Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators


Day 1, Saturday, September 20

Book sales will open throughout the day, both Saturday and Sunday.


7:45 – 8:30     General registration, Author/Illustrator book sales check-in, Book sales, Continental breakfast


7:45 – 8:30     Pre-Conference Session (choose one)

Children's Publishing 101 – Lindsay Eland – How do I get started in children's publishing? What's the "slush pile"? What's the difference between a chapter book and a book with chapters? Join RMC-SCBWI Assistant RA and author, Lindsay Eland, in a short informational tour. She'll cover some of the terminology of the industry, the types and levels of children's books, submission etiquette and the process of submitting, manuscript formatting, and anything else she can squeeze in! Come with questions and an empty hand for handouts. Recommended for those new to children's publishing but all are welcome. 

The Changing Landscape of Illustration – Roberta Collier-Morales – Writing and illustration go hand-in-hand, and because of the sweeping changes in our economy, new technology, and out-sourcing, our industry is changing quickly. How can we meet the challenges of this new landscape? This session is for all levels, and you are all invited to bring your own ideas, questions and contributions to add to our discussion. Roberta will be talking about the various areas available for illustrators within the vast publishing business. We'll discuss what is no longer available and what is new on the horizon–illustrations and stories for the iPad and iPhone, specialty books, self-publishing as a possible avenue, and social networking to promote visibility. 


8:45 – 9:00     Welcome


9:00 – 9:50   The Secret of Good Writing – Avi – Come and listen to what Avi has learned from forty-five years of publishing. 


9:50 – 10:00   Break, refreshments


10:00 – 10:50 (Choose One)

Creating the Buzz-Worthy Novel – Donna Cooner – Using her debut novel SKINNY as an example, Donna discusses the path to publication. She shares insights on how to polish a manuscript, query an agent, and market a publication after sale. She leaves time at the end for a Q&A to individualize content for specific audience needs.  

Pacing in Picture Books – Wendi Silvano – "Good writing has a flow, a balance, and a rhythm that our brains appreciate. Writing reads well when it's paced well" -Denise Leograndis. What is pacing and what tools can picture book writers use to get the pacing "just right" in their stories? Come ready to explore some of the most important tools and see examples of how they have been put to use in some of your favorite picture books. 

From Pages to PR: What a Literary Publicist Offers – Jen Halligan – This session will give an overview of the role of a publicist, as well as touch on the following topics: building your platform (website, social media, branding), the importance of creating and implementing a marketing plan, and online promotions and tools (blog tours, Goodreads, etc). All are welcome to attend!

Writing Picture books for Illustrators (Illustrators Only) – Salina Yoon – Every story begins with an idea, but for an illustrator, it can begin with a sketch of a character. How do you develop the sketch into a story–particularly a character-driven story? Fresh character-driven picture books are highly sought after by editors. Telling a story can start visually, and the words can come after. Some picture books don't even need words! We'll discuss some steps an illustrator can take to start mapping out their own stories. 


10:50 – 11:00  Break


11:00 – 12:15  (Choose One) – note the longer timeframe for this session.

First Pages (novels) – Lanie Davis and Terrie Wolf First Pages (pbs) – Carter Hasegawa and  Tricia Lawrence

Wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall as editors and agents read that crucial first page of your manuscript? In this session, you will see and hear an editor' initial reaction to actual first pages submitted by conference attendees. See the Author Extras page for details on how to submit your first page

Transmedia Storytelling: Reaching Readers, Creating Fans – Cheryl Reifsnyder – Do you wonder how to get your book noticed in the flood of new titles? Are you looking for ways to "build your writing platform" that will actually reach your target audience? Do you despair of reaching young readers, who are spending more time online and less time reading? Cheryl will explain how transmedia storytelling – the use of mulitple media platforms to unfold a single narrative – can help you broaden your readership and deepen audience engagement. Come learn how you can use transmedia techniques to reach more readers – and turn them into highly engaged fans for "your" stories. 

Repeatable Characters – Stan Yan – Using geometric shapes to more easily create character designs, you can draw them in different positions and doing different actions. Attendees will also learn about drawing action and emotion via Stan's action and emotion tic-tac-toe exercises: A basic nuts-and-bolts workshop where attendees 1) draw facial expressions, focusing on eyebrows and mouths as key tools and 2) draw expressive body poses using faceless stick figures.


12:15 – 1:45     Lunch, Announcements


1:45 – 2:45       (Choose One)

The Magic of Motivation: Taking your story to the next level – Jeannie Mobley – There are so many things a writer has to keep in mind–character, plot, scene, description. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a way to ensure it was all working together? Well there is! In this workshop we will explore the key of motivation and how focusing on motivation can pull the pieces of a story together and make them more than the sum of their parts! For this workshop, come prepared to think through character, plot, and setting for a story on which you are currently working or conceptualizing. 

The Picture Book Hook (and Endings) – Sarah Miller – Like all great pop songs, good picture books need good hooks. Similiar to their musical counterparts, a picture book hook is what keeps the reader at it through the last page and inspires them to go back to that book again and again. Explore what makes a standout hook and how to complement that hook with a great ending.

Social Media for Writers – Tricia Lawrence – How to create a cohesive, broad social media plan that can give you 1) something to talk about, write about, and share on social media and 2) that doesn't suck up all a writer's time (because social media can and it will!

