SCBWI

Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Suggested Programming Tracks

All conference attendees are welcome to attend whatever breakout sessions they like; the suggested tracks below are merely here to help you find the best programs to meet your creative goals, whether it’s by your place in the publication journey or by the content of your work. Please note: Sunday intensive workshops require preregistration for a specific session. Saturday breakout sessions do not.

Click on the links below to skip to each suggested programming track:

For Pre-published Authors/Illustrators

For Traditionally Published Authors/Illustrators

For Self-published Authors/Illustrators

For Illustrators

For Picture Book Authors

For Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction Authors

For Nonfiction Authors

 

 

For Pre-published Authors/Illustrators

Breakout Session A:

A1. Lies, Goals, and Truths: Using Characterization to Fuel your Plot (Melanie Conklin): Plot is the foe of many a writer. Often, we know our characters need to grow or change in a certain way, but we don’t know HOW to choose the path that will lead there. The good news is, your characters can and will choose their path for you, if you let them. In this workshop, we’ll explore our characters’ Lies, Goals, and Truths and how characterization can fuel the plot of your story. (A304)

OR

A2. The Science of Picture Book Structure (Sue Fliess): Sue will talk about 9 types of picture book structure, how exploring them can inspire creativity, and how experimenting with a different structure can help you develop your characters more fully and inform your story—and even surprise you along the way. (Auditorium)

OR

A3. How to Make Nonfiction Fun! (Chris Hernandez): In this nonfiction book survey, we’ll look at how publishers and authors are approaching nonfiction books in a fun, exciting, and interesting way to make their books stand out from the crowd. (A306)

 

Breakout Session B:

B1. Diversity in Children’s Literature: A Discussion of Representation vs Appropriation (Susan Muaddi Darraj): Lucille Clifton said, “The literature of America should reflect the children of America.” But does it? In 2043, the United States will be a majority-minority nation, experts predict. And yet, roughly 20% of children’s books featured people of color; an even smaller percentage of books were written and/or illustrated by people of color. We will discuss the importance of authentic representation and diversity in literature for children, as well as how to avoid the pitfalls of appropriation. (A304)

OR

B2. Finding an Agent (Susan Hawk): Agent Susan Hawk of Upstart Crow Literary takes you through the process from A to Z. (Auditorium)

OR

B3. Skip the Pitch (Work-for-Hire Writing Assignments) (Annette Whipple): Get published! If you enjoy writing about new topics, both fiction and nonfiction, consider writing for the educational market. Participants will learn about this market and how to approach publishers with a work-for-hire package. Get publishing experience with books and other resources for children (K-12) without the slush pile. (A306)

 

Breakout Session C:

C2.  How to Create a “Wow” Query Letter (Andrea Cascardi): This session will demystify what makes an agent say “yes” to a query: hook, pitch, comps, and submission etiquette. (Auditorium)

OR

C3: Ask an Art Director! (Maria Middleton): Ever wonder what an art director actually does? In this workshop, you’ll get an inside look at how an art director finds, hires, and works with illustrators to ultimately create an entire book package from cover to cover. (A306)

 

Breakout Session D:

D1. I’ve Got the Power: How to Use Character Agency to Make Your Story Satisfying (Rachael Stein): Conflict is a vital component of any good children’s book, from picture books to young adult novels. But which characters actually make the decisions and take action to resolve that conflict? In this breakout, we’ll discuss character agency, why it’s important for your main character to have control over their story, and how a character’s actions and decisions make the story especially satisfying for readers. (A304)

OR

D2: Real Talk: Nonfiction (Angele McQuade, Annette Whipple, Lakita Wilson; moderated by Kathy MacMillan): A panel of nonfiction writers discuss writing for small pressed versus large presses, writing nonfiction for different age groups, aspects of craft, and promoting nonfiction titles. (Auditorium)

OR

D3. Thinking Outside the Bear (Timothy Young): Winnie the Pooh, Corduroy, The Berenstain Bears. There are so many classic books about bears, not to mention cats, dogs and mice. Are you writing a book about one of these animals? Does the world need another book about a bear? This session looks at other possibilities, explores under-used animals and looks at recent trendy animals like sloths, narwhals and blobfish. Are there any animals left? Let’s find out. (A306)

 

Breakout Session E:

E1. Nonfiction Forum: An opportunity to network and share best practices with fellow nonfiction writers. All nonfiction creators at all stages of their careers are welcome. (A304)

OR

E2: Building a Kidlit Career (Melanie Conklin, Susan Muaddi Darraj, Linda Sue Park; moderated by Tracy C. Gold): It’s not just about one book – it’s about building a career. Authors at various stages of their career discuss how craft, promotion, and more have evolved. (Auditorium)

OR

E3. Dummy Book Development (Mike Malbrough):  A crash course aimed at helping participants turn an idea into a submission-ready book dummy. Mike will cover a wide range of topics including pagination, pacing, the relationship between images and text, and best practices for getting your work seen by agents and editors. This workshop is a must for illustrators with stories to tell and a great tool for writers who want a better understanding of the book development process from a unique perspective. (A306)

 

Sunday Intensives (Preregistration for a specific session required!)

