The countdown is on... The SCBWI Summer Conference is only days away. If this is your first time attending, here are a few quick tips to help you along as you get ready for the best kid lit event of the year!

TIP #1: How to Dress
The summer conference is casual. Wear what you're most comfortable in, while presenting yourself professionally. Some wear jeans, some wear trendy styles, and some like to wear more corporate/casual attire.

Tip #2: Research
Look up each of the keynote speakers. If you're an avid reader, pick up some of the authors' books at the library or bookstore and find out what makes them the notable author they are.  Know ahead of time what each of the agents and editors are looking for and what their list looks like (prior books and/or authors they've worked with). You may end up having an opportunity to pitch your book to them.

Tip #3: The Pitch
Speaking of pitching your book, you'll want to have a 30 second pitch ready. Even if you don't have (or don't take advantage of) an opportunity to pitch to an agent or editor, you'll most likely hear "What do you write" a number of times from other writers.  30 seconds also happens to be the amount of time that it takes to ride the elevator and you never know who you'll see in there between sessions.

Tip #4: Taking Notes
I like to bring a new spiral bound notebook to keep all my keynotes and session notes in.  If you do this, consider skipping the first 1-3 pages so you can make a Table of Contents.  When crafting your query letters to the editors and/or agents that you've attended sessions with, you'll refer back to your notes many times.

Tip #5: Take Care of Yourself
In order to be your best, be sure to eat well and get lots of sleep the week before the conference.  This event is notably one of the most exhausting experiences of my year, both physically and emotionally.  If you're like me, you may not sleep well at the event, so prepare your body with extra sleep the few days before.  Eat well and hydrate yourself too.

Stay tuned for tips #6-10 soon.