Tag Archives: publishing

SCBWI MD/DE/WV Spring Writers Conference 2014


Writing for childrenDespite the snow and frigid temps outside, the SCBWI MD/DE/WV Spring Writers Conference is gearing up with some great speakers and events for children’s writers and illustrators. Whatever your stage of writing, newbie to experienced author, this conference will have something for you. Speakers will include editors, agents, published authors, and an art director. Here is the info about each taken straight from the conference announcement on the MD/DE/WV SCBWI website:

Alex Arnold
Editorial Assistant, Katherine Tegen Books (an imprint of HarperCollins Children’s Books)
Twitter:  @AlexYArnol

Giuseppe Castellano
Art Director, Penguin Group USA
Twitter: @pinocastellano

Sara D’Emic
Associate Agent, Talcott Notch Literary
Twitter: @SaraDEmic

Rori Shay
MD/DE/WV SCBWI Member and Author of The Elected Series
Twitter: @RoriShayWrites

Alyson Heller
Associate Editor, Aladdin, Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing
Twitter: @EditorAlysonH

Christa Heschke
Agent, McIntosh and Otis, Inc. Literary Agency
Twitter: @ChristaHeschke
Blog:  http://christaheschke.blogspot.com

Debra Hess
Author, Senior Editor, Highlights for Children, and faculty, Highlights Foundation

Shelley Koon
Writer, artist, MD/DE/WV Critique Group Coordinator

Tara Lazar
Author and PiBoIdMo Creator
Blog:  taralazar.com
Twitter: @taralazar

Lesléa Newman
Web site: lesleakids.com
Twitter: @lesleanewman

You will have an opportunity to get a critique on your polished manuscript, listen to some sage advice from the pros, and meet other writers and illustrators who share the same ambitions and struggles. It’s worth the time and money from the motivation alone. Do your career a favor and sign up.

The conference is scheduled for Saturday, March 29th from 8am-5pm at the Claggett Center near Frederickburg, MD. Registration opens on January 27th.

If you have been to a SCBWI MD/DE/WV conference before, please share your thoughts. We would love to hear from you!


What’s in a Name?


NameYesterday, I changed the title of my blog. I also changed the domain name of my blog. And lastly, but most importantly, I changed my name. Why, you ask?  Age bias.

My given name is Lois. My mom just always liked that name. Since I started writing seriously, I set up a Google Alert and receive an email every time Lois Hoffman is mentioned on the web. The problem lies in the fact that nearly every week I get an email with an obituary for Lois Hoffman. Lois is an old fashioned name and I’m not old.

Publishers and agents are looking for writers that have their careers ahead of them. If you are not famous now when writing your first book, the people in charge of your fate as an author want to make sure you have the time and the energy to promote your book and write that next one. When they open up my manuscript, do they look at the name Lois Hoffman and trash it? Has a judgement already been handed down before my work has ever been read?

So, as a person who looks at life as a glass half full, I have made a choice. It’s an experiment really. While I can’t erase all existence of Lois without starting from scratch, my writer self can become someone else. I thought about J.K. Hoffman, but ultimately decided against it. Instead, I’ve become Emily (my middle name) – the younger, more vibrant, most definitely alive Emily Hoffman.

It’s going to take some work. I still have to change my bio, my twitter account, and who knows what else. Will it be worth it? Only time will tell. Look for me soon @emilyhoffmanDE on Twitter.

What does your name say about you? Do you think you are prejudged by your name in this fiercely competitive business?

Why Go To A Writer’s Conference?


Why spend the time, the money, and the energy to go to a writer’s conference? Is it really worth it? I believe the answer is yes. Here’s why.

Writers Conference

Improve your writing

Writers at any level can improve their skills. While some conferences offer hands on classes, others talk about technique. But, simply listening to how different writers approach the writing process from brainstorming to outlining to revision can jar you loose from bad practices or just set you on a better course. Methods of building memorable characters or clarifying plot lines can move your manuscript from good to great. While there may be diminishing returns if you have been successfully published, the path to continue to get published is to keep growing in your craft.

Learn the business

Although writing is a craft, publishing is a business.  If you don’t know the game you are playing, you probably won’t win. At the recent SCBWI Conference, we were told that it is best sellers market. Over and over, the message was to put out the best possible work you can produce.  (See reason #1) But, the question is what is that exactly? The publishing industry is facing a time of immense change.  Find out the current trends, the open avenues, how to submit, what to submit, and how not to piss off an editor. Once you are published, even before you are published you need to learn how to market your work so that your book will do well. Fail at that and your next book might not get sold at all.

Network with others

It’s been said that you are 6 people away from the person you need to know in the publishing industry. It’s a little like the Kevin Bacon connection, but a lot more important. Your job at a conference is to meet people, talk with people, and suck up as much knowledge as you can. You will meet others in your genre or local area and have lunch. You’ll talk about writers you know, classes you know and they will tell you in return. Every contact at a conference is incredibly important to you as an author. You can’t afford to wait until you are published before you start making connections.

Energize yourself

The one things all conferences have in common is the energy you bring home.  You’ll have new tricks and technical knowledge that you’ll want to try on your own writing. You’ll have made connections you would like to foster.  But, maybe most importantly, you’ll have seen writers who have “made it.”  The ones that were once writers just like you. Now they are published authors, held on high with awards and accolades. You have dreams that it could be you someday. You are home and truly inspired.

Are you ready to go? Here are 2 writers conferences for children’s writers:

MD/WV/DE SCBWI Spring Conference March 31, 2012
Conference Website

NJ SCBWI Annual Conference – June 3, 4, 5, 2012
Conference Website

What do you think? Have been to one or more? Is it worth it?