A: Cash and Creativity: How Cleaning Up Your Finances Can Spark New Creative Success (Angele McQuade): Uncertainty or fear about money can smother your creativity in unexpected ways. In this three-hour workshop, financial author Angele McQuade will show you how to excavate the truth about your finances, tie up energy-draining financial loose ends, and organize and manage your money using simple, efficient routines. You’ll also learn the most critical things you should know about the financial side of publishing, as well as strategies for tying up creative loose ends, prioritizing your projects, dreaming big dreams, and crafting a plan to turn those dreams into reality. Be prepared to leave inspired to take action financially and creatively! (A302)

OR

B: Real Time Revision (Linda Sue Park): Linda Sue Park will introduce revision strategies, techniques, and tips for participants to practice in real time. The aim is to develop a critical eye for your work so you can become your own best editor. Bring at least ten pages of a work-in-progress on a laptop. (A few of the exercises can be done on paper, but the workshop is designed for laptop use.) (A303)

OR

C: Setting as Character (Susan Hawk): Learn how to make setting come alive and become an integral part of your story and your characters’ emotional journey. (A304)

OR

D: Drawing on Discovery (Maria Middleton): Discovery is the act of finding something unknown. A discovery can be magical, terrible, humorous, wonderful, shocking, inspiring—or anything in between! Using a character of your own invention, draw them in the act of discovery. You will create a series of preliminary sketches that focus on character development and world building and share your finished artwork as either a picture book spread or middle-grade cover to be critiqued as a group at the conference. Maria is also offering a limited number of optional pre-conference critiques to get 1-on-1 feedback of your work in progress ($40 each). (A306)

 

 

For Traditionally Published Authors/Illustrators

Breakout Session A:

A1. Lies, Goals, and Truths: Using Characterization to Fuel your Plot (Melanie Conklin): Plot is the foe of many a writer. Often, we know our characters need to grow or change in a certain way, but we don’t know HOW to choose the path that will lead there. The good news is, your characters can and will choose their path for you, if you let them. In this workshop, we’ll explore our characters’ Lies, Goals, and Truths and how characterization can fuel the plot of your story. (A304)

OR

A2. The Science of Picture Book Structure (Sue Fliess): Sue will talk about 9 types of picture book structure, how exploring them can inspire creativity, and how experimenting with a different structure can help you develop your characters more fully and inform your story—and even surprise you along the way. (Auditorium)

OR

A3. How to Make Nonfiction Fun! (Chris Hernandez): In this nonfiction book survey, we’ll look at how publishers and authors are approaching nonfiction books in a fun, exciting, and interesting way to make their books stand out from the crowd. (A306)

 

Breakout Session B:

B1. Diversity in Children’s Literature: A Discussion of Representation vs Appropriation (Susan Muaddi Darraj): Lucille Clifton said, “The literature of America should reflect the children of America.” But does it? In 2043, the United States will be a majority-minority nation, experts predict. And yet, roughly 20% of children’s books featured people of color; an even smaller percentage of books were written and/or illustrated by people of color. We will discuss the importance of authentic representation and diversity in literature for children, as well as how to avoid the pitfalls of appropriation. (A304)

OR

B3. Skip the Pitch (Work-for-Hire Writing Assignments) (Annette Whipple): Get published! If you enjoy writing about new topics, both fiction and nonfiction, consider writing for the educational market. Participants will learn about this market and how to approach publishers with a work-for-hire package. Get publishing experience with books and other resources for children (K-12) without the slush pile. (A306)

 

Breakout Session C:

C1. Published Authors and Illustrators Forum: Once your book is published, that’s just the beginning! Join us for an interactive session addressing the concerns of published authors and illustrators. All published attendees, traditionally published or indie, are invited to share best practices and learn from others (A304)

OR

C3: Ask an Art Director! (Maria Middleton): Ever wonder what an art director actually does? In this workshop, you’ll get an inside look at how an art director finds, hires, and works with illustrators to ultimately create an entire book package from cover to cover. (A306)

