Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 8, 2014

NJSCBWI Conference Thoughts

amalia fish with girl

This fun and colorful illustration is what Amalia Hoffman entered in the NJSCBWI Art Show. Here is the link to her website:

Amalia wrote the following about her time at the conference.

The last weekend of June, I attended the New Jersey SCBWI conference in Princeton, NJ.

This is really a great conference. So much to do and you get to pitch your idea to an agent, dine with the faculty, view the great illustrations and display your art if you are an illustrator.

But the best part is that you get to meet groovy super creative people, some of which could become your pals forever.

Of course, you can’t do it all. I had a hard time choosing where to go and what to do.

I can only say that going to this conference is like going to a great restaurant – wonderful creative menu but you can’t do it all.

On Saturday,I started with a first page appetizer with Susan Dobinick from FSG and Carter Hasegawa from Candelwick. Of course, I was eager to know what they thought of my first page but it was also very useful to hear what they said about other writer’s first pages.

For main course, I chose Kathy Temean who gave a great session on how to sell more books. She actually took the time to look at each participant’s web site and / or blog and gave suggestions and recommendations. She inspired all of us.

Carter Hasegawa gave a great presentation on narrative Nonfiction. It really helped me realize how to improve my non fiction manuscript. He brought lots of books with him and we teamed and made comments why these were fantastic books. Yes, he did mention that the book were heavy but it was well worth the schlepping.

For desert, Rachel Orr gave an informative presentation about plotting.

I had to miss some of the goodies because I had a very wonderful one on one critique with Emily Feinberg from Roaring Brook Press.

On Sunday, I had a wonderful first course treat as Kathy Temean delivered a very informative session on the state of the market. I don’t know how long it took her to prepare all this, we were lucky to have her put all the ingredients together.

The next course I tasted was Natalie Zaman’s session. Natalie reviewed each participant’s non fiction proposal. It was very helpful to hear her suggestions on how to write the kind of proposal that will get a publisher convinced that you could write and deliver.

Unfortunately, I missed some of Katie Davis’s presentation on how to use video to explode your career because I had an agent pitch but Katie gave a few links to websites and lots of information to a newbie like myself.

There was so much to whet my appetite and, oh, I forgot, the food was yummy too!


Kathleen Bakos said, “I am quite happy to say I’ve attended my first NJ SCBWI conference. I left there in the midst of multiple epiphanies about how to change my stories for the better. There were so many ideas popping in my head while I drove home, I had to record them with Siri in my notes app on my phone so I wouldn’t forget them! Kudos and thanks to all the SCBWI organizers for featuring an awesome faculty and for a well organized conference. My favorite workshops were humor cells, great novel beginnings and endings, and the character development double session. I walked away with many a gold nugget to chew on! Write on!”

Talk tomorrow,



  1. I just love our NJ conferences, and no…sadly, we can’t do it all! But we still get to do SO MUCH! 😀 Great illustration, too, Amalia 😀


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