An SCBWI Midwinter Checklist

Are you attending SCBWI’s Midwinter Conference in New York next weekend? If you are new to the conference, here’s some packing and preparation advice.

Things to bring

  • A laptop—but only if it has more than six hours of battery life
    You may not be near an outlet, particularly during any event that takes place in a ballroom.
  • Paper and pencils/pens
    I always find myself bursting with ideas, so be sure you have a way to get them down.
  • Business cards
    Bring cards that say something about you (writer/illustrator) and don’t have your work email on them. Illustrators especially should look at cards as a work sample.
  • A brief description of what you’re working on
    We discussed blurbs, remember? This is one of the times when you need a good one.
  • Caffeine
    The coffee/tea service is usually over by the first break and there is none in the afternoon. I’m bringing a Thermos cup.
  • A snack
    If you are a person who gets midmorning/midafternoon munchies, best to bring it with you. There is a concessionaire in the hotel lobby, but the offerings are limited and 15 minutes may not be quite enough time to run to Grand Central and back. Sunday’s sessions are particularly long, so plan ahead.
  • A sweater
    Room temperatures can vary. (Thank you, @LindaRandom)

Don’t bother bringing

  • A bottle of water
    There is free water at every session. Another thing not worth carrying.
  • Breakfast
    There are pastries and coffee/tea on the registration level before the first session. Want to spurge? Go to Dishes on Grand Central’s lower level (I suggest the croissants from Balthazar). Financier (by the exit to 42nd St and Park Ave) and Zaro’s Bread Basket (on the western side of GC’s main level, underneath the Vanderbilt Ave. exit) are also good options for pastries and bagels.
  • A copy of your book
    No one wants to carry it, and neither do you. If someone is interested, they will give you their email address.

Other handy tips

  • If you are not attending the Friday intensives, come at least 30 minutes before the first session on Saturday, in order to get you materials, have some breakfast, and find a seat.
  • There is a coat check on the registration level. It costs a few bucks, but SO worth it, especially if you’re not leaving the hotel/Grand Central complex for lunch (they connect via an indoor passageway).
  • Looking for food? There are many, many options in Grand Central.
  • Grand Central is one of the most beautiful buildings in NY. Take a walk around (and be sure to look up!).
  • Pluck up your courage and go to the cocktail party on Saturday night.
    It’s a great way to connect with people.
  • Days can be long! Wear comfortable shoes and don’t over-pack.
  • Bring an empty bag. You will probably find a few things that you want at the bookstore.
  • Do some research on the people whose sessions you’ll be attending. That way when you meet them, you can make scintillating conversation.
  • Charge your devices–and silence them during sessions.
  • Say hello.
  • Own it and don’t apologize.  You really are an author/illustrator.

Have a great convention!

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