 

Breakout Session D:

D1. I’ve Got the Power: How to Use Character Agency to Make Your Story Satisfying (Rachael Stein): Conflict is a vital component of any good children’s book, from picture books to young adult novels. But which characters actually make the decisions and take action to resolve that conflict? In this breakout, we’ll discuss character agency, why it’s important for your main character to have control over their story, and how a character’s actions and decisions make the story especially satisfying for readers. (A304)

OR

D2: Real Talk: Nonfiction (Angele McQuade, Annette Whipple, Lakita Wilson; moderated by Kathy MacMillan): A panel of nonfiction writers discuss writing for small pressed versus large presses, writing nonfiction for different age groups, aspects of craft, and promoting nonfiction titles. (Auditorium)

OR

D3. Thinking Outside the Bear (Timothy Young): Winnie the Pooh, Corduroy, The Berenstain Bears. There are so many classic books about bears, not to mention cats, dogs and mice. Are you writing a book about one of these animals? Does the world need another book about a bear? This session looks at other possibilities, explores under-used animals and looks at recent trendy animals like sloths, narwhals and blobfish. Are there any animals left? Let’s find out. (A306)

 

Breakout Session E:

E1. Nonfiction Forum: An opportunity to network and share best practices with fellow nonfiction writers. All nonfiction creators at all stages of their careers are welcome. (A304)

OR

E2: Building a Kidlit Career (Melanie Conklin, Susan Muaddi Darraj, Linda Sue Park; moderated by Tracy C. Gold): It’s not just about one book – it’s about building a career. Authors at various stages of their career discuss how craft, promotion, and more have evolved. (Auditorium)

 

Sunday Intensives (Preregistration for a specific session required!)

A: Cash and Creativity: How Cleaning Up Your Finances Can Spark New Creative Success (Angele McQuade): Uncertainty or fear about money can smother your creativity in unexpected ways. In this three-hour workshop, financial author Angele McQuade will show you how to excavate the truth about your finances, tie up energy-draining financial loose ends, and organize and manage your money using simple, efficient routines. You’ll also learn the most critical things you should know about the financial side of publishing, as well as strategies for tying up creative loose ends, prioritizing your projects, dreaming big dreams, and crafting a plan to turn those dreams into reality. Be prepared to leave inspired to take action financially and creatively! (A302)

OR

B: Real Time Revision (Linda Sue Park): Linda Sue Park will introduce revision strategies, techniques, and tips for participants to practice in real time. The aim is to develop a critical eye for your work so you can become your own best editor. Bring at least ten pages of a work-in-progress on a laptop. (A few of the exercises can be done on paper, but the workshop is designed for laptop use.) (A303)

OR

C: Setting as Character (Susan Hawk): Learn how to make setting come alive and become an integral part of your story and your characters’ emotional journey. (A304)

OR

Drawing on Discovery (Maria Middleton): Discovery is the act of finding something unknown. A discovery can be magical, terrible, humorous, wonderful, shocking, inspiring—or anything in between! Using a character of your own invention, draw them in the act of discovery. You will create a series of preliminary sketches that focus on character development and world building and share your finished artwork as either a picture book spread or middle-grade cover to be critiqued as a group at the conference. Maria is also offering a limited number of optional pre-conference critiques to get 1-on-1 feedback of your work in progress ($40 each). (A306)

OR

E: First Impressions School and Library Visit Workshop (Veronica Bartles, Matthew Winner, Cheryl Womack-Whye, Timothy Young): Take your school and library visits to the next level! Working authors and illustrators will demonstrate samples of their school and library visits and receive live feedback and tips from our distinguished panel: Author Veronica Bartles, teacher/author Cheryl Womack-Whye, school librarian/kidlit podcaster Matthew Winner, and author/illustrator Tim Young. You may choose to register to perform (space limited) or simply observe and ask questions of the panel. (Auditorium)

 

 

For Self-published Authors/Illustrators

Breakout Session A:

A1. Lies, Goals, and Truths: Using Characterization to Fuel your Plot (Melanie Conklin): Plot is the foe of many a writer. Often, we know our characters need to grow or change in a certain way, but we don’t know HOW to choose the path that will lead there. The good news is, your characters can and will choose their path for you, if you let them. In this workshop, we’ll explore our characters’ Lies, Goals, and Truths and how characterization can fuel the plot of your story. (A304)

