Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators



you can print a copy, just follow this link

Download FULL Conference Schedule HERE


 B   Basics  P    Picture Book Track  S  Specialty Track 
 I   Illustrator  N  Novel Track  M  Marketing & Industry

Saturday – October 7, 2017


7:45AM – 8:30AM           PRE-CONFERENCE SESSIONS (optional, choose one)
 B   I  Illustrator 101: Illustrator pre-session – Karen “Kaz” Windness
This session will introduce you to the world of children’s book illustration, the RMC-SCBWI, and offer tips on maximizing your conference experience. There will time for Q&A, so please bring your questions. We’ll also do some warm-up drawings, so bring your sketchbook and something to draw with!

 B Children’s Publishing 101Kim Tomsic
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 RA and author, Kim Tomsic, 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! Recommended for those new to children's publishing but all are welcome.

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

9:00AM – 9:50AM           KEYNOTE

          The Struggle, Reward, and the StoryVanessa Brantley Newton

10:00AM – 10:50AM      BREAKOUT SESSION ONE (choose one)
 I  One Postcard- A World of Published Work – Luke Flowers
In this session, Luke will provide helpful ideas for growing your client base, creative community and social media presence. Through the journey of self-promotion, Luke shares the little steps that lead to bigger opportunities by staying passionate, present and prolific. So you can be PREPARED! After all, one postcard can be a doorway to a world of published work! Will you be ready when that door opens?”

 P  Visual Storytelling- The Marriage of Text and Art in Picture Book Making – Emily Feinberg

 N  Lots of Plots: From the Beginning to the End (and Everything in Between)Matt Ringler

 M  So You’re Not a Juggler! Suzanne Morgan Williams
Tips for Engaging Your Audience at School and Library Visits      Suzanne Morgan Williams,  has given hundreds of successful assemblies, workshops, and community events. She shares her best ideas about preparing for, polishing, and performing your presentation. Participants will get concrete ideas for matching their program to their audience, holding the attention of children and adults, and avoiding disasters.

11:00AM – 11:50 AM     BREAKOUT SESSION TWO (choose one)
 I  Time Maximization for Creatives Karen “Kaz” Windness
Would you describe yourself as scattered, a plate-spinner or squirrel chaser? Do you procrastinate or rarely finish what you start? Are deadlines your Kryptonite? Are you overwhelmed? These are common struggles for creative people. During this session, I’ll help you identify your greatest goal setting and time management challenges and offer effective tools for shattering those roadblocks so you can (finally!) achieve your creative aspirations. Come prepared with a goal you’ve been putting off or struggling with and a calendar (phone app is fine).

 P  Lost in Pace – Sean McCarthy
Making Sure Your Picture Book Doesn't Go Off the Rails – We will examine character development, plotting, structure, and transformation in picture books, and how to keep your book on track. 

 N  Mapping Our Worlds Melanie Crowder
Mapping our Worlds: finding connections between the character and plot arcs in your story. Melanie says, “In every mentorship I have undertaken as a writer, eventually we come around to the question of connection between the story's plot and its protagonist. Answering this question is crucial if we want to elevate our work to the next level. Through a combination of lecture, readings, and participation, attendees will map out the plot and character arcs of their work in progress.” (Attendees should be in the revision stage with a fully drafted novel in order to get the greatest benefit from this exercise.)

 M  Query Dos and Don’ts Shannon Hassan
Querying agents and editors is a vital (but often dreaded!) step towards a publishing deal. This workshop will de-mystify the process, breaking down the anatomy of a successful query letter, offering tips on what works—and what doesn’t. Learn how to think like an agent, avoid the common pitfalls, and make a dynamite first impression. The workshop will include in-class writing exercises and on-the-spot feedback.

12:00 PM – 1:20PM       LUNCH and Crystal Kite Award 

Crystal Kite Award:  Dian Curtis Regan
Congratulations to Dian Curtis Regan, winner of the 2017 Crystal Kite Award for the Southwest Division of the SCBWI (SW Division includes Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Southern Idaho, New Mexico). The Crystal Kite Award is a peer-voted honor bestowed for excellence in children’s books upon winners today in 15 US and international divisions. SCBWI members vote to recognize outstanding books written and illustrated by their peers. Over 1,000 books across all categories including picture books, middle grade, chapter books, young adult and nonfiction were entered in the competition.

