Monday, April 2, 2012

A Few Things about the SCBWI Houston Conference

This past Saturday I attended the Houston SCBWI Conference. I always go. And it’s always great.

The first thing I noted when I name was spelled correctly on my name tag! That’s a good sign. It rarely happens.

Logo by Diandra Mae
Then the speakers spoke.  I won’t run down the highlights of their speeches. Just know that we basked in their brilliant awesomeness.

One thing I’ve noticed about agents and editors…they keep getting younger and younger. Nope, I’m not getting old, they’re definitely getting younger. But along with youth comes energy. Who doesn’t want that in an agent and editor?

I did something super smart when I registered. I paid for two professional critiques. One from an agent, one from an editor. Both gave amazing feedback. And the agent praised what she’d read and asked for the full manuscript. Yes! I need an agent, and she’s the agent I’d love to represent me.

What I like best about these conferences, is spending the day with good friends and likeminded people. It’s therapy. But you already know that.

When the day wound down, I was in for another surprise. My work was nominated for the Joan Lowery Nixon Award. The winner is mentored by the lovely Kathi Appelt, who graciously took over when Joan passed away in 2003. To say I was honored, major understatement. But today, I made the decision to withdraw my nomination. This is an award that should go to a less published author.

So we topped off the day with a Mexican buffet, after which I came home and crashed.

By the way, if you’re one of the coordinators who slaved so I could have a great day…thanks for everything! Including spelling my name right. 

I'd love to know your thoughts on conferences. The comment section is waiting.


  1. Huge congrats on getting the agent's interest and your nomination.

    Yes, I'll try hard never to miss a SCBWI Conference and the best part is certainly having my work appraised, with a 20 minute one to one discussion with an editor or agent. Our Australian Conferences have a capped max of 100 attendees and the 'important people' eat, drink and socialise with us for the whole weekend. I think we have about 5 top editors and 2 agents at our June one. Brilliant! It's hard to wait. And of course it's great to catch up with others and make new friends, too, go to the masterclasses and listen to all that's new and get a swag of tips and insider info. However, I usually stay at the hotel where it's held for one more night and usally get to have a meal with some of the delegates and relax with them. (I have been our State's SCBWI Co-ordinator - but I'm sure anyone who wished could do likewise.)

    If you want to join us, it's tax deductible, remember.

    'All I ask is an honest advantage.'

    Very best wishes,


    PS Don't forget to give the full a hug for good luck before mailing it. Hope it's hugely successful.

    1. Love "swag of tips and insider info." I wish I could attend your conference. One day I'll make it to Australia.

    2. Great! In the meantime, here's a report from our 2010 Conference. You'll find lots of good stuff in it:

      You'll find other reports at

      Peter :)

    3. Fantastic, Peter! I don't think I've ever seen conference notes this detailed and extensive.

  2. Wow, Dottie. How generous of you to step aside in the Joan Lowery Nixon list. You again demonstrate generosity, insight and leadership.

    Best of luck with signing the agent!

    1. Thanks, Bruce. I recently broke up with my agent of 12 years. I haven't been querying because it feels so strange. Hopefully this agent will be the one and save me from all that.

  3. Dotti! That's awesome about the Nixon award nomination--I still think you deserve it! I was lucky enough to meet her at a Sisters in Crime conference in Houston years ago. I ate up every word of all of her books, and to this day, I rarely find any that I like as well.

    1. Thanks, Bobbi! I knew Joan though our Houston SCBWI chapter.She was awesome.


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