The New England SCBWI Conference has passed and I often heard these questions:
- What should I expect if I go?
- Was it worth it? Would you go again?
If you are considering your conference schedule for next year and trying to decide where you want to go, I highly recommend the NESCBWI spring conference. There are a wide variety of workshops and sessions to choose from, so if you’re a seasoned pro just looking to socialize and learn some techniques, this is great. Or if you’re completely new and need to learn SCBWI 101 and how publishing really works, this is a great conference. The sessions are great, and you can really pick and choose how you spend your time. You can also plan introvert breaks and during the registration select that you won’t be attending a session time.
The size of the group is large, about 500 people. This is a great size group for meeting new people, making friends, but not feeling overwhelmed by the huge numbers that show up to the international conferences in New York and Los Angeles.
Professional opportunities were plentiful at this conference. Attendees could meet with an agent, editor or art director and get critiques for portfolios, dummies, manuscripts. There were opportunities for a career consultation, and for illustrators, a portfolio showcase and illustration challenge. One evening featured a Pitch-a-palooza, where authors were randomly selected to pitch a book for one minute, and get feedback from a panel of agents and editors. Again, there’s potential to be signed by an agent here.
You can expect to talk a lot during the weekend. Staying hydrated is essential, and taking a break now and then is good. It’s better to miss a session and recharge a bit than to power through and be exhausted. This is especially true for introverts, but even extroverts need a break! Taking care of yourself will help you put your best self forward when meeting new people!
Is it worth it? Yes. I think so. I would recommend if you are going to travel to a conference to travel to a regional one like the NESCBWI before attending the two biggies in NYC and LA, because it’s still a LOT to take in without being overwhelming. However, don’t let this deter you from diving into registering for the LA conference in August.
What are some of your favorite regional conferences?