Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Packing for a SCBWI Conference

Are you packed yet? With at least two SCBWI Fall Conferences this weekend, I’m betting many of us are wondering what to stuff in our suitcases. Below is a list to get us started. Please add any suggestions to it in the comment section. After all, I’m packing too and would hate to forget something.

Notebook and pens (to write down important info, ideas, and doodles)
Business Casual Outfit for Critique (Looking professional never hurts)
Breakfast bar or crackers (In case you oversleep)
Business Cards for networking (Staples can usually make these same day)
A Copy or two of some manuscripts/illustrations (to share as needed)
Chocolate (You’ll want an energy boost during afternoon sessions)
Laptop (For researching leads)
First Page entry (We won’t try to spot the embarrassed soul who wrote it)
Something to share at Open Mic (We promise to clap)
A willingness to learn (If you listen instead of just focusing on being heard, you will get much more out of conferences)

I’m looking forward to the SCBWI Carolinas Conference this weekend. For those of you on Twitter, we’ll be tweeting what we learn at #cfc09. I’ll also share nuggets of wisdom on my blog next week.


  1. Thanks for the helpful list. I'll be attending my first conference this weekend (Midsouth in Nashville), and I can't wait!

  2. Karen,

    Have a great time. It looks like a fabulous conference. I'll be watching your blog in hopes that you'll share helpful hints from Cheryl Klein.:D

  3. A conference-goer who I greatly respect suggests making a professional-looking single page with all of your current and past manuscripts listed--title and brief synopsis. And include your name and contact info at top--and your photo. She hands it to whoever is doing her critiques and anyone else who might be interested in one of her manuscripts.

    Have a great time!

  4. As a severely disabled and literally housebound writer, I've never been to a writing conference. I hope they often include the business side of writing. Online, I find a whole lot of blogs discussing the writing process - which of course is great, you have to have something written to begin with. But there are some really high hurdles to getting published today and lots of sharks in the waters on the self publishing front that writers need to be aware of.

  5. Good point, Paul. I'll be posting on some of what I've learned for the next few weeks.

    When I miss a conference I'm interested in I ask on twitter for links to posts about it from attendees. I just learned the SCBWI Midsouth Conference blog can be found at Some conferences have hashtags on twitter. Ours was #cfc09. So if you search for that you can gain nuggets of wisdom too.

    Have you tried any of the online conferences? I'd be curious to know your opinion of them if you have.

    Thanks for visiting.