Writing (and/or) Illustrating a Concept Picture Book – Salina Yoon – Concept books explore basic concepts and themes like: colors, shapes, counting, opposites, alphabet, days of the week, and more, with minimal text. Concept books tend to be art-driven, which means the art plays a key role. It is a genre that will always exist in publishing, which comes in the form of novelty, board, and picture books. The key to a successful concept book is having multiple hooks. Salina will share vaious examples of them and break down its elements. It will encourage writers and illustrators to take their conept book idea to the next level. "Ideal for illustrators who are new to writing, or too afraid to write–but with a great illustration style!"


2:45 – 3:30       Arts, Eats and Autographs – Public viewing of portfolios, refreshments, book sales, and autographing


3:30 – 4:30      Industry Professional Panel – Tricia Lawrence, Carter Hasegawa, Lanie Davis, Terri Wolfe, Sarah Miller – The editors and agents will briefly describe their houses or agencies and their acquisition process. They will then answer pre-developed questions about the state of the industry as well as answer questions attendees have submitted earlier in the day. Moderated by Co-Regional Advisor, Todd Tuell. 


4:30 – 4:45      Announcements, Door prizes, Evaluations, Farewell


5:15 – 6:30    Cocktails, critique connect, networking


6:30 – 8: 30   Banquet – Guest speaker Donna Cooner. "The Voices Behind SKINNY" In this banquet speech, Donna will discuss the challenges of obesity and self-image in the world of social media. Using examples from personal emails, tweets, and messages, she shares real reader feedback about her book, SKINNY. (offered for an additional fee)



Day 2, Sunday, September 21


7:15 – 8:00       General registration, Continental breakfast


7:50 – 8:00       Welcome


8:00 – 8:50       (Choose One)

What's Your Process? – Avi  A personal look into Avi's writing process, along with Q&A about attendee writing processes.

Word, Rhythm and Rhyme in Picture Books – Denise Vega – Every word counts in any story or book, but word usage is especially important in picture books. Through examples and exercises, we’ll explore the importance of finding the right word, when vocabulary matters, using words that “multitask,” and ways to use rhythm and rhyme to enhance a story. 

Narrative Nonfiction: Why Todays' Nonfiction Writers Are Winning the Big Awards  – Carter Hasegawa – What is a narrative nonfiction and how is it different from regular nonfiction? In this workshop we will explore ways that you can improve your own nonficiton writing so that editors will be fighting to publish your work. We will discuss research, fact-checking, voice, and we will look at current examples. 

First Impressions – Sarah Miller – This group-format session will feature anonymous illustrations reviewed on large screen. Up to four images per illustrator will be reviewed. Each submission will be evaluated for: marketability, effectiveness for age group and book type, overall strengths and weaknesses, suggestions for improvement, possible publisher recommendation for style. Additional illustrations will be critiqued as time permits. Join fellow illustrators and take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to learn from publishing leaders. See the Illustrators Extras page for details on how to submit your illustrations by the deadline. 


8:50 – 9:00       Break


9:00 – 9:50       (Choose One)

World Building: Getting the Details Right – Jeannie Mobley – Whether your story takes place in a local elementary school, a 19th century mining town, or a galaxy far, far away, you still have to create the world in which your characters live. A rich setting, drawn in a few brief strokes, can make the story come alive. In this session we will explore what you need to know about your characters' world, and what details you need to include on the page to give your readers a solid sense of the world. Research strategies and sources will also be discussed. 

Creating Book Proposals – Salina Yoon – An in-depth, secret look at Salina's actual book proposals (as author/illustrator and designer) submitted to publishers, and a discussion on how to create your own. It is no typical proposal! (Examples will be shown of a picture book series proposal, early reader proposal, and a concept book proposal.) How are YOU submitting your ideas? Various ways of submitting an idea will be explored. 

The Game of Life: Writer's Edition – Terrie Wolf – No matter where you are in your writing journey, there are hazards, pitfalls and concerns to face and overcome. Terrie answers the most common questions that spring up along the road of your writing life. 

Cheaters Perspective – Stan Yan – Tradition perspective vs. worms-eye views: basic perspective and rules for adding perspective in your own illustrations. 


9:50 – 10:00       Break


10: 00 – 10: 50   (Choose One)

411 on Hybrid Publishing – Lanie Davis – Alloy Entertainment creates bestselling concepts for books, film, and television, including The Vampire Diaries, Gossip, Pretty Little Liars, The 100, and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. In 2015, they will publish nearly as many e-originals as traditional books; and continue to develop many of their titles for film and TV. In this session, Lanie discusses how companies like Alloy are leveraging a hybrid-publishing model, collabroating with writers to reach today's young readers and viewers. 

Writing Read Alouds that Rock – Wendi Silvano – Parents, teachers and librarians all love books that keep kids engaged (and so do the kids!). In this session, Wendi will use examples of outstanding read-alouds for toddlers, preschoolers and the early elementary grades to examine what makes a picture book a great read aloud at each of these levels. Learn what elements we can employ to give our stories the best chance of being ones the children ask to "read again." 

The Children's Magazine Market: Online and In Print – Cheryl Reifsnyder – Magazines – Are you missing out on this important part of the children's writing market? Cherly will discuss the ins and outs of writing for children's magazines, including stragies for efficient market research, ways to target specifc magazines, and your best bets for breaking into publication. 

Creating a Porfolio That Screams "Publish Me!" – Karen Windness – The how-to's of online marketing, social media, and selling your art or product for exposure and extra income. 

10:50 – 11:10       Door Prizes, Farewell

Download Conference Schedule PDF here