I went to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators 2012 Winter Conference over the weekend. Having gone last year, my biggest concern was that it would be a repeat of the previous year. Much to my relief, it wasn’t. There was enough new information and fresh faces to make it worth the expense.
The conference was sold out, with 1,148 attendees. That’s a lot of people trying to break into a small business. Fortunately for me, most of them are writers. But 485 claimed illustrator status. Of those, only 185 – including myself – participated in the portfolio review. 185 is still an avalanche of cute animal pictures.
Again, the women outnumbered the men by a wide margin. they even performed a sex change on one of the hotel bathrooms to handle the…uh…overflow.
And, like last year, the breakout session were the most informative. The keynote speakers are more about entertainment. Basking in the glow of successful authors and illustrators doesn’t get me too excited so when Fonzie made a surprise appearance, I whipped out my camera.
Yes, the Fonz, aka Henry Winkler, took the stage. I didn’t know he wrote children’s books, but he does. These days he’s more like a Jewish grandfather than the coolest guy in Milwaukee. His was quite a schtick. It was several minutes before I noticed that he was wearing two button up shirts. Oyyyyyyy!
I plan on going back next year. Maybe Randy Mantooth will drop in.