So you’ve taken the plunge and booked your first conference place.
We know you’ll have a blast, but just in case you’re a bit worried about finding your feet, here is a fool proof guide to making the most of your very first conference. If you have any questions either before or after the conference, ask a member of the committee! You can find out more about us on the Volunteers page.
If you are new to SCBWI and are worried you won’t know many people at the conference, get to know us before you arrive. The easiest forum to do this on is our SCBWI British Isles Facebook Page. There is always a lot of conference chatter on there as well as all kinds of other useful discussions and everyone is very friendly and supportive. Dip your toe in the water and make a few friends, get chatting.
If Facebook isn’t your thing then follow us on Twitter @SCBWI_BI. We will run some discussions as the date approaches using #scbwicon18 and you’ll have the opportunity to ask all the questions you would like to, no matter how silly they sound!
If you can, arrive in Winchester on the Friday afternoon and join in the Friday Fringe. There will be several fun and informal discussion forums set up in lovely venues around the city where you can have a coffee and a chat as well as a sketch or scrawl crawl. In the evening there is the Friday critique group; it caters for work from picture books up to YA and is an excellent opportunity to get a fresh perspective on your work as well as start to make friends. This is followed by a meal to allow plenty more socialising.
Meet Your Network
When you register, you’ll have a chance to chat to some of our committee and conference volunteers who will help you with anything you need. After that, head on over for a coffee and a chat with your local Network organisers and volunteers. This is a great opportunity to meet some friendly people from your area and get to find out what’s going on in your local network. This is a great place to make friends for the weekend.
There are a whole host of small roles that you can volunteer to help with such as selling badges or raffle tickets and it’s a great way to get to know people. We usually put out a call for help with these roles a month before the conference, and don’t worry, volunteering for them won’t mean that you’ll be kept busy all weekend; we’ll assign you a short slot and be very smiley with you. You never know where it might lead!
Meet the Professionals
The conference provides an amazing opportunity to meet with a whole range of industry professionals that you rarely get anywhere else. Don’t feel scared to talk to them; they’ve come to the conference especially to meet people like you. They are happy to hear your pitches, or if you are not feeling that brave, they are just as happy to talk to anyone who is passionate about books. And if you’ve booked a professional one to one or portfolio review you will be given a face to face slot with a professional who is there just to talk with you.
Hopefully this step by step guide will not only help you come away from your first conference with fresh vision for your work, but also with friends who will help you achieve it.
NB: Don’t forget to check out the Party page for Saturday night. This year’s theme is Telling Tales: Modern, Mythical and Magical, so if fancy dress is your thing, you might want to start thinking about your outfit!
Have fun and we’ll see you again next year!
The Conference Committee
C O N F E R E N C E S P O N S O R S
Our main sponsors are:
SCBWI would like to thank the sponsors for their support. SCBWI is a non-profit organization
and does not endorse any products or services provided by external companies.
Illustrations © Mini Grey 2019