OR

A2. The Science of Picture Book Structure (Sue Fliess): Sue will talk about 9 types of picture book structure, how exploring them can inspire creativity, and how experimenting with a different structure can help you develop your characters more fully and inform your story—and even surprise you along the way. (Auditorium)

OR

A3. How to Make Nonfiction Fun! (Chris Hernandez): In this nonfiction book survey, we’ll look at how publishers and authors are approaching nonfiction books in a fun, exciting, and interesting way to make their books stand out from the crowd. (A306)

 

Breakout Session B:

B1. Diversity in Children’s Literature: A Discussion of Representation vs Appropriation (Susan Muaddi Darraj): Lucille Clifton said, “The literature of America should reflect the children of America.” But does it? In 2043, the United States will be a majority-minority nation, experts predict. And yet, roughly 20% of children’s books featured people of color; an even smaller percentage of books were written and/or illustrated by people of color. We will discuss the importance of authentic representation and diversity in literature for children, as well as how to avoid the pitfalls of appropriation. (A304)

 

Breakout Session C:

C1. Published Authors and Illustrators Forum: Once your book is published, that’s just the beginning! Join us for an interactive session addressing the concerns of published authors and illustrators. All published attendees, traditionally published or indie, are invited to share best practices and learn from others (A304)

 

Breakout Session D:

D1. I’ve Got the Power: How to Use Character Agency to Make Your Story Satisfying (Rachael Stein): Conflict is a vital component of any good children’s book, from picture books to young adult novels. But which characters actually make the decisions and take action to resolve that conflict? In this breakout, we’ll discuss character agency, why it’s important for your main character to have control over their story, and how a character’s actions and decisions make the story especially satisfying for readers. (A304)

OR

D2: Real Talk: Nonfiction (Angele McQuade, Annette Whipple, Lakita Wilson; moderated by Kathy MacMillan): A panel of nonfiction writers discuss writing for small pressed versus large presses, writing nonfiction for different age groups, aspects of craft, and promoting nonfiction titles. (Auditorium)

OR

D3. Thinking Outside the Bear (Timothy Young): Winnie the Pooh, Corduroy, The Berenstain Bears. There are so many classic books about bears, not to mention cats, dogs and mice. Are you writing a book about one of these animals? Does the world need another book about a bear? This session looks at other possibilities, explores under-used animals and looks at recent trendy animals like sloths, narwhals and blobfish. Are there any animals left? Let’s find out. (A306)

 

Breakout Session E:

E1. Nonfiction Forum: An opportunity to network and share best practices with fellow nonfiction writers. All nonfiction creators at all stages of their careers are welcome. (A304)

OR

E2: Building a Kidlit Career (Melanie Conklin, Susan Muaddi Darraj, Linda Sue Park; moderated by Tracy C. Gold): It’s not just about one book – it’s about building a career. Authors at various stages of their career discuss how craft, promotion, and more have evolved. (Auditorium)

OR

E3. Dummy Book Development (Mike Malbrough):  A crash course aimed at helping participants turn an idea into a submission-ready book dummy. Mike will cover a wide range of topics including pagination, pacing, the relationship between images and text, and best practices for getting your work seen by agents and editors. This workshop is a must for illustrators with stories to tell and a great tool for writers who want a better understanding of the book development process from a unique perspective. (A306)

 

Sunday Intensives (Preregistration for a specific session required!)

A: Cash and Creativity: How Cleaning Up Your Finances Can Spark New Creative Success (Angele McQuade): Uncertainty or fear about money can smother your creativity in unexpected ways. In this three-hour workshop, financial author Angele McQuade will show you how to excavate the truth about your finances, tie up energy-draining financial loose ends, and organize and manage your money using simple, efficient routines. You’ll also learn the most critical things you should know about the financial side of publishing, as well as strategies for tying up creative loose ends, prioritizing your projects, dreaming big dreams, and crafting a plan to turn those dreams into reality. Be prepared to leave inspired to take action financially and creatively! (A302)

OR

B: Real Time Revision (Linda Sue Park): Linda Sue Park will introduce revision strategies, techniques, and tips for participants to practice in real time. The aim is to develop a critical eye for your work so you can become your own best editor. Bring at least ten pages of a work-in-progress on a laptop. (A few of the exercises can be done on paper, but the workshop is designed for laptop use.) (A303)

OR

C: Setting as Character (Susan Hawk): Learn how to make setting come alive and become an integral part of your story and your characters’ emotional journey. (A304)

