Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators


Saturday – September 19, 2015

Download FULL Conference Schedule HERE

Download CONDENSED Conference Schedule HERE


 B   Beginner  P    Picture Book Track  G  Genre Track 
  I   Illustrator  N  Novel Track  M  Marketing & Industry



7:45AM – 8:30AM    PRE-CONFERENCE SESSIONS (optional, choose one)
 B   I    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.

 B  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. 

8:45AM – 9:00AM       WELCOME & ANNOUNCEMENTS                  

9:00AM – 9:50AM       KEYNOTE
Say Yes! – Dan Yaccarino
By meeting challenges and opportunities with the simple 3-letter word, YES, Dan has enjoyed a successful 25-year career as a children’s book author/illustrator, television creator/producer, commercial illustrator and public speaker. In this funny, yet inspiring presentation, Dan shows through slides and animation how he was able to reach the next level of his career by saying YES!

10:00AM – 10:50AM   BREAKOUT SESSIONS (choose one)
  I    Art Licensing for Children’s Book Illustrators – Leslie Ann Clark
Have you ever imagined what your characters might look like as a plush? How do illustrations become toys, games, puzzles, and much more? Veteran art licensor and author-illustrator, Leslie Ann Clark will teach you the process of licensing and coach you on expanding your portfolio to include product design, fabrics, wrapping papers, cards, toys, games and much more. This doesn’t just mean more money for you – publishers love working with illustrators who understand licensing. And you’ll love seeing your characters come to life!
 P    Picture Books: From start to finish – Julie Danneberg
Having a brilliant idea is sometimes the easiest part of writing a story. The hard part is taking that idea and making it into an equally brilliant and engaging picture book…in 600 words or less! Julie will discuss her picture book-creating process, from start to finish.
 N   Writing for the real world: writing for a diverse audience – Stacy Whitman
No matter what the ethnicity of your characters, your readers will ALWAYS be diverse. When do you take audience into account in your writing process? Should you ever? Stacy Whitman talks about how to avoid unintentional microaggressions and stereotypes in your writing.
 M  From A to Z and East to West: An Agent and Author Talk Shop – Deborah Warren & Erin Dealy  
From A is for Advocate to Z is For Zealous, Deborah Warren, principal of East/West Literary Agency and acclaimed author Erin Dealey talk shop about how they work together: the process, the pitfalls, the gains and the pains.

11:00AM – 11:50AM   BREAKOUT SESSIONS (choose one)
  I   SCHOOL VISITS! – Dan Yaccarino  
Dan Yaccarino has visited hundreds of schools and in this talk reveals his author presentation that thousands of elementary school students have enjoyed. Through childhood drawings and photos, illustration and animation, this inspiring presentation connects the dots from Dan’s childhood to a 27-year career in children’s publishing, television and character design, showing kids that if they work hard enough, they can achieve anything! 
 P   Lights, Camera, Picture Book! – Emma Ledbetter  
In this talk for picture book writers, we’ll explore how to create a manuscript with the full vision of your final book in mind—from the technical details of a book’s format and layout, to the art of pacing and the page turn, to thinking beyond your text to the illustrations and design of the book—all important factors which contribute to the cinematic experience of reading a picture book and keeping young readers engaged from start to finish. I’ll take you step by step through a picture book that I recently edited; please bring a story that you’re working on and some extra paper with you, as well—time permitting, we’ll work on “pacing out” your own book dummies and will end with some cinematic read-alouds!
 N  Emotion – Melanie Crowder  
We've all heard the adage, 'show, don't tell.' But how, exactly, do we do this when it comes to emotion? In this session, we'll examine several methods for conveying emotion. From dialogue and sentence structure to metaphor and objective correlative, attendees will leave with a host of tools to take their writing to the next level.
 M  Be an Agent for a Day – Kristin Nelson  
As an agent, Kristin reads hundreds of query letters and pitches in any given week. She can tell within sentences whether something will be right for her or not. Have you ever wanted to see and experience the process first hand? Agent Kristin, along with the class, will read query letters live and the together make the decision. Should she ask for sample pages or should she send a rejection instead? Discussion will revolve around each decision and then the response will be sent during the class. Plan on this being an eye-opening inside look at the world of queries. PLEASE NOTE: All queries will be new and unread by Kristin. However, to protect the privacy and identity of the querier, Kristin’s assistant will strip out any author identification and place the query email letter in a separate Mac Mail folder for easy access.

12:10PM – 1:30PM      LUNCH BREAK & BOOK SALES

1:30PM – 2:45PM        BREAKOUT SESSIONS (choose one)
  I   For Better or Worse, You Are Not Alone: Teamwork from Manuscript to Finished Book – Semadar Megged  
From thumbnails to finished art, looking at pacing the story, words and art, establishing the characters and locations, and ending with final art quality through exchange of ideas and teamwork involving the book’s editor, art director and the illustrator (who might be also the author). Philomel Portfolio Guidelines
 P   Picture Book First Pages – Deborah Warren, Emma Ledbetter  
Wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall as editors and agents read that crucial first page of your picture book manuscript? In this session, you will see and hear an agent's and editor's initial reaction to actual first pages submitted by conference attendees. See the Author Extras page for details on how to submit your first page. 
 N  Novel First Pages – Stacy Whitman, Andrew Karre  
Wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall as editors and agents read that crucial first page of your novel? In this session, you will see and hear an agent's and editor's initial reaction to actual first pages submitted by conference attendees. See the Author Extras page for details on how to submit your first page. 
 M  Strategies for a Long Shelf Life – Erin Dealy 
Marketing Strategies to launch your book and keep it on the shelves. Erin Dealey shares marketing tips that have kept her picture book, GOLDIE LOCKS HAS CHICKEN POX (Atheneum/S&S) in print and on the shelves at B&N and Indie bookstores 10+ years–way beyond its expected "shelf life," as well as her Year-at-a-glance marketing tips used to launch recent books DECK THE WALLS (Sleeping Bear Press) and the forthcoming PETER EASTER FROG (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books). In addition to her author hat, Erin (former Co-RA for SCBWI CA North/Central) is the social media and PR Coordinator for East West Literary.

3:00PM – 4:15PM        INDUSTRY PANEL         
QUESTION & ANSWER SESSION- Andrew Karre, Emma Ledbetter, Semadar Megged, Kristin Nelson, Deborah Warren, Stacy Whitman

4:15PM – 4:30PM        CLOSING REMARKS



4:30PM – 5:00PM       

ILLUSTRATOR PORTFOLIO VIEWINGThis is a chance to see the talented illustrators that we have in our chapter. 

PAL BOOK SIGNING – The authors and illustrators behind the books for sale in the conference bookstore will be available to chat and sign books. 

CRITIQUE CONNECT – Getting valuable peer critiques is one of the most important steps in becoming a better writer. This is a time to connect with other writers and/or illustrators in your area and start up a critique group or partnership. 

5:00PM – 6:30PM       

COCKTAIL & DESSERT SOCIAL – What is better than writing, illustrating, networking, desserts, cocktails, and fun? You're right…nothing! Networking is an extremely important and often overlooked part of writing and illustrating for Children. Here is your chance to get to know and connect with other writers, illustrators, and faculty members. We will have a slide-show, silly games, a Self-Portrait/Caricature party for Illustrators, a Poetry Slam/Open Mic, a Rejection Letter Fashion display, and a Genre Meet-up where you can talk with others who write in your genre! 

Sunday – September 20, 2015



8:00AM – 8:50AM       BREAKOUT SESSIONS (choose one)
 I   Just When You Thought Your Work Was Done, Now Comes the Jacket – Semadar Megged  
Getting the right jacket can be at times as hard and labor intensive as doing a whole book’s interior, or almost so… The challenges are different and there are other departments that may have a say in the matter, which might send you back to the drawing table. It’s a good idea to anticipate this part of the process and not make vacation reservations before the printed book is in your hands. 

Philomel Portfolio Guidelines

 P  To Market, To Market! Picture Perspective – Deborah Warren  
Polishing your picture book so it shines like the sun on the Colorado rockies. This workshop will include examples and tips from East/West authors & illustrators, and what we look for in acquisitions. 
 N  Character, Voice & Choice – Nancy Oswald   
This interactive session will focus on the decisions writers make about character, viewpoint and tense used for telling a story. We’ll talk about ways to grapple with an “imposter” voice and how to deepen characters to increase reader engagement. Come prepared to interact, explore, and write.
 G  How to Write a Page-Turner [Suspense] – Jenny Goebel 
What is it exactly that makes a novel unputdownable? Is it mystery? Danger? Suspense? The secret ingredient is hard to identify and even harder to master in one’s writing. In this presentation, Jenny Goebel aims to shed light on pacing, tension, hooks, twists and cliffhangers, and how they work together, along with other elements, to keep the reader turning the pages.

9:00AM – 9:50AM       BREAKOUT SESSIONS (choose one)
  I   From Inspiration to Publication: The Essentials of A Picture Book Dummy – Dan Yaccarino  
A picture book isn’t just drawings depicting text, but images and words uniquely intertwined to create a story. This presentation teaches the fundamentals of picture books, from format, character development to basic storytelling.
 P   The Joys of Creativity – Julie Danneberg  
Collin Walters said, “The best part about writing is stopping.” Are you that person? Is writing torturous for you? Is it something you want to do, but when you sit down you can’t wait to get back up? If so, maybe it’s time to consider a new approach! Instead of working against the flow, learn how to work with your creative brain in order to not only make the most of your writing time but also to enjoy it! Julie will discuss some of the tips and strategies and brain research on creativity that she has used to enhance her own writing practice. Why wait to experience the joys of creativity? Start now.
 N  Building Diverse Novels – Andrew Karre  
Writing fiction that represents the range of diversity in the world is better from any vantage point, and in this session, we'll focus on the creative opportunities borne from thinking deeply about race, class, gender, and sexual orientation.
 G  Novels in Verse: What, Why, & How [Verse] – Melanie Crowder  
Verse novels are a powerful storytelling form rapidly gaining popularity in children's and YA literature. In this session, we'll explore the range of subject matter and style employed by verse novels, and we'll examine several reasons to choose this form for your own work. Finally, we'll engage in a writing session, giving attendees a chance to briefly experiment with the form.

10:00AM – 10:50AM   BREAKOUT SESSIONS (choose one)
  I   First Impressions – Semadar Megged  
This group-format session will feature anonymous illustrations reviewed on large screen. Up to three 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 ILLUSTRATOR EXTRAS page for details on how to submit your illustrations by the deadline. 
 P   Building Characters (and School Visit confidence) From the Inside Out – Erin Dealy  
Author Erin Dealey, a credentialed secondary teacher/Theater director with decades of experience on stage and in the classroom, guides writers through stress-free theater games and improvs that will help develop voice, discover emotional truths, and sharpen dialog–all via fun activities guaranteed to jazz up your school presentations and Literacy Nights and/or get rid of those performance jitters. Dealey, who averages 25-30 school visits a year, heads the Theater Dept. of Sugarloaf Fine Arts Camp each summer in northern California. Illustrators–join us with your sketch books–great quick sketch opportunities!
 N  To Plot or Not to Plot – Jenny Goebel
Jenny Goebel used the panster method when writing her first novel, GRAVE IMAGES. But when she was asked to pen a THE 39 CLUES book for Scholastic, and was required to write an inordinately detailed outline, she was forced to change her unstructured ways. Find out how she went from writing by the seat of her pants to being a precise plotter, and why she thinks there are advantages to both methods.

 G   His-Story, Her-Story [Historical Fiction] – Nancy Oswald 
Finding the story in historical fact is both fascinating and intriguing. This workshop will explore the similarities and differences between historical fiction and other genres. Both need strong characters, and an exciting story line, but historical fiction has unique challenges. Setting the stage historically, portraying detail accurately, and matching metaphors are just a few of these. I will share tips on how to negotiate the maze of research and how to avoid letting the facts dominate. Web resources and suggestions for organizing information will be shared.



(Optional, for an additional fee)
NOTE => Roundtable Intensives
Each intensive will open with a 30-minute presentation by the facilitator. The remaining time will be devoted to participants reading 3-5 pages of their manuscripts and receiving a critique from the editor (and other participants as time permits). Each participant will have approximately 10 minutes for read and critique.

12:00PM – 3:30PM
WHAT A CHARACTER! – Dan Yaccarino  
How do you create a memorable children’s book character? Go behind the scenes with picture book author and illustrator and TV producer Dan Yaccarino (Unlovable, Doug Unplugged, The Backyardigans, Oswald) to see how he creates his unforgettable picture book and TV characters. He also shares tips on how to strengthen your picture book character.
 P  Picture Book Roundtable: ReSeeing, Revising vs. Reasons for Rejection – Deborah Warren & Erin Dealey 
East/West Literary Agency founder Deborah Warren & E/W beta-reader Erin Dealey share 5 reasons for rejection, along with 10 examples of picture book manuscripts that got their attention. Learn what caught their eyes, and get feedback on your current PB project. 
 N  Novel Roundtable:  How to Stop Worrying About the Kids in Order to Write Better Kids – Andrew Karre  
Kids are your subjects; readers are your audience. This intensive will focus on treating kids and teens as the subjects of your art instead of the audience. Whether you're writing a playground scene in a middle-grade novel or a sex scene in a YA novel, the only kids you need to think about are the ones on the page.
 N  Worldbuilding, Culture-Building & Diversity: Writing Diversity in Reality-Based and Fantastic Worlds – Stacy Whitman  
With an emphasis on middle grade and young adult novel-writing, dig into how to culture-build in both fantastic worlds and real ones. If you're writing cross-culturally, let's talk about how to know what you don't know. Either way, this will be an in-depth discussion of how to use concrete details to build a world without overwhelming your reader, including character, culture, climate, religion, time, and foodways. Bring 3 pages of your current work-in-progress for discussion.


Download FULL Conference Schedule HERE

Download CONDENSED Conference Schedule HERE