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Comics for SCBWI conference newbies (or any writing/illustrating conferences)

I created this set of comics to help break the ice when I attended my first SCBWI conference (or at least the first in a long time) in 2009, knowing that 99% of the people there wouldn't know me. I was WAY nervous.

I'm reposting the comics here in case they help anyone else. Feel free to repost individually or as a set anywhere online, as long as the goal is to help promote the SCBWI or to help kidlit writers and illustrators new to conferences.

 My advice for anyone who feels nervous about attending for the first time, or is normally very shy and introverted and not great at meeting new people:

1. Be brave and make the first move. You'd be surprised at how many other attendees feel exactly the same way as you do. Introduce yourself to people you sit beside, stand in line with, notice standing alone. 

2. TAKE BUSINESS CARDS. Yes, even if you aren't published yet. We're all going to meet a lot of people over the weekend, and taking away a business card from an encounter or introduction will help the people you meet remember you.

3. Have realistic expectations. Don't expect to be "discovered" at the conference. 

4. In my experience, you're much more likely to meet new people if you're alone. If you're always chatting and hanging out with the same person or people, you're not as approachable. I'm not saying that you SHOULDN'T hang out with people you like, of course! Just keep in mind that as a group, you're probably not going to meet as many new people as someone who is by themselves.

Good luck!

References (2)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
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    Comics for SCBWI conference newbies (or any writing/illustrating conferences) - Inkygirl: Guide For Kidlit/YA Writers
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    Back in May, I wrote a thank you letter to the Society Of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators. Stephen Mooser wrote back the following: Hi Debbie?Wow and Congratulations?we keep a file, and a posting of SCBWI Success Stories and not only is yours o

Reader Comments (10)

It's like you're inside my head! I'm not going to the NY event, but I am signed up for the NESCBWI conference and I am very nervous. The conferences in Montana were much smaller! Thanks for the advice and the laughs.

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

Debbie, the strips are HILARIOUS... and so true:)

January 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristine Tripp

This was a great post, thank you! I loved reading through the comics and, as somebody who is going to attend the NY12SCBWI conference for the first time, I really appreciate the few tips at the end. Thanks again! :)

January 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStephane Imbert

Thanks for these pieces of advice. I'm an introvert and it's usually hard for me to interact with new faces especially in events such as conferences. I'll definitely try your suggestions. Wish me luck!

Just wanted to say that I really enjoyed scrolling through your blog, and love your illustration style. Your "Countdown to SCBWI Conference" comics were so fun to read...made me LOL!

February 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBlessy Mathew

so cute posting

February 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjaepher

I am going to my 1st SCBWI LA conference next month and I am excited. Thank you for your hilarious comics! I am more excited now. I also appreciate your #1 & #4 advice. That's comforting to know.

July 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRomelle Broas

Thanks for reposting. Love it!

July 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDarshana

Love the strip with the hat # 9. Must purchase one of those!!

Wonderful comics ; )

July 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte Jones

Your comics are hilarious and SO TRUE! Reading them made me feel less scared and alone as I look ahead to my first SCBWI conference. Thank you, sincerely!

February 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEmily Erickson

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