Thursday, January 19, 2012
SCBWI Annual Winter Conference 2012: Ken Wright
In a Team Blog pre-conference exclusive, I'm here with awesome agent Ken Wright of Writers House! Ken will be speaking at this year’s SCBWI Winter Conference in NYC, and we will for sure be crowding his session. Let’s ask some questions!
1.) What topics will you cover in your workshop?
Well, the title of the workshop is “Non-fiction,” which may or may not tell you much! But it’s one of my areas of expertise, so I am guessing that most of the people who attend will want to know a bit about the state of the market for kids non-fiction, what publishers might be looking for these days, and, as an agent, what kinds of things jump out at me to make me take notice---those kinds of topics. I like the give and take of a session made up mostly of questions and answers, as it keeps things lively and lets me actually provide the kind of information people want to have, so I think that’s pretty much the way I will handle it.
2.) What would be your dream conference scenario when it comes to meeting writers?
Gee, I just always like the time I get to spend with writers, talking about the state of the business, what’s working in the marketplace and what’s not, where publishing is heading, and hoping to read something that completely makes me crazy it’s so good---the anticipation of maybe finding something really wonderful is what keeps most of us coming to these great events. But more than anything, I just like being around smart people who have interests similar to mine. It’s a pretty selfish reason, I know, but if I can be helpful to a few people at the same time, then it’s a win-win, right?
3.) What can a published author gain from attending a conference like this?
I know many published and successful authors (including a bunch of mine) who attend a lot of conferences like this. Some of them do so to “give back,” so to speak. And that can be very rewarding in and of itself. They so well remember what it was like BEFORE they were published, and they have valuable advice to offer. It’s also a great opportunity for them to meet new editors and art directors and other publishing professionals, as a way of continuing the networking that is so important these days for writers and illustrators. And I also think there are always new things for seasoned writers to learn in this business, and some of the workshops and sessions can provide that opportunity.
4.) Are you currently accepting submissions?
Absolutely. Each and every day. I have a pretty full and “mature” client list now, ranging from picture book people to middle grade and YA, fiction and nonfiction, but like all of us on this side of the desk, I am always on the lookout for something new that will really grab me. And I just really hate the idea that I might miss the next best thing!
You can catch more with Ken Wright and lots of other agents, editors and authors next weekend at the conference. Check out interviews and up-to-the-minute action on the official SCBWI conference blog! And look for hashtag #NY12SCBWI on Twitter.
See you in New York!