Posted by: nancyisanders | August 3, 2009

A Mary Poppins Conference Experience

It’s here! The week of the huge summer conference for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is here. Editors from publishing houses big and small are flocking to Los Angeles to join agents and authors and illustrators from around the world.

This summer as I’m posting Marketing Tips on my blog, it’s natural to turn our thoughts to attending a conference. Conferences are a great way to help market yourself as a writer and let others know about your new book. There are editors and agents to meet, other writers to network with, and marketing opportunities galore.

If you’re planning to go to Nationals (as this conference is commonly called) this year, you’re preparing for the big event. I know I am. Or if you hope to attend an upcoming conference, here are some tips to help you have a Mary Poppins experience–practically perfect in every way.

Do you remember Mary Poppins and her magical carpet bag? It could hold ANYTHING from a six-foot tall lampstand to a small hand mirror. As we’re preparing to go to a conference, here are some things I recommend packing in a “magical carpet bag” to take along to make your conference experience the best it can be.

Diet Bars: Be sure to pack these and take them along for feeding your ego. Why? It’s necessary to want to do your best and succeed and accomplish great feats if you want to get published, but it’s also important to keep these feelings in check.

MIcrophone: Hold out your pretend microphone and let others talk. Ask them to share their journey as a writer. Encourage others to stand in the spotlight as you validate their worth as a writer. Taking time to listen to other writers will help you connect in a deeper way with other people who have the same heart as you do.

One Minute Egg Timer: Speakers, Editors, and Agents are often over-stressed and overwhelmed with the flood of wannabe writers and potential manuscripts at a conference. Practice your manuscript pitch in one sentence and practice holding a conversation with an editor that takes up just one minute of their time. Be gracious, kind, and succinct. You’ll make more of an impact if you do.


  1. Thanks, Nancy, for those handy-dandy reminders. Did I tell you we finally have a date and place for our Write2Ignite! Conference?

    Feb. 26-27, 2010, at North Greenville University near Greenville, SC. Ya-hoo!

    I’m off to do more planning.

    Jean Hall

  2. Hip hip hooray for you, Jean! Keep us posted!


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