But what it means is that there's a VERY EXCITING CONFERENCE coming up! If you work in children's books, want to brush shoulders with a lot of other people who do it for a living, get tips from people in the know, and listen to inspiring talks, book your tickets for the weekend of 14-16 Sept for this year's Conference of the Children's Writers & Illustrators Group. And here are just some of the fabulous people you'll get to hang out with! (How many can you name? Answers here.)
So here we go, here are the main speakers: Allan Ahlberg, Ros Asquith, Parul Bavishi (Tamarind), Terence Blacker (The Independent), Marilyn Brocklehurst (Norfolk Children's Book Centre), Gillian Cross, Kevin Crossley-Holland, Nicola Davies, John Dougherty, Philippa Dickinson (Random House), Julia Eccleshare (The Guardian), Megan Farr, Vivian French, Alan Gibbons, Joe Goodwin (BBC Children's Controller), Charlie Higson, Meredith Hooper, Sam Husain (Foyles), Catherine Johnson, Sophie Lording (Hay Festival), Michaela Morgan, Geraldine McCaughrean, Gillian McClure, Sarah McIntyre, Robert McCrum (The Observer), John McLay (Bath Festival), Patrick Ness, Kate Paice (A&C Black), Helena Pielichaty, John Pilkington, Susan Price, Bali Rai, Jane Ray, Celia Rees, Rachel Rooney, Nicola Smee, Nicola Solomon and live music by Something Happene.
And then there will be chances to pick some of these parallel sessions! You can see the schedule here.
WIKI vs Non Fiction: The Final Showdown? - Viv French and Meredith Hooper discuss with Nicola Davies why knowledge needs a narrative packing and why search engines ultimately don't cut the mustard.
Midlist Crisis - Your editor is supportive and your agent is reassuring. You blog for Britain and Tweet for Thailand yet your backlist is going out of print faster than you can say 'ISBN' and finding one of your titles in a bookshop is a minor miracle. Income is risible. Come and share your woes with Helena Pielichaty and help think up some solutions.
Teenagers - They Really Aren't From Another Planet - Bali Rai can teach you how to connect with your readers covering KS3, reluctant readers, the classic and contemporary books to inspire classes, and what he has learnt from being teen patron for Booktrust.
*THIS ONE'S ME!* >>> Sarah McIntyre's Love Affair with the Internet - How do you turn blogging and social media away from being a time consuming chore into something exciting that inspires your own work? Writer and illustrator Sarah McIntyre will take you on a fun tour of her own web-based adventures and share tips on using the web to reach the wider world, build warm, real-life community and, of course, sell books.
The Art of the Soluble: doing research - How do I ferret out what I need to know? Help! I want to write this story, but I don't know anything about the background/foreground/period/country (well, anything, really). How can I avoid making a fool of myself? John Pilkington and Gillian Cross discuss the many different ways of tracking down crucial information for books set in any place or time - and the delights of making unexpected discoveries that can transform your story..
More details and booking forms can be found at www.cwigconference.com.
Okay, it ain't cheap. (It's a bit cheaper if you're a member of the Society of Authors, and it's well worth joining.) But the cost covers all your room and board, and if you can stretch your budget to cover it, I can't stress enough how useful these kinds of conferences are to meeting people and getting involved in the industry. Here's a picture of the University of Reading, which will be hosting us. I do hope you can come along!