Testimonial by Lynette Sandbloom:
Three years ago I was part of the writing program at UW. Probably 98 percent of my class went to the SCBWI conference that year, but I didn't because I wasn't sure I was ready. When they all came back after the conference, I really wished I had signed up. Everyone had so much fun, the conference was so inspiring. I heard that over and over.
Last year, I signed up and was blown away by the whole thing. It was amazing to be with so many people interested in the same thing, listen to so many creative people give talks, share information, and give wonderful tips on how to succeed. I took it all in and loved every single minute that I was there. I also loved that when you signed up for a talk on one subject, you could change your mind and attend something else. The breakout sessions were often small and personal and whether an art director, agent, or editor was giving a talk, I learned so much. In addition, many of the authors/illustrators were happy to sign books for you. I had one signed by Matt de la Pena and I told him my name. He wrote in my book something like, "Let your voice be known." He was so nice to talk to and that inscription felt so personal.
There are many opportunities to send your work or illustrations out after the conference to the editors and agents that attend. This is often the only way to have your work be seen. It is like icing on the cake.
I sat in on the First-Time attendee talk, too. I liked it. The wrap-up was fabulous and began as a parade. The entire conference felt like a party that I didn't want to end. It didn't matter for a second that I was a beginner. I only wish I could go to more of these! Truly, you will enjoy it so much.
I would encourage all of you to go. If I can answer any specific questions, I would be happy to.