If you don’t see me coming to a conference near you, you might be able to change that!
First, find out if there is a regional SCBWI chapter (to find your regional chapter and see their events, click here) or a writers conference that caters to people who write for kids (doesn’t have to be an ALL kidlit conference) in your area.
Second, find out who the SCBWI regional adviser (RA) or the conference organizer is and send them an email way ahead of time of the event date. Faculty is usually assembled six to nine months in advance, so you can tell the person in charge of the conference that you’d like to see me on faculty. They just might get in touch with me with an invitation! Believe it or not, this is how I was invited to speak in Japan and Hong Kong. (Thanks, Adam!)
Critiques and Workshops
Whenever I go to a conference, I love doing critiques, one-on-one meetings with writers and giving workshops. Don’t be shy, I’d love to meet you. Sign up for a critique with me or come to one of my workshops. Here’s what people have said about my critiques and workshops in the past:
“Mary provided the best professional feedback I’ve honestly ever received on my manuscript. She has a superb editorial eye. Her comments were spot on and thorough without feeling like jabs through my sensitive writer’s skin. Thank you, Mary!” — Jackee
“My agent, Mary Kole, first worked with me as a freelance editor. She edited my debut YA novel several times prior to submission, and each time the work became impressively stronger. She also acted as a cheerleader throughout the revision process, encouraging me when I needed it most. Then, while marketing my manuscript, she demonstrated a commanding knowledge of current YA fiction. In only a short time, Mary has become such an important part of my writing life that I can’t imagine crafting a novel without her guidance.” — Patricia Netzley, author of 45+ nonfiction children’s books
Most of these notes have come unsolicited from attendees of various workshops and conferences. I got them from organizers and evaluation forms.
“Mary Kole was articulate and excellent. My favorite.” — Redwood Writers Conference Attendee
“Mary gave me the best writing advice I have ever received.” — Big Sur Writers Workshop Attendee
“I particularly enjoyed working with Mary Kole. Her incisive critiques, humor, copy edits, passion for literature, time management, positive feedback for each writers’ strengths… while keeping a strong focus on the realities of what makes a successful manuscript, created a productive, informative… kick your butt in a good way workshop. It was was inspiring.” — Big Sur Writers Workshop Attendee
“If you can go to a conference with Mary, you should do it! I attended Big Sur in December 2009, and Mary gave me some of the best writing advice I’ve ever gotten. Not only was she able to hone in on and articulate the specific problem, she told me how to FIX it.” — Talia Vance, Big Sur Writers Workshop Attendee
“What was the most beneficial aspect of the conference? Mary Kole.” — SCBWI Southern Breeze Springmingle Attendee
Other nice things people have said about me!
“Mary Kole is a passionate and knowledgeable advocate of literature for younger people. She has much to offer students of this genre; her enthusiasm is infectious.” — Lewis Buzbee, author of STEINBECK’S GHOST (Feiwel and Friends), friend and mentor
“I worked with Mary when she interned in our editorial department. Mary is a gifted reader and critique-giver. Her approach to writers’ work is very perceptive, as well as feeling and compassionate. She’s extraordinarily perceptive about books and writing, and a very energetic advocate for her authors. I also see a bright future for her as an agent. She’s selling good projects in smart ways. I have no qualms about recommending her to an author for representation.” — Melissa Manlove, Editor, Chronicle Books Children’s Group