Why every author needs a good suit (And the confidence to wear it)

Nothing like a flight cancellation and unexpected overnight to blow your budget right out of the water. Especially in NYC. I’m not complaining—that gave me time to hit the Met and the New York Public Library. To eat one more slice of pie at Eataly and one more muffin from Magnolia Bakery.

But as the plane begins its descent into real life, it’s time to look at the thick pile of receipts and do some calculations—was this trip worth it? Was the time away from clients and family a good investment? How do learnings regarding children’s book writing, publishing and promoting complement corporate storytelling? Taking a business look at the investment brings us to the suit. 

As Newbery-winning author Kwame Alexander said, “You have to figure out how to wear the suit if you want to sell books. And that’s the point.” Selling the books. Speaking to your audience. Driving action. He’s right. That is the point, no matter the who, what, when and where of your content. (Note--Kwame delivered his points in a gorgeous New+Berry suit (New + Blueberry).)

From SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) to SXSW, the story is, well, the story. Before all else, you must start with good content. But beyond good content, more than ever, the writers, illustrators, filmmakers and creative class must think strategically. How can you tell that story in different ways? Through different channels? How can you reach new audiences with it?

Check back tomorrow for the first of two blog posts recapping my key takeaways from the 16th Annual SCBWI Winter Conference. But first, I must say, if you haven’t seen Cabaret with Alan Cumming and Emma Stone, get yourself to the theater. I recommend the bar rail seats. 

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