While everyone has been writing about the amazing time we all had at the 40th SCBWI Conference in LA last week (and rightly so- it was fab!) I have been thinking an awful lot about my first conference- the 30th SCBWI Conference in LA, and all that has happened in-between...

When I left my career in animation to dive into children’s books 10 years ago, (my first picture book Emma’s Gift due out in a month), my husband quipped- “Just think, in 10 years, you’ll be an overnight success!” I laughed mockingly, secure in the knowledge that stardom in the publishing industry would happen instantaneously for me, and that I would take the NYT Bestseller list by storm in mere months!

Only… I didn’t.

My husband, an older and much wiser man (who  had the experience of starting and building his own successful design business) knew what I didn’t... it takes time. Time to perfect your craft, time to hone your skills, time to make connections…

However, ten years ago as I strode boldly into the 30th SCBWI Portfolio Competition at the conference in LA- I was certain I would walk away with numerous contracts and contacts and be well on my way.

Only, I didn’t.

What I did walk away with was a slice of humble pie and a sense of how far I needed to push my work and how much I would need to learn about the business.

My friend and favorite professor Jerry Schutte once told me: “Everyone has 10,000 bad drawings in them- get going.”  So, with that, and my newfound knowledge from the SCBWI, I set to work.

And worked… and worked… and worked.

And sure enough, 9 years and a plethora of projects later I went back to LA and had the amazing experience of winning the portfolio competition.  So that just since last August, I’ve been to New York to meet with wonderful art directors, one of whom introduced me to my agent, who has subsequently sold two of my manuscripts to two of my favorite publishing houses:  Viking Press and Chronicle Books...

So ,almost ten years to the day from my first conference experience, as I sat down at this years’ Golden Kite luncheon and looked at my scrumptious chocolate book dessert, I thought of what Lin Oliver said to me when she congratulated last year: “You’re on your way now kiddo!”

And she’s right.  More right than she knows. Because thanks to Lin and all of the incredible people who are a part of the SCBWI- thousands of writers and illustrators are making their way and becoming 10 year overnight success stories!

I did.