Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Breakout Sessions

Sara Sargent

Keynote Talk: “When the Going Gets Tough—Get Creative”

Breakout Sessions: Live Line Editing: Go inside the brain of an editor in this live line editing session. Executive Editor Sara Sargent will project different participants’ first pages up on a screen and will edit them live. See how an editor—and reader!—responds to different types of work, and how an editor goes about working to improve a book. This will give you unparalleled insight into how the editorial process and

and Not Your Grandmother’s Poetry: Not Your Grandmother’s Poetry: Poetry has gone through a lot of changes over the years, and the category of young adult poetry is now cooler and more popular than ever. In this breakout, learn how you can make your poetry feel modern and compelling to today’s teenage readership. Executive Editor Sara Sargent will go in depth on themes, structure, and more.

Patricia Nelson

Breakout Sessions: Capturing the YA and MG Voice

Agents and editors often say that they’re looking to “fall in love with the voice” when they’re considering a project. But what does that even mean? What is voice, and how can you make yours stronger? In this session we will focus specifically on honing a voice that jumps off the page for the competitive young adult and middle grade markets, and.

Rookie Submission Mistakes (and how to avoid them) Learn about common pitfalls of queries and first chapters, along with a crash course in best practices for catching an agent’s eye.

Patrick Collins

Breakout Session: Two-hour hands-on workshop–Illustrating Chapter Books. A hands on session creating chapter book illustrations. Each participant will create black and white illustrations for a set text and layout which will be provided. We will discuss chapter book and middle-grade illustration and review samples of different approaches. Please bring: paper, tracing paper, and drawing materials (optional: scissors and magic tape—Scotch)


Caroline Starr Rose

Keynote Talk: Line by Line: Approaching Our Work with Endurance, Patience, Commitment, and Passion

Breakout Session: A Writer’s Manifesto: Who You Are, What You Value, and Why It Matters:

There’s plenty of advice out there for authors who want to set writing and career goals, but virtually nothing for those who want to thoughtfully plan how to live in the midst of the inevitable changes publication can bring. In this session, participants will explore the reasons they write, will create their own sustainable definition of success, will examine how