It seems like we're getting more than the usual amount of queries from hesitant attendees this year, asking if we think they should go to the conference.
Basically, we say that whether or not you attend any event or workshop is up to you. You can review the conference details and decide if it would be a good fit for your needs. We try and offer rounded programming to serve everyone from newbies to pros, writers and illustrators. But you're the only one who can decide whether it's a good match or not.
If you're just starting out on your career in children's or YA books, you should know that getting published is not easy. It's not impossible, but it's far from easy. Fortune favors the polished and prepared.
We are admittedly biased. The SCBWI WWA conference is put together by a large team of volunteers. It takes hundreds (thousands?) of hours to plan and prepare for such an event every year. So if we weren't passionate about how important it is for our writing community, we couldn't do it. It's an investment—you invest the registration fee (which we try to keep as low as possible), and we invest our time and energy trying to make it the best that it can be. But we're enthusiastic because we have seen the benefits that a conference setting provides. We've met friends and critique partners, gathered inspiration and tools, and made connections with professionals that have benefited our careers. We've heard success stories from attendees. The conference is a great way to prepare yourself and gather the skills you need to succeed in your quest. And the benefits don't stop once you've been published. Our conference team still loves to attend conferences, even more so when we're not organizing them ourselves and can soak up the programming.
I wrote a post on conference expectations a couple of years ago for my agent's blog (you'll never guess where we met), because I wasn't really sure what was happening at my first conference either. You can read it here, if you're interested.
And if you decide that the SCBWI Western Washington Conference next month (!) is a good match for you, you can find the details and register here. But don't wait, we're over 80% full and usually sell out, because people that go once tend to come back. We promise to make it the best we can. But we're not asking you to trust us with your hopes, dreams, and ideas. We're asking you to trust yourself.
Hope to see you there!