Cartoonist Bob Eckstein Returns to the 2019 Annual Writer's Digest Conference

Cartoonist Bob Eckstein will be covering the 2019 Annual Writer's Digest Conference with his art and tweets on Twitter and in a post-conference post for LitHub.com. In this post, he shares some of his cartoons along with tips for conference goers.
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Cartoonist Bob Eckstein will be covering the 2019 Annual Writer's Digest Conference with his art and tweets on Twitter and in a post-conference post for LitHub.com. In this post, he shares some of his cartoons along with tips for conference goers.

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Later this week, the WD team will be in New York City for the 2019 Annual Writer's Digest Conference. In addition to the Writer's Digest staff, there will be many other familiar faces, including artist Bob Eckstein, who will be covering the event for LitHub.com.

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Bob Eckstein is an award-winning bestselling author and illustrator and New Yorker cartoonist. In addition to covering the event, he will be signing copies of his new book, The Ultimate Cartoon Book of Book Cartoons by the World's Greatest Cartoonists.

Here's a quick Q&A with Eckstein about his previous experience with the conference, what his goals are this year, and how first timers can get the most out of their experience.

You'll be returning to the Writer's Digest Annual Conference in 2019. How many times will this be for you?

This will be only my second one. The first time I didn't know what to expect and, besides, I was just focused on my job of live-drawing and reporting the event. But starting on the first day, a writing class with Jacob Kruger, I was so captivated I forgot why I was there and just soaked it in. I walked away thinking I want to rewrite everything I ever wrote up until that point. The conference, literally, pun intended, recharged my career.

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I began a whole new aspect to my career, screenwriting, and it got me very excited about writing again. That's why I begged to come back. I'm sorry I haven't been coming for years. But I'm a very late bloomer.

(Click here to read the confessions of a late bloomer.)

What are you anticipating the most for the 2019 WD Conference?

In all honesty, my own book signing. I know that answer will sound bad but I am so flattered that my book is in the conference bookstore that this is a big deal for me and I don't know what to expect yet from the classes. I know when it is all said and done one of the classes will be the highlight of the conference and set me off on new goals for my writing.

How do you plan to spend your time at the 2019 conference?

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It will be a frantic conference for me, because I hop from class to class and try to capture the vibe everywhere and then tweet about it (follow hashtag #WDC19 and @WritersDigest), take notes and illustrate what I see.

I'm going to be drawing portraits of the speakers and the attendees and tweet quotes and jokes. I will try to mingle with people and use some of that, too. I have live-drawn ABAs, book fair, and other events and, on rare occasion, someone will get mad at me. This conference is as warm and supportive as any I've been to.

I will be signing books, enjoy the reception and observe Pitch Slam. Last year, I participated in Pitch Slam so I could really experience it. This year, I will not waste a spot realizing how important this is to others.

(Click here to see the editors and agents who will be at Pitch Slam.)

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What's your best advice for a first-time Writer's Digest Conference attendee?

As for the Pitch Slam, let me add this is not the end all but a learning experience. Everyone at the conference is going to ask you, "What's your book about?" Use that opening with complete strangers to practice the 10-second elevator pitch that you'll need for Pitch Slam. Take a deep breath and start your exchange with the agents with a friendly greeting instead of diving in like a salesman. People want to work with people they like. There are people in this business who I know like me, and that’s that, in the same way I know there are some who don't like me, and that happens. So make eye contact and a warm greeting is always smart.

Finally, enjoy the fact you are going to be part of a select group of people that are passionate about books and writing. Other than that no other advice is needed. Just soak it in. As I've told my writing friends, this is a conference I encourage all in this business to attend.