OR

D: Drawing on Discovery (Maria Middleton): Discovery is the act of finding something unknown. A discovery can be magical, terrible, humorous, wonderful, shocking, inspiring—or anything in between! Using a character of your own invention, draw them in the act of discovery. You will create a series of preliminary sketches that focus on character development and world building and share your finished artwork as either a picture book spread or middle-grade cover to be critiqued as a group at the conference. Maria is also offering a limited number of optional pre-conference critiques to get 1-on-1 feedback of your work in progress ($40 each).(A306)

OR

E: First Impressions School and Library Visit Workshop (Veronica Bartles, Matthew Winner, Cheryl Womack-Whye, Timothy Young): Take your school and library visits to the next level! Working authors and illustrators will demonstrate samples of their school and library visits and receive live feedback and tips from our distinguished panel: Author Veronica Bartles, teacher/author Cheryl Womack-Whye, school librarian/kidlit podcaster Matthew Winner, and author/illustrator Tim Young. You may choose to register to perform (space limited) or simply observe and ask questions of the panel. (Auditorium)

 

 

For Illustrators

Breakout Session A:

A2. The Science of Picture Book Structure (Sue Fliess): Sue will talk about 9 types of picture book structure, how exploring them can inspire creativity, and how experimenting with a different structure can help you develop your characters more fully and inform your story—and even surprise you along the way. (Auditorium)

OR

A3. How to Make Nonfiction Fun! (Chris Hernandez): In this nonfiction book survey, we’ll look at how publishers and authors are approaching nonfiction books in a fun, exciting, and interesting way to make their books stand out from the crowd. (A306)

 

Breakout Session B:

B1. Diversity in Children’s Literature: A Discussion of Representation vs Appropriation (Susan Muaddi Darraj): Lucille Clifton said, “The literature of America should reflect the children of America.” But does it? In 2043, the United States will be a majority-minority nation, experts predict. And yet, roughly 20% of children’s books featured people of color; an even smaller percentage of books were written and/or illustrated by people of color. We will discuss the importance of authentic representation and diversity in literature for children, as well as how to avoid the pitfalls of appropriation. (A304)

OR

B2. Finding an Agent (Susan Hawk): Agent Susan Hawk of Upstart Crow Literary takes you through the process from A to Z. (Auditorium)

 

Breakout Session C:

C1. Published Authors and Illustrators Forum: Once your book is published, that’s just the beginning! Join us for an interactive session addressing the concerns of published authors and illustrators. All published attendees, traditionally published or indie, are invited to share best practices and learn from others (A304)

OR

C3: Ask an Art Director! (Maria Middleton): Ever wonder what an art director actually does? In this workshop, you’ll get an inside look at how an art director finds, hires, and works with illustrators to ultimately create an entire book package from cover to cover. (A306)

 

Breakout Session D:

D3. Thinking Outside the Bear (Timothy Young): Winnie the Pooh, Corduroy, The Berenstain Bears. There are so many classic books about bears, not to mention cats, dogs and mice. Are you writing a book about one of these animals? Does the world need another book about a bear? This session looks at other possibilities, explores under-used animals and looks at recent trendy animals like sloths, narwhals and blobfish. Are there any animals left? Let’s find out. (A306)

 

Breakout Session E:

E3. Dummy Book Development (Mike Malbrough):  A crash course aimed at helping participants turn an idea into a submission-ready book dummy. Mike will cover a wide range of topics including pagination, pacing, the relationship between images and text, and best practices for getting your work seen by agents and editors. This workshop is a must for illustrators with stories to tell and a great tool for writers who want a better understanding of the book development process from a unique perspective. (A306)

 

Sunday Intensives (Preregistration for a specific session required!)

A: Cash and Creativity: How Cleaning Up Your Finances Can Spark New Creative Success (Angele McQuade): Uncertainty or fear about money can smother your creativity in unexpected ways. In this three-hour workshop, financial author Angele McQuade will show you how to excavate the truth about your finances, tie up energy-draining financial loose ends, and organize and manage your money using simple, efficient routines. You’ll also learn the most critical things you should know about the financial side of publishing, as well as strategies for tying up creative loose ends, prioritizing your projects, dreaming big dreams, and crafting a plan to turn those dreams into reality. Be prepared to leave inspired to take action financially and creatively! (A302)

OR

D: Drawing on Discovery (Maria Middleton): Discovery is the act of finding something unknown. A discovery can be magical, terrible, humorous, wonderful, shocking, inspiring—or anything in between! Using a character of your own invention, draw them in the act of discovery. You will create a series of preliminary sketches that focus on character development and world building and share your finished artwork as either a picture book spread or middle-grade cover to be critiqued as a group at the conference. Maria is also offering a limited number of optional pre-conference critiques to get 1-on-1 feedback of your work in progress ($40 each).(A306)

