SCBWI Highlights: Your Impact and Agent’s Thoughts on Industry

Gary Schmidt was the final keynote speaker at the SCBWI 41st Annual Summer Conference. He echoed the sentiment about surprises in his own unique way saying, “the only gift that God gives us that he can’t enjoy are surprises.”

He also said, “As writers, never doubt that your stories can change a kid’s life.”

Power stuff there. Realizing the impact a book we write can have on a reader. On a complete stranger we may never meet.

The three day conference ended with a book signing party. BTW, it’s a great way to find new books to read, talk to debut authors, and meet fellow writers in line.

The next day, I attended an additional intensive with agents, hearing their take on lots of aspects of the publishing industry. Here are a few of my takeaways:

  • Editors are looking for award winning books and bestsellers. Agents try to take on books with the potential to do that.
  • Agents do prioritize conference attendees queries over cold queries.
  • As a writer, it’s important to stop and think about what you want your career to be. Whatever you want your career to be, it can be. But be honest with yourself, can you produce 2-4 books a year or 1 book every 2-3 years?
  • Sometimes in auctions it’s not the highest dollar value that wins. Authors need to find an editor whose vision for the book matches the author’s vision.
  • Agents must feel intense/passionate about your book to take it on. Must live with it for a while.
  • Agents are advocates for writers.
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