Lunch Menu options (chosen at registration):
Salmon with Grilled Green Onion Gremolata over Polenta with Seasonal Vegetables (Gluten Free)
Lemon Mustard Seared Chicken with Chive Butter over Polenta with Seasonal Vegetables (Gluten Free)
Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Sautéed Spinach, Quinoa, Tomatoes, Rich Curried Broth (gluten and dairy free, vegan)

1:30PM – 2:20PM           BREAKOUT SESSION THREE (choose one)
 I  Journey to DiversityVanessa Brantley-Newton
Illustrator Vanessa Brantley-Newton shares her journey to diversity and the importance of all children seeing themselves in picture books. She will talk about why she is so passionate about bringing a new generation of readers books that celebrate children of all cultures. There's a surprise ending, so bring tissues! You will also create three characters of mixed or different ethnic makeup and will learn how to illustrate African American hair.

 P  “The End” Invigorating Your Picture Book with Surprise Twists and Resonant Endings Denise Vega
Sometimes we focus so much on the opening or "hook" for a story that we forget about that crucial ending. In this session, we'll explore a variety of picture book endings and discuss what makes them work (or not!). Then we'll brainstorm our own endings, working to write one that has a child shouting: "Read it again!" and a publisher saying "Yes!" Participants should have a completed manuscript or a story idea where they know the ending to get the most out of this session. (All levels)

 N  Setting: Not Just a Place Melanie Crowder
If we think of setting as merely a place our characters inhabit, we’re missing out! The space in which our story is set, and the objects that surround our characters, when connected with plot and character and story elevate the whole beyond the sum of its parts. Bring something to write with!

 M  Creating an Author Marketing Plan (Yes! You need one) Fleur Bradley
Marketing—your publisher takes care of all that, right? Think again. Whether you’re having a book coming out this year, or you’re a new writer trying to understand the business of writing, this workshop is for you. Author Fleur (F.T.) Bradley will share her experience marketing her books and stories. She’ll show you how to create a personalized marketing plan for your book, and how to avoid wasting time on stuff that doesn’t get your book sold. When you leave this workshop, you’ll have a rough draft for your marketing plan. 

2:30PM –3:20PM            INDUSTRY PANEL          Ballroom Group Gathering
Question & Answer Session with editors Emily Feinberg and Matt Ringler PLUS agents Shannon Hassan and Sean McCarthy

3:30PM – 4:20PM           BREAKOUT SESSION FOUR (choose one)
 I  From Birth to Bookshelf: Bringing a Book to Life:  Dow Phumiruk
Using recent projects as examples, Dow will show you how an acquired manuscript becomes a published book, from signing your illustrator contract to submission of final art, and all the steps in between. She will touch on storyboard and dummy composition, using reference, revisions based on editor feedback, and putting it all together. 

 P  Writing Chapter Books Dian Curtis Regan
Chapter books are the sweet spot for seven to ten year-old “newly independent readers.” Let’s get down to the nitty gritty of how to write for this genre: ideas, characters, and plotting. Plus, what are the differences between chapter books and middle-grade novels?

 N  How to Hook an Agent Shannon Hassan
Your opening pages are absolutely crucial—they are your chance to hook an agent, an editor, and ultimately your readers! Come hear an insider’s view of what agents look for in the first five to ten pages. We'll read and discuss pages that made the cut, and learn tips and strategies to keep readers engaged from the start!

 M  The Art of the Picture Book Trailer Tim McCanna
Your book is about to publish and you need a video to drum up excitement and awareness! The good news is, you probably have many of the tools you need to create a memorable book trailer already on your laptop. Picture book author and book trailer producer Tim McCanna will guide you through the nuts and bolts of video production for a successful YouTube video launch—from importing your book’s illustrations to iMovie, to creating original background music in Garageband. We’ll also watch a few examples of successful book trailers and leave plenty of time for Q&A at the end. (Note: Tim will be using and recommending Apple products, but can offer software options for PC users.)

4:30PM – 4:40PM           CLOSING REMARKS & ***DOOR PRIZES***

4:40PM – 6:00PM           ARTS, EATS & AUTOGRAPHS  (Ballroom)

BOOK SIGNING  (Ballroom)
The authors and illustrators books are for sale in the conference bookstore. Meet, chat, get your books signed
**please note:  Matt de la Peña will have a staggered book signing time which will start at 5:30pm as he will be arriving from another location

This is a chance to see the talented illustrators who we have in our chapter.

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. 

All Saturday Night Social events are for attendees who have registered and paid for Saturday workshops!

