Last weekend I attended my first writers conference at UND. It was actually the 32nd Annual Writing for Children and Young Adults Conference. Yes, 32nd annual, and I just heard about it for the first time, thanks to my mom who spotted it in the newspaper.
I have absolutely nothing to compare it to, but I thought it was a good conference considering the size of UND/Grand Forks. They had three (the 4th cancelled last minute) editors from publishers that do children’s books. I’d never heard of the two companies, Flux and Egmont, but the other was Random House, which everyone knows. And the one who didn’t show was from Viking, which I recognize too.
There was also a local author of middle grade fiction, Kurtis Scaletta, who now lives in Minneapolis area. He lived in Grand Forks and attended UND.
The speakers were dynamic and interesting. And I met some nice people too who I will probably run into again.
The best thing was that being a small conference, 25ish people, you have access to these editors and the writer. They sat at lunch and dinner with us and would answer questions you might have. That might not happen in New York at a conference with hundreds of people.
Mr. Scaletta also offered to review query letters and offer suggestions since he’s dealt with them and literary agents. He thought mine looked good. It has been much revised and changed since I first started querying, so hopefully this might grab someone’s attention.
I was disappointed that I’d missed the deadline to submit a manuscript (10 pages) for evaluation by an editor. That would have been helpful. I also wished they would have had a literary agent (which the big conferences do).
But I will definitely go back.
I also hope to go to more conferences. Sioux Falls had one last spring and hopefully will again. Yes, the big jump from Grand Forks to Sioux Falls. Maybe I’ll take on Denver or New York or LA after that!