Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Holy wow, that's me!

At the end of January, I heard from the main office of SCBWI (my professional organization, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) – I had been selected, out of I don’t know how many members but it’s gotta be hundreds, to be the Illustrator featured on the home page at during the month of February. I literally squealed when I read the email, and forced my husband to get up and read it too. He was entirely unsure what it meant, but I KNEW. I’d had my eye on that Featured Illustrator spot for a couple of months, and been wondering what a person had to do to get featured. Well, I still don’t know the answer to that, but boy, do I feel lucky that I was chosen. Within an hour of announcing my selection on Facebook, I had received an offer of representation from an agent(!)
But I've had my heart set on the short list of agents I’d been cultivating for almost a year. If ever there was a time to contact them, it was now. With two picture books under consideration at two different major publishing houses, PLUS this feather in my cap, I hoped I looked good enough to merit a deeper look. I had momentum! A real, verifiable source vouching for me! What an honor. Now it was just a matter of striking while the iron was hot: go to the SCBWI Winter Conference in New York wearing an invisible sash which reads “Miss February” and which gives me indomitable self-confidence! 
Barring that fanciful idea, at least sending off mailers to agents, art directors, editors – anyone who still accepts things via US mail. But I still kind of wanted the sash...New York was calling.
The small hitch was that, long before I’d even heard of the SCBWI Featured Illustrator splash page, we had planned a two week trip to New Zealand. In the middle of February. Then I found out the page wouldn’t be updated until the first Monday of February – the day we were leaving for New Zealand. How was I going to properly take advantage of this opportunity? Of course I should go to the NYC conference….buuuuut….it started less than two days after our scheduled return from New Zealand.
Yes, I’d have to do it.
When SCBWI's updated website went live, I was already in New Zealand! See the "Telecom NZ"?
We had a trip of a lifetime in New Zealand, and I tried really hard not to worry about squandering this opportunity. I would just need to make up for it during the rest of the month. 
So, two weeks later, I was home for just 35 hours before I had to go back to the airport and fly across the country. By the time I arrived at JFK, I was having trouble speaking complete sentences, I was that jetlagged and travel-weary. And I had to wake up at the equivalent of 1am New Zealand time to go to the illustrator intensive. It was not ideal.
But I did it.
Maybe I was awkward and overtired, but I was there.
Five days later, I’m typing this while flying home. Every single one of my postcards was picked up by industry professionals attending the private portfolio showcase and cocktail party the Friday night before the conference officially started. We’ll see if any of those seeds sprout anything. I hope my fellow attendees didn't think that I was just horribly unprepared when I ran out of the small cache of business cards I had brought with me as backup!
an assortment of my postcards printed by for the same price as printing a single image. I brought 100 postcards to the conference. All gone!
A full breakdown of the conference to come in the next post. For now, thanks for letting me toot my own horn!

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