Monday, March 14, 2016

Post-SCBWI Conference: What next?

I usually come back from a conference both jazzed and exhausted. After the flurry of preparing for the conference, and the excitement of the event itself, I'm home. I have all sorts of ideas swirling around, and all these notes and names... what to do next? Here are some things I usually do in the weeks following a conference:
Photo by Andy Musser
Following up: Connect with other Kidlit artists or authors, and maybe some industry folks as well.
  • Pull out all the postcards you collected and find folks on social media. Follow them. Do the same with the faculty bio page – but use common sense. People who don't personally know you are more likely to welcome a connection on public forums like Twitter or Instagram, rather than private facebook pages. 

  • Update your mailing list with industry folks you may have seen or met at the conference. If you write, and have a story ready for submission, make a special note of anyone who said you could query them in the following weeks, and put the deadline on your calendar (assuming you want to query them).
  • Send a postcard mailing to your updated list (if you haven't done one just prior to the conference). 
  • Send a thank you note to anyone who critiqued you. In addition to being a nice thing to do, it is another opportunity for that person to see a piece of your art.

Absorbing information: keep the momentum! 
  • File/write up/scan your notes. Look them over and refresh your memory of what was most helpful or meaningful to you. 

  • I usually come away from a conference with ideas for stories or thoughts about how I can improve my work. I've found it very helpful to set a goal or give myself an assignment. For example, after my first conference, I knew I needed more series of images in my portfolio. I gave myself the assignment of taking one existing piece from my folio and adding two more pieces with the same character, and I gave myself two months to do it. 
Good luck!

Jen Betton writes and illustrates for children. 
You can find her work at
@jenbetton on Twitter

1 comment:

  1. "Send a thank you note to anyone who critiqued you". I had not thought of doing that. Never too late I guess. Great ideas, thanks Jen!