Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Creative Connection

As many of you know, this past weekend I attended The Creative Connection in St. Paul. I was picked to pitch a book idea to four publishers and a magazine article to four editors. This truly was a once in a lifetime experience. That's me up there - all ready and sassy. New haircut, new clothes, and tons of hopes...

Now my flight & hotel stay (I did not stay at the Crowne Plaza..big mistake!) was a nightmare. I don't want to bore you, but let me inform you that Murphy's law was well and alive. If you really want to know my sad travel story, I'll tell you over martinis.. yeah, it was that insane.

On to the good stuff!!
After a crazy night and about 5 hours of sleep, I made my way over to TCCE. The Crowne Plaza is gorgeous and such an amazing venue for this event. TCCE was spread over three floors of the hotel - a marketplace (which opened after I traveled home), a complimentary suite to work or relax, and more. You literally could not walk 3 feet without there being a beverage or treat for you.

I arrived early to scope out the scene and geek out out on all the celebrities. A few minutes after embarrassing myself in front of Elisa from Blogher, I met and subsequently attached myself to Julie from ZoZo Bug Baby. What an amazing business woman & mother. I'm truly knocked out by everything she gets done in a day while mothering two little ones. For those that think I do so much in a day, I hand my crown to Julie! I knew of her business well before TCCE and was so excited to get to know her as a person. She is so creative and humble - the kind of person you want to chat with for hours! If you haven't heard of ZoZo Bug Baby, go check it now!

As more women arrived, I was awe struck to see so many established celebrities there to pitch ideas. I met Kass Hall, TomKat Studios, Sharon Sews and more. These ladies are all phenomenal in their field, truly kind spirits, and beyond creative. This was the best part of my day. I love to meet fellow women that have something they want to share with the world. I hope they stay in contact, I would love nothing more than to see their dreams comes to fruition.

My first pitch was for a magazine article. I did not come home with a contract in hand, but I am confident that this is not the end of the conversation so I'm not going to reveal everything.. It was an amazing experience and I will be submitting to magazines much more in the future. My biggest piece advice to you is submit a 99% completed project. They want professional photos and copy ready text. Don't assume that work is done in house - make your proposal as ready to go as possible!

After my first pitch I had a few hours to talk more with my new friends and hear about their pitch experience. I don't think I could have survived the anxiety and excitement of it all without their support. I also had a chance to geek out on Claudine Hellmuth. I can't help myself - I love her work! I luckily had the latest edition of Somerset Holidays in my briefcase (thanks Mom!) and I obnoxiously asked Claudine for an autograph.. I know, I'm an uncouth craft geek. I'm okay with that..
My book pitch was next.. To receive immediate feedback was beyond invaluable. I learned the book's weaknesses and where I need to work on as an artist/author. Was it easy to hear that the book you thought was a slam dunk was not so, not easy, but I learned so much! Again I did not return home with a contract, but I have a new plan of action. I also found out that my previous two submissions to Lark have slipped through the cracks. Advice to you - follow up!

During the roundtable discussions I had a chance to meet with Betz White, Kaari Meng, and Tiffany Threadgould. Yeah.. That's was a mouthful. They provided so much insight, advice, and knowledge about the industry. An amazing opportunity to meet with authors that I have the utmost respect for.

What did I learn from all of this? A lot has happened for me this summer. I've narrowed my focus and the doors have opened with a slight knock. I'm connected to Moda, Riley Blake, AccuQuilt, and more. I was a teeny tiny little fish and I thought I had hit it big. Not so much. I'm just a bit bit bigger. I'm on the right path and it will take more time. And all those big fishes that I see around me - they still have to hunt for the next big thing. In this industry there will never be a time you can rest on your laurels. But is there that chance in any business? Nope. And the rewards for the lifelong pursuit of beauty, creativity, and art just reaps so much rewards for everyone.

Thank you to everyone that helped create The Creative Connection Event! It was amazing. My only regret is that I wasn't able to stay for the full event. I will be there next year and I can not wait!!!

I will leave you with the words of Betz White...

You have your own light to shine


Don't compare and despair,
instead admire and inspire..


Sharon Sews said...

Oh! I loved your recap! Seriously, I need to come out and have a martini with you so I can hear the story of your flight. And I can't believe I missed Claudine Hellmuth! I too am a craft geek...and proud of it :-)

We'll need to connect via email or phone to chat about the craft book pitches a little more in depth. I'd also love to hear more about your mag. pitch - I never did learn which magazines you were pitching to.

Take Care! Miss you!


kass said...

What a sweet thang you are! It was awesome to meet you Jen, please stay in touch my lovely new friend!


mamamuniz said...

What a fun business trip for you. And you look gorgeous!


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