Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators



click here to print the detailed schedule: DETAILED SCHEDULE PDF

8:00-8:30      Check in and Coffee (assorted snacks)


8:30-9:00      Welcome, details of the day, faculty introductions


Pick one per timeslot!




The process beginning to end with Sylvie Frank

All About Collaboration: A Close Look at Picture Books for Beginners and Beyond. What does the submission process look like? How long does it take to create a picture book? And how do editors and art directors work together? In this session, we’ll take a close look at the acquisition-to-publication process, with a focus on the role of collaboration. This session is perfect for those who are new to the world of publishing, as it will include terminology and a general overview of the process. But it’s perfect for pros, too, as it will shine a light on the role revision and the revision process for both authors and illustrators.        



How to Write the YA/MG Adventure Novel! with Lija Fisher

Reading adventure novels can be thrilling, and writing one can be equally as exciting. But how do you keep kids turning the page with tales of quests and danger? In this workshop, we’ll explore the basic elements of storytelling and how to weave them together in a way that makes the story gallop apace. With these tools in hand, you’ll be ready to set sail on your writing adventure!



So you want to write Narrative Nonfiction with Kim Tomsic

In this session you’ll learn what to include to craft a compelling proposal for your project. We’ll also discuss language, heartbeat, dos and don’ts, and few tricks to help you launch your manuscript from idea to book. 





PICTURE BOOK Fiction and Nonfiction Writers:

From Life to Children’s Fiction/Nonfiction! with Linda Osmundson

Sometimes we think we’ve run out of story ideas. Yet, everyone has a personal story to turn into a children’s book. Award winning author, Linda Osmundson, has written slice-of-life stories for children and adults and will guide you to mine your own life experiences to build a writing career from your experiences. You’ll learn how to stretch those experiences over the top and create children’s books and magazine articles. Bring a list of interesting events from your life.



From Castles to Condominiums: Building Immersive Worlds in Fiction with Laurel Symonds

Detailed world-building is essential to strong fiction—but it’s not just for fantasy and sci fi! Learn the key points to creating believable worlds and how the world influences plot and character.





Picture Book FIRST PAGES with Sylvie Frank

Picture book first pages: S&S Senior Editor Sylvie Frank will read the first page of anonymously submitted picture book manuscripts and provide first-impression feedback.



Say What? Dialogue for Character Conflict and Revelation with Denise Vega

In this session, we’ll use examples and exercises to explore how what is said and not said can create conflict and tension between and among characters as well as reveal character. We’ll also go over some basic dialogue tips. Bring a section of dialogue from your work-in-progress that you feel needs a boost. (All levels).



Asking Questions: The Heart of Nonfiction with Christine Liu Perkins

Writing good nonfiction revolves around asking good questions. Learn ways to make your nonfiction compelling as Christine shares how questions drive each stage of her writing process from initial curiosity to research, notetaking, outlining, focusing the writing, and making connections to readers.




Lunch: Quinoa Bar (options for gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegetarian)

Pick an “A” lunch or a “B” lunch

We’ve included a professional track, so please pick your lunch time slot and pick your professional track offering. You can also choose to attend neither professional offering and use this time for writing.   





12:05 – 12:55         1st Lunch


12:05 – 12:55           Professional Track A (Public Speaking)


Talking the Talk: Developing Your Confident and Authentic Public Speaking Self with Bonnie Auslander                                                       

Learning to speak confidently in public is an integral part of promoting your book, but some authors approach public speaking with dread, and others are confused about fundamentals such as gestures and stance. This session will tackle common speech apprehension issues & how to overcome them; consider slides & other props; address how to adapt your talk depending on the audience; & discuss classic delivery do’s & don’ts that will help you deliver your or your book’s elevator pitch with confidence.


1:00 – 1:50              2nd Lunch


1:00 – 1:50              Professional Track B (Marketing)


Off the Page and Into the World—How to be Brave, Bold, and Brilliant from Proposal to Bookstore and Beyond with Lisa Trank

You had a story to tell. That story is now a book. Bravo! But now what? How do you take the creativity, dedication, and storytelling off the page and into the world? Lisa Trank, book marketing and publicity consultant, will take you through a playful, safe, and effective approach to book marketing, from the proposal to marketplace. Your book deserves it and so do you!




Picture Books and Readers with Laurel Symonds

The youngest of readers interact with picture books in very physical ways—and we’re not just talking about chewing the cardboard or ripping out pages! We’ll consider how interactive elements, line breaks, page turns, and other techniques enhance the reading experience.




The Grown-up in the Room with Darby Karchut

The Grown-Up In The Room: Writing Adult Characters in YA and Middle Grade. So many books for children and teens feature missing or flawed adult characters, a trope that has recently been done to death? In this workshop, author Darby Karchut will explore ways to include well-rounded and successful adults in our stories while still allowing the young heroine or hero to shine on center stage. All levels.



From Research to Revision: Tips for Writing All Types of Nonfiction with Julie Danneberg

No matter what genre of nonfiction you write, there are certain strategies that apply, including effective ways to research, knowing when it’s time to start drafting, choosing the perfect structure and revising with your audience in mind.  Julie Danneberg, the author of seven nonfiction books and one historical fiction will share some of her most useful tips for researching and writing informative, engaging and entertaining nonfiction.  




2:45-3:00         Cookie & Coffee break, shop, S…T…R…E…T…C…H     



PICTURE BOOK WRITERS (Fiction and Nonfiction):

I Wanted to Love your Work, But…Five Reasons You Might have Received a Rejection with Sylvie Frank

The behind-the-scenes submission and acquisition process can seem mysterious and baffling to authors and illustrators. Here’s a real-life look at how I receive submissions, what I look for in a submission, and what editorial and acquisitions meetings are like. This session will include plenty of time for Q&A.



Finding Happily Ever After in a Book with Lisa Brown Roberts and Jenna Lincoln

In a book, mysteries get solved. Monsters get vanquished. And romances have a Happy Ever After. Whether you’ve thought about tropes in genre fiction or not, this session will be an interactive discussion looking at genre requirements and how almost every author, no matter what the back cover copy says, sneaks in at least a little bit of the feels. Get ready to talk (and write) about heroes, villains, canon couples. All fandoms welcome!





Just the Right Word: The Power of Language in Your Picture Book with Denise Vega

We all know that every word counts in a picture book. And the words we choose to use are vital to telling a compelling story, setting a mood and engaging readers. When is plain, straightforward language enough? When does a story need descriptive language? When does alliteration or onomatopoeia push our story to another level? Using examples and exercises, we’ll explore how best to use the word and language tools at our disposal. If you have a work-in-progress, feel free to bring it to apply some of the techniques we’ll review.


NOVELISTS (Fiction and Nonfiction):

Dream Homes and Dank Dungeons: Designing Real Spaces In Your Story with Laura Mitzner Paletz

A professional interior designer (current project: 1500-room Gaylord Rockies Hotel in Denver) and young adult author presents a designer’s approach to creating spaces that will immerse readers in a story without detail overload. Sensory aids will be used (fabrics, wood and stone samples, etc.) to help authors engage all five senses in their writing and world building. This workshop is intended for authors writing PB, MG, and YA Fiction, and it is open to writers of all levels.




4:55-5:30    Closing remarks and book signing