I wish I could credit the person from whom I found out about Write-On Con, but, hey, these days, I'm lucky if I remember my kids' names (all two of them) and the day of the week it is. I suspect it was one of my fellow Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrator member buddies.
Last year, when I first found out about it, I was a lurker. A lazy lurker at that. I think I arrived late and didn't really try to figure out how it works.
In the interim, I completely forgot about it because that's just how my brain rolls...or doesn't roll. My brain is quite the expert on gathering moss in my old age.
Fast forward a year. I got a notice that Write-On Con was about to start again - fortunately for me, I had the foresight to sign up for their email notifications last year (I suspect my good twin Skippy did me the favor*).
I still am trying to figure out exactly how Write-On Con works, but I have to tell ya I learned a lot from the live and forum events which featured editors and agents, and other helpful writers.
Because I have only a picture book manuscript completed so far this year, I participated in the PB query forum. While critiquing 15 or so - I lost count - of other people's queries was time-consuming, it was also a terrific learning experience. I think my critiques improved after about the 5th one. I also realized that the accumulation of writing knowledge for the past 20 years or so actually stuck in my brain, so that even though I can't remember where I read certain facts from, I could tell others about these facts.
While no Ninja Agent asked to see my manuscript, some kind person gave my query 5 stars. [And then I, embarrassingly, asked @writeoncon what stars meant...duh.] Thank you, kind fellow writer! Your rating kept me from believing that my writing sucks so badly no agent/editor deemed the query worth looking at.
So, if you write children's literature, I highly recommend checking out Write-On Con's archives and then participating next year. It's all free, though I always donate, even last year when I had no idea what was going on. Having been a long time volunteer in various capacities, I usually believe that volunteers should be rewarded somehow. :)
Maybe I'll see you at Write-On Con next year?
*I have no twin, good or evil.
"If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." ~ Toni Morrison