I have attended several SCBWI workshops, and, as a beginner in children’s publishing, have found them to be immensely helpful. I have also learned that with a little preparation on my part, the knowledge gained can go even further.
Here are few things I have found to help make a workshop a more valuable experience.
Research the presenters. Find out a little more information about each presenter than what is written in the brochure. Visit the publisher’s website and search for articles or news on the internet. The types of books a presenter has published will help you determine if their company is suitable for your writing or artwork.
Prepare an elevator pitch. Inevitably, you will be in conversation with others and the question will come up, “So, what are you working on?” Prepare a few sentences describing your latest project. Limit your words to less than a minute. Make it enticing and show that you are excited about it.
Prepare to get out of your comfort zone. Small talk, chitchat, networking, and schmoozing are all things I would rather not do. And with strangers, no doubt! Leave the safety of your friends or corner, and meet someone new. Here is where a little prayer, a little courage and a few conversation starters come in handy.
Prepare with prayer. Take time to have a conversation with God about what it is you hope to gain from this conference. Perhaps it is to learn something new. Perhaps it is to minister to a fellow attendee, or be ministered to. Perhaps it is to receive motivation and invigoration about your craft. Be open to His direction and guidance for you and your work.
Show appreciation. Thank the presenters and organizers for the workshop. If a presenter has given you information that you can use, let her know. If you have ever planned an event, you know how much effort it takes to make it run smoothly. The organizing staff will appreciate that you remembered their hard work.