OR

E: First Impressions School and Library Visit Workshop (Veronica Bartles, Matthew Winner, Cheryl Womack-Whye, Timothy Young): Take your school and library visits to the next level! Working authors and illustrators will demonstrate samples of their school and library visits and receive live feedback and tips from our distinguished panel: Author Veronica Bartles, teacher/author Cheryl Womack-Whye, school librarian/kidlit podcaster Matthew Winner, and author/illustrator Tim Young. You may choose to register to perform (space limited) or simply observe and ask questions of the panel. (Auditorium)

 

 

For Picture Book Authors

Breakout Session A:

A2. The Science of Picture Book Structure (Sue Fliess): Sue will talk about 9 types of picture book structure, how exploring them can inspire creativity, and how experimenting with a different structure can help you develop your characters more fully and inform your story—and even surprise you along the way. (Auditorium)

OR

A3. How to Make Nonfiction Fun! (Chris Hernandez): In this nonfiction book survey, we’ll look at how publishers and authors are approaching nonfiction books in a fun, exciting, and interesting way to make their books stand out from the crowd. (A306)

 

Breakout Session B:

B1. Diversity in Children’s Literature: A Discussion of Representation vs Appropriation (Susan Muaddi Darraj): Lucille Clifton said, “The literature of America should reflect the children of America.” But does it? In 2043, the United States will be a majority-minority nation, experts predict. And yet, roughly 20% of children’s books featured people of color; an even smaller percentage of books were written and/or illustrated by people of color. We will discuss the importance of authentic representation and diversity in literature for children, as well as how to avoid the pitfalls of appropriation. (A304)

OR

B2. Finding an Agent (Susan Hawk): Agent Susan Hawk of Upstart Crow Literary takes you through the process from A to Z. (Auditorium)

OR

B3. Skip the Pitch (Work-for-Hire Writing Assignments) (Annette Whipple): Get published! If you enjoy writing about new topics, both fiction and nonfiction, consider writing for the educational market. Participants will learn about this market and how to approach publishers with a work-for-hire package. Get publishing experience with books and other resources for children (K-12) without the slush pile. (A306)

 

Breakout Session C:

C1. Published Authors and Illustrators Forum: Once your book is published, that’s just the beginning! Join us for an interactive session addressing the concerns of published authors and illustrators. All published attendees, traditionally published or indie, are invited to share best practices and learn from others (A304)

OR

C2.  How to Create a “Wow” Query Letter (Andrea Cascardi): This session will demystify what makes an agent say “yes” to a query: hook, pitch, comps, and submission etiquette. (Auditorium)

OR

C3: Ask an Art Director! (Maria Middleton): Ever wonder what an art director actually does? In this workshop, you’ll get an inside look at how an art director finds, hires, and works with illustrators to ultimately create an entire book package from cover to cover. (A306)

 

Breakout Session D:

D1. I’ve Got the Power: How to Use Character Agency to Make Your Story Satisfying (Rachael Stein): Conflict is a vital component of any good children’s book, from picture books to young adult novels. But which characters actually make the decisions and take action to resolve that conflict? In this breakout, we’ll discuss character agency, why it’s important for your main character to have control over their story, and how a character’s actions and decisions make the story especially satisfying for readers. (A304)

OR

D3. Thinking Outside the Bear (Timothy Young): Winnie the Pooh, Corduroy, The Berenstain Bears. There are so many classic books about bears, not to mention cats, dogs and mice. Are you writing a book about one of these animals? Does the world need another book about a bear? This session looks at other possibilities, explores under-used animals and looks at recent trendy animals like sloths, narwhals and blobfish. Are there any animals left? Let’s find out. (A306)

 

Breakout Session E:

E3. Dummy Book Development (Mike Malbrough):  A crash course aimed at helping participants turn an idea into a submission-ready book dummy. Mike will cover a wide range of topics including pagination, pacing, the relationship between images and text, and best practices for getting your work seen by agents and editors. This workshop is a must for illustrators with stories to tell and a great tool for writers who want a better understanding of the book development process from a unique perspective. (A306)

 

Sunday Intensives (Preregistration for a specific session required!)

