Resharing some of the thoughts of an Amazing Illustrator Andi Osiek after she attended SCBWI winter conference:
Be visible. Blog once a week. Comment on other people’s blogs… generally they will return the favor. Join Facebook and try to be interesting. Show the publishing industry that you are relevant. Just put your work out there. Key word: Discoverability.
Do what you know and create what you love. If you are passionate about what you are doing it will shine through in your work.
Give freely. Be generous and open. More ideas will come. Be an idea factory.
Tell the truth in your character’s own language. The truth that you know is the one that will get you published. Look within, be honest and create from the heart.
Read. If you want to be a creator of stories you have to know a lot about the world… and how to ask the right questions.
Have style. Your own style has a relationship to your childhood and your own relationship with books. Don’t follow trends, do what comes naturally. Move from conscious creation to a more intuitive approach.
Know your characters. The story of your book is found in whatever they NEED!
Live a creative life. All the parts of your life inform one another. Even making cupcakes for your kids can feed your work.
Stay strong. Success is directly proportional to your ability to accept rejection.
Network. Connect with people who embrace your work.