SCBWI Annual Conference: Guys Who Write Kid Lit


I’ve registered for the annual conference put on by the Washington Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, better known as the SCBWI. Two days all about scribbling with about 400 other likeminded folks, small enough to not be overwhelmed, big enough to not get cornered. If you write kid lit and are in the Seattle area, sign up now before it fills up. And let me know, would be great to meet.

In particular, this conference is great for guys. The attendees are always about 95% female, so… no, I’m not thinking that, but something more industrial. There’s the chance to bond with that elusive fellow creature, the guy who scribbles for kids. Usually all of us end up forming a sad lunch circle on the second day, until one of the SCBWI staff comes along and tells us to break it up.

And while attendees are mostly women, the numbers skew towards men as you move up the food chain. Nearly 40% of the faculty are men, and over half of the agents and editors. A good chunk of the men at these conferences are established in the kid lit business, and we all know where everyone ends up at some point…

Men's Room

There are so many women at these events that they commandeer one of the men’s bathrooms. Who can blame them? Their lines are still crazy long. So the few men grumble and tromp out to the front of the place in search of the tiny men’s room. It soon becomes a swarm of agents and editors. And what agent doesn’t love reading a damp manuscript slid in his direction across the bathroom floor? What busy editor doesn’t relish the idea of multitasking, taking care of nature’s call while hearing your eloquent pitch?

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