A: Cash and Creativity: How Cleaning Up Your Finances Can Spark New Creative Success (Angele McQuade): Uncertainty or fear about money can smother your creativity in unexpected ways. In this three-hour workshop, financial author Angele McQuade will show you how to excavate the truth about your finances, tie up energy-draining financial loose ends, and organize and manage your money using simple, efficient routines. You’ll also learn the most critical things you should know about the financial side of publishing, as well as strategies for tying up creative loose ends, prioritizing your projects, dreaming big dreams, and crafting a plan to turn those dreams into reality. Be prepared to leave inspired to take action financially and creatively! (A302)

OR

C: Setting as Character (Susan Hawk): Learn how to make setting come alive and become an integral part of your story and your characters’ emotional journey. (A304)

OR

E: First Impressions School and Library Visit Workshop (Veronica Bartles, Matthew Winner, Cheryl Womack-Whye, Timothy Young): Take your school and library visits to the next level! Working authors and illustrators will demonstrate samples of their school and library visits and receive live feedback and tips from our distinguished panel: Author Veronica Bartles, teacher/author Cheryl Womack-Whye, school librarian/kidlit podcaster Matthew Winner, and author/illustrator Tim Young. You may choose to register to perform (space limited) or simply observe and ask questions of the panel. (Auditorium)

 

 

 

For Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction Authors

Breakout Session A:

A1. Lies, Goals, and Truths: Using Characterization to Fuel your Plot (Melanie Conklin): Plot is the foe of many a writer. Often, we know our characters need to grow or change in a certain way, but we don’t know HOW to choose the path that will lead there. The good news is, your characters can and will choose their path for you, if you let them. In this workshop, we’ll explore our characters’ Lies, Goals, and Truths and how characterization can fuel the plot of your story. (A304)

 

Breakout Session B:

B1. Diversity in Children’s Literature: A Discussion of Representation vs Appropriation (Susan Muaddi Darraj): Lucille Clifton said, “The literature of America should reflect the children of America.” But does it? In 2043, the United States will be a majority-minority nation, experts predict. And yet, roughly 20% of children’s books featured people of color; an even smaller percentage of books were written and/or illustrated by people of color. We will discuss the importance of authentic representation and diversity in literature for children, as well as how to avoid the pitfalls of appropriation. (A304)

OR

B2. Finding an Agent (Susan Hawk): Agent Susan Hawk of Upstart Crow Literary takes you through the process from A to Z. (Auditorium)

OR

B3. Skip the Pitch (Work-for-Hire Writing Assignments) (Annette Whipple): Get published! If you enjoy writing about new topics, both fiction and nonfiction, consider writing for the educational market. Participants will learn about this market and how to approach publishers with a work-for-hire package. Get publishing experience with books and other resources for children (K-12) without the slush pile. (A306)

 

Breakout Session C:

C1. Published Authors and Illustrators Forum: Once your book is published, that’s just the beginning! Join us for an interactive session addressing the concerns of published authors and illustrators. All published attendees, traditionally published or indie, are invited to share best practices and learn from others (A304)

OR

C2.  How to Create a “Wow” Query Letter (Andrea Cascardi): This session will demystify what makes an agent say “yes” to a query: hook, pitch, comps, and submission etiquette. (Auditorium)

 

Breakout Session D:

D1. I’ve Got the Power: How to Use Character Agency to Make Your Story Satisfying (Rachael Stein): Conflict is a vital component of any good children’s book, from picture books to young adult novels. But which characters actually make the decisions and take action to resolve that conflict? In this breakout, we’ll discuss character agency, why it’s important for your main character to have control over their story, and how a character’s actions and decisions make the story especially satisfying for readers. (A304)

 

Breakout Session E:

E2: Building a Kidlit Career (Melanie Conklin, Susan Muaddi Darraj, Linda Sue Park; moderated by Tracy C. Gold): It’s not just about one book – it’s about building a career. Authors at various stages of their career discuss how craft, promotion, and more have evolved. (Auditorium)

 

Sunday Intensives (Preregistration for a specific session required!)

A: Cash and Creativity: How Cleaning Up Your Finances Can Spark New Creative Success (Angele McQuade): Uncertainty or fear about money can smother your creativity in unexpected ways. In this three-hour workshop, financial author Angele McQuade will show you how to excavate the truth about your finances, tie up energy-draining financial loose ends, and organize and manage your money using simple, efficient routines. You’ll also learn the most critical things you should know about the financial side of publishing, as well as strategies for tying up creative loose ends, prioritizing your projects, dreaming big dreams, and crafting a plan to turn those dreams into reality. Be prepared to leave inspired to take action financially and creatively! (A302)

