Packaging Your Imagination

Ten Hot Tips I learned at Packaging Your Imagination.

Okay maybe I didn’t learn these ten tips all brand new, maybe some were things I knew deep down inside and just had confirmed. After some twenty years of attending these day long seminars where I volunteered to do everything from placing and driving out of town speakers, selling books and raffle tickets, introducing speakers, fixing and adjusting audio equipment, I put my feet up and just listened. Here’s a few of my takeaways:



1) My agent David Bennett, at TLA, is the best. He’s the guy in the blue on the right.

2) I can’t wait to work with Carrie Gleason, the Dundurn editor (to the extreme left)  Together we produced Crush. Candy. Corpse when she worked at Lorimer, a very lucky book for me. This time around we’ll be working on The Great Mistake Mystery series.

3) You’re supposed to tell publishers when you’re multiple submitting and they won’t penalize you for it.  They may even read your work faster. The whole panel confirmed this even though some writers in the audience remained skeptical.

4) Response and publication is a waiting game. You wait and wait and wait. Nothing personal. Just busy. Just thinking. (I thought that treatment was only for me.)

5) Promotion is a team effort. Publisher and author.

6) I should try writing my picture book from the dog’s point of view, a tip from the sidelines, Rebecca Bender.

7) I should also email writing workshop promo material directly to the school librarians–not through the school board. This was a tip from Lana Button, again off side.

8) To teach rhythm in poetry workshops, I should try a drum. This was in a Q & A with Loris Lesynski.

9) There are many wonderful, creative, and fun people who attend Packaging Your Imagination, any one of them would make a great character in a book. (and I’m not just talking about the speakers). I learned this on the drive in and at lunch and breaks.

10) I look like Diane Keaton. Seriously. I’d just had my hair done. A fellow attendant commented how I looked like a celebrity. I joked that I was a celebrity–I was a famous Canadian children’s writer–why didn’t she recognize me? Then she snapped her fingers, and said I looked just like Diane Keaton.  I explained that in a couple days when I had to do my own hair, I would look like a Canadian children’s writer again.

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Judging the Braille Writing Contest

The CNIB helped me with the research for A Different Kind of Beauty. While my Bringing Up Beauty series was immensely successful both in Canada and in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Germany–immensely successful did not translate into wealth. More like a bit of living–the kind a full time retail person might earn. So a small donation to Lions Foundation Dog Guides, with  no big donation for CNIB’s help and efforts.Sylvia Sadey pic

Years later, I get a delightful request for my help to judge the Braille Writing conference from Karen Brophy. It was filled with praise for a later title crush. candy. corpsepics of winners at conference

Would I also perhaps appear to hand out the prizes. It was a wonderful opportunity for a bit of a payback to an organization that does so much.

Fifty entries translated from Braille arrived.  It took me two chapters’ worth of writing time to read them and write comments for each and finally to judge. This was during August when writing time was at a premium. The rest of the world was at the beach.

Then October 30th, a Friday morning, early, early,  I made my way downtown for the 8 a.m. meeting at the Mariott and found the four winning writers who were invited to the conference, told each how wonderful I thought their work was.

Once the official introductions and a presentation on playing visually impaired hockey were over, it was our turn.  I spoke on the judging process and told the conference attendants a bit about the winners. The writers read their poems and stories. They were such an enthusiastic bunch, great dramatic readers. Sadie was a jumper and a hugger.  I hugged them all and handed them their certificates and cheques

What a privilege to be celebrity enough to make them feel special for a day.


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