris Raschka and other greats in our industry. It was amazing publicity for me, my books, and school visits in my area. For me, it was a perfect affair.

I also speak at other conferences in the Southeast (averaging about three or four a year), mostly for the SCBWI Southern-Breeze, but also on various panels, and I teach at the John C. Campbell Folk School. I really love to teach (and am a natural ham), so thoroughly enjoy these engagements. And although these events haven’t been quite as big as the Festival was, they are still wonderful venues for self-promotion and book sales.

I haven’t attended the big SCBWI events (NY/LA) yet, but can’t wait for the opportunity. SCBWI events are always well-run and invigorating.

Anna Alter said...

Thanks guys, very interesting! I'll have to check out Maine and Simmons (Atlanta might be a little too far too travel, but great to hear about).

I've been to ALA, SCBWI, and some of the other big conferences, and they're great, but I love learning about the smaller conferences and festivals that you might never know about if you didn't hear about them by word of mouth. I've found smaller venues sometimes give you more exposure (maybe because there is less competition for attention?), and are a little less overwhelming...

jjk said...

conferences are a great way to connect with librarians. it's sort of like giving 100 school visits at once. i go to a few conferences per year, but i would do more if i could. i went to the la scbwi this past summer and i had a blast connecting with so many authors and illustrators. i also really enjoyed speaking at ira a few years back. what i love most about the conferences for librarians and book sellers is strolling through the aisles and seeing what all of the publishers have coming out!

Don Tate II said...

Several great conferences and lit festivals here in Texas. My favorites are those where the organizers arrange to put me into schools, or bring the kids to the festival. Dallas Children's Book and Literary Festival(community sponsored) is one of my favs as well as the one in Corpus. I love meeting librarians of course, but the kids "oooh" and "ahhh" so much better. Besides, I illustrate for kids and I love inspiring them.

I less prefer those where I'm left to sit behind a table, kinda like I'm on display at the zoo.