OR

B: Real Time Revision (Linda Sue Park): Linda Sue Park will introduce revision strategies, techniques, and tips for participants to practice in real time. The aim is to develop a critical eye for your work so you can become your own best editor. Bring at least ten pages of a work-in-progress on a laptop. (A few of the exercises can be done on paper, but the workshop is designed for laptop use.) (A303)

OR

C: Setting as Character (Susan Hawk): Learn how to make setting come alive and become an integral part of your story and your characters’ emotional journey. (A304)

OR

E: First Impressions School and Library Visit Workshop (Veronica Bartles, Matthew Winner, Cheryl Womack-Whye, Timothy Young): Take your school and library visits to the next level! Working authors and illustrators will demonstrate samples of their school and library visits and receive live feedback and tips from our distinguished panel: Author Veronica Bartles, teacher/author Cheryl Womack-Whye, school librarian/kidlit podcaster Matthew Winner, and author/illustrator Tim Young. You may choose to register to perform (space limited) or simply observe and ask questions of the panel. (Auditorium)

 

 

For Nonfiction Authors

Breakout Session A:

A3. How to Make Nonfiction Fun! (Chris Hernandez): In this nonfiction book survey, we’ll look at how publishers and authors are approaching nonfiction books in a fun, exciting, and interesting way to make their books stand out from the crowd. (A306)

 

Breakout Session B:

B1. Diversity in Children’s Literature: A Discussion of Representation vs Appropriation (Susan Muaddi Darraj): Lucille Clifton said, “The literature of America should reflect the children of America.” But does it? In 2043, the United States will be a majority-minority nation, experts predict. And yet, roughly 20% of children’s books featured people of color; an even smaller percentage of books were written and/or illustrated by people of color. We will discuss the importance of authentic representation and diversity in literature for children, as well as how to avoid the pitfalls of appropriation. (A304)

OR

B2. Finding an Agent (Susan Hawk): Agent Susan Hawk of Upstart Crow Literary takes you through the process from A to Z. (Auditorium)

OR

B3. Skip the Pitch (Work-for-Hire Writing Assignments) (Annette Whipple): Get published! If you enjoy writing about new topics, both fiction and nonfiction, consider writing for the educational market. Participants will learn about this market and how to approach publishers with a work-for-hire package. Get publishing experience with books and other resources for children (K-12) without the slush pile. (A306)

 

Breakout Session C:

C1. Published Authors and Illustrators Forum: Once your book is published, that’s just the beginning! Join us for an interactive session addressing the concerns of published authors and illustrators. All published attendees, traditionally published or indie, are invited to share best practices and learn from others (A304)

OR

C2.  How to Create a “Wow” Query Letter (Andrea Cascardi): This session will demystify what makes an agent say “yes” to a query: hook, pitch, comps, and submission etiquette. (Auditorium)

 

Breakout Session D:

D2: Real Talk: Nonfiction (Angele McQuade, Annette Whipple, Lakita Wilson; moderated by Kathy MacMillan): A panel of nonfiction writers discuss writing for small pressed versus large presses, writing nonfiction for different age groups, aspects of craft, and promoting nonfiction titles. (Auditorium)

 

Breakout Session E:

E1. Nonfiction Forum: An opportunity to network and share best practices with fellow nonfiction writers. All nonfiction creators at all stages of their careers are welcome. (A304)

 

Sunday Intensives (Preregistration for a specific session required!)

A: Cash and Creativity: How Cleaning Up Your Finances Can Spark New Creative Success (Angele McQuade): Uncertainty or fear about money can smother your creativity in unexpected ways. In this three-hour workshop, financial author Angele McQuade will show you how to excavate the truth about your finances, tie up energy-draining financial loose ends, and organize and manage your money using simple, efficient routines. You’ll also learn the most critical things you should know about the financial side of publishing, as well as strategies for tying up creative loose ends, prioritizing your projects, dreaming big dreams, and crafting a plan to turn those dreams into reality. Be prepared to leave inspired to take action financially and creatively! (A302)

OR

E: First Impressions School and Library Visit Workshop (Veronica Bartles, Matthew Winner, Cheryl Womack-Whye, Timothy Young): Take your school and library visits to the next level! Working authors and illustrators will demonstrate samples of their school and library visits and receive live feedback and tips from our distinguished panel: Author Veronica Bartles, teacher/author Cheryl Womack-Whye, school librarian/kidlit podcaster Matthew Winner, and author/illustrator Tim Young. You may choose to register to perform (space limited) or simply observe and ask questions of the panel. (Auditorium)

 

 

Full 2020 Conference Schedule

2020 Conference Faculty Bios

2020 Conference Registration

2020 Conference Critique Information