I’m a veteran of three SCBWI New York conferences. I’d like to attend more, but my schedule and day job won’t allow for it. But I still think its well worth the effort. It gives me chance to meet other people in the industry and gives me a better perspective of what’s going on with children’s books in general.
The SCBWI Conference was held in a new location, at the Grand Hyatt on 42nd St. I have to say that I’m a fan of this new location. It had a better layout than the last location I was at on 6th Avenue and it had better amenities. I hope SCBWI picks this location again for its conference next year.
Anyway, the main thing I came away with from the conference is that the children’s book publishing industry is still in fairly good shape. There have been layoffs at some of the houses, but the overall consensus was this is a necessary adjustment being that many industries are being forced to tighten their belts. Also, children’s books may fare better than adult publishing through this recession, because parents tend not to skimp on their children. So a parent may forego buying a book for themselves, but they’ll probably still buy a book for their kids. Also, there will still be distribution opportunities for libraries and schools as well. So as someone who will be releasing their first book in the middle of a nasty recession, that made me feel a little better about my book’s chances.
But the effects of the economy were still very evident at the conference. I attended a workshop with an editor at Delacorte who informed us halfway through the workshop that she had been laid off last week and couldn’t accept any submissions from us. She gave us her former boss’s email address to send submissions to instead. I felt sorry for that editor. Having to do that workshop must have been terrible, knowing that you have no job but you still have to represent your former company. But I also felt terrible for the attendees who wanted to submit to Delacorte. There was no real connection or networking opportunities to made from this workshop. I feel like everyone involved got short-changed here.
But I’d say that overall, the conference was a success and I took a lot away from it. I’m already looking forward to next year.