|Illustration courtesy of Brooke-Boynton Huges|
Brooke's success didn't come from one conference. She says,
I think the most important part about attending conferences is the chance to have one-on-one portfolio critiques and the opportunity to learn about your craft. I attended six or seven international conferences and three or four regional conferences before I was published and before my portfolio was recognized in the showcase."Now her illustrations are published in books with Beach Lane, Disney Hyperion, and Random House.Author turned agent Ana Crespo met her editor, Kelly Barrales-Saylor who was then an editor with Albert Whitman and Co. (she is now an editor with Sourcebooks) during the regional Rocky Mountain SCBWI conference. Ana signed up for a manuscript critique and landed a feedback timeslot with Kelly. After listening to Kelly’s edit suggestions and taking ample notes during workshops, Ana was armed with ideas to improve her writing. Ana went home, reworked and edited her story, then queried Kelly who bought and published The Sock Thief. Ana went on to sell four books to Albert Whitman in a series called JP BOOKS, MY EMOTIONS AND ME. During another conference, she met Alvina Ling Executive Editorial Director of Little Brown Books. Alvina later published Hello Tree, illustrated by Dow Phumiruk.
I met my editor, Melissa Manlove of Chronicle Books, at an SCBWI conference, and let’s just say it involved an unofficial scavenger hunt, an Aperol Smash, and a failed pitch. But that failed pitch was part of a connection, and in the end I received a business card and an email address. A year-and-a-half later I worked on the craft points I’d learned at the conference, I worked with my critique group, I read and drafted, and then I sent a query letter about a new manuscript—here’s where I cue the drum roll and build to a frenzy—I got a YES! That’s how I sold the award-winning picture book, THE ELEPHANTS COME HOME.