6:00PM – 7:30PM           CRITIQUE CONNECT for authors and illustrators

Getting valuable peer critiques is one of the most important steps in becoming a better writer and/or illustrator. This is a live critiquing session in which you will have the opportunity to share your work with other writers and/or illustrators, and receive and give feedback. Who knows, you may just find a new critique partner in the process!  WRITERS: BRING 5 COPIES OF YOUR WORK IN PROGRESS. ILLUSTRATORS:  BRING YOUR PORTFOLIO

Sunday – October 8, 2017



8:30AM – 9:20AM          BREAKOUT SESSION ONE (choose one)
 I  Digital Workflow for Busy Illustrators – Dow Phumiruk
In this workshop, I’ll demonstrate my method for creating illustrations in Photoshop and Procreate with efficiency in mind. We’ll also talk about how to get noticed in the industry utilizing the three P’s: Productivity, Persistence, and Patience. We'll explore how to stay productive while life around keeps you busy. I’ll give you my advice on how to stay persistent and patient while working towards “YES!”

 P  Rhyming in Picture Books– Tim McCanna
Have you ever been told not to rhyme or that editors hate rhyming picture books? Don’t believe it! In this lively discussion, rhyming picture book author Tim McCanna (Bitty Bot, Watersong, Barnyard Boogie, Jack B. Ninja) pinpoints what makes a strong rhyming manuscript that will have agents, editors, and readers begging for more. We’ll analyze works by a few of the rhyming greats, and turn the spotlight on frequent missteps such as forced rhyme and slant rhyme. Tim will also offer tips, tricks, and tools for getting your next rhyming picture book off on the right foot. Great for beginners or advanced writers looking to expand their work.

 S  Writing for the Educational Market –  Laura Perdew
Interested in writing for the education market? Learn more about the opportunities the education market has for freelance authors and how to query educational publishers. We’ll talk about the nuts and bolts of writing to assigned specs and reading levels, working with an editor, record keeping, and the revision process. The session will also provide participants with materials to create writing samples and other resources so you’ll be ready to put together a solid query package.

 N  Writing the YA and MG Mystery/Thriller – Fleur Bradley
Realistic fiction is sought-after in MG and YA, especially mysteries and thrillers. But writing these page-turners comes with its challenges. Join author F.T. Bradley to learn about what goes (and doesn’t) in MG and YA, how to create a believable premise, and how to plot a riveting suspense novel that’ll have teens and tweens glued to the pages.

9:30AM – 10:20AM        BREAKOUT SESSION TWO (choose one)
 I  Ninja on the Shelf-  Luke Flowers
In this session, Luke will share insights on developing a successful book series from his experience of creating Moby Shinobi with Scholastic. You’ll learn the art ninja skills of creating a unique character, developing engaging environments, building ongoing interest in the series and most importantly connecting with and inspiring readers! If you want to go from thinking “I did my ninja best you see, I wish there was a job for me!” to “An uninspired brains a blob, NOW I’m the ninja for the job!” then sign up TODAY to learn the art ninja way!

 P  Exploring Character Driven Picture Books Denise Vega
Successful picture book series’ like Skippyjon Jones, Fancy Nancy, and Olivia all have one thing in common: Memorable, engaging characters. What makes them memorable and engaging? And what exactly is a “character-driven picture book?” In this session, you’ll look at popular, character-driven picture books to determine what makes them special and begin to craft your own characters. If you’ve got an existing character that needs a boost, bring him/her. Let’s create unforgettable characters

 M  Ask an Editor Anything! – Emily Feinberg

Ask Emily anything you’d like to know, she’ll probably have an answer!  Here’s a little bit about Emily: After earning her master’s degrees in Children’s Literature and English Literature from Simmons College in Boston, Emily Feinberg joined the editorial team at Roaring Brook Press. She works mostly with picture book, middle grade, and nonfiction titles. She edited Elisha Cooper’s Big Cat, Little Cat, which earned five starred reviews, Maria Gianferrari’s Coyote Moon (illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline), which earned three starred reviews and was a 2016 ALA Notable book, the spooky middle grade novel by Marina Cohen, The Doll’s Eye, among others.


 N  The Power of Patience in Storytelling – Matt de la Peña

In this session, we will talk about the important role patience and restraint play in good storytelling. And we will dig deep into the characters who inhabit our current projects.

10:30AM – 11:20AM      BREAKOUT SESSION THREE (choose one)
 I  First Impressions – Sean McCarthy
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. NOTE: See the Illustrators Extras page for details on how to submit your illustrations by the deadline.

 P  Big Ideas for Little Humans: Nonfiction Picture Books – Emily Feinberg

 S  Adventures in Research– Laura Perdew
The research process can be quite daunting. But it doesn’t need to be! Research is an essential part of both fiction and nonfiction…the trick is learning how to embrace the task and streamline the process. In our digital era, the amount of information available at a click can be overwhelming; but it also affords us the opportunity to efficiently access material from around the world without leaving home. Yet we also cannot forget about books, personal interviews, travel, and primary sources. And, of course, there are librarians, who know how to find just about anything and want to help. Learn how to find the information you want, how to avoid what you don’t, and how to sift through it all to find the most essential pieces that will inform and inspire your writing. Participants will leave with a road map to approach the research for their next topic.

 N  Create a Character: You Will Leave Here With a New One – Matt Ringler

11:30AM – 12:20PM      CLOSING KEYNOTE

Working Class Writer– Matt de la Peña
Creative people need more than just inspiration to make great work. They need grit and discipline. I will explain my own working class mentality and explore how we can all better cultivate these traits.

12:20 PM- 12:30PM       FAREWELL!

If you registered for a post-conference intensive, please pick up your boxed lunch now.

POST-Conference five options (two novelist options, two picture book options, one illustrator option).   Post conference intensives are optional and pre-registration is required as there are a limited number of spaces. $110 includes one intensive and one boxed lunch (to be picked up after closing keynote).

Building Emotion & Tension in MG/YA Novels Melanie Crowder & Denise Vega
Experiencing visceral emotion and tension helps readers care about your characters and keeps them reading late into the night. Using published books and our own works in progress, we'll discuss what works, what doesn't, why these elements of story are essential to reader engagement, and how to elevate the emotion and tension in your own writing, while avoiding clichés. Please bring a scene you want to work on and the writing implements of your choice (pen/paper, laptop, tablet, etc). You will be working during this intensive!

 I  Character Building with Diversity in Mind Vanessa Brantley Newton
Diversity is vital to children’s books, and knowing how to illustrate characters with authenticity will set you apart. This isn’t as easy as putting a child of color into a scene; it must be genuine. In this workshop, we will explore what makes a pitch perfect character and what is considered cliché or offensive to other cultures. I’ll share my process of creating hair, skin colors, and clothing and how to keep a journal or catalog of interesting clothing, accessories, facial features, hair dos and textures. I’ll also demonstrate my collage technique and you’ll be asked to create a special piece to stretch yourself and try something new. Collage papers will be supplied. Please bring a notebook or sketchbook big or small, your favorite drawing or painting supplies, scissors and a glue stick.

Pre-register for this special roundtable gathering and hear how an agent thinks. Space is limited to 15 writers each. You’ll meet in an intimate setting and receive live, on-the-spot feedback on the first five pages of your picture book manuscript (please see detailed instructions). Not only do you benefit by receiving direct feedback on your work-in-progress, you also grow by hearing reactions and comments on everyone else’s work, too.
NOTE: All participants should bring 16 STAPLED copies of a work-in-progress picture book manuscript. Format 12 pt. Font, Times New Roman, double spaced, one inch margins.

Pre-register for this special picture book roundtable gathering and hear how an editor thinks. Space is limited to 15 writers each. You’ll meet in an intimate setting and receive live, on-the-spot feedback on the first five pages of your picture book manuscript (please see detailed instructions). Not only do you benefit by receiving direct feedback on your work-in-progress, you also grow by hearing reactions and comments on everyone else’s work, too. 
NOTE: All participants should bring 16 STAPLED copies of a work-in-progress picture book manuscript. Format 12 pt. Font, Times New Roman, double spaced, one inch margins. 

Live Feedback Matt Ringler
Pre-register for this roundtable for chapter book, middle grade, and young adult novelists and hear how an editor responds to the first five pages of your work in progress. Space is limited to 15 . You’ll meet in an intimate setting and receive live, on-the-spot feedback on the first five pages of your  (yes, it must be pages one-five from the beginning; please see detailed instructions for formatting). Not only do you benefit by receiving direct feedback from an editor on your work-in-progress, you also grow by hearing constructive comments on everyone else’s work, too.
NOTE: All participants should bring 16 STAPLED copies of the first five pages of their work-in-progress manuscript. Format 12 pt. Font, Times New Roman, double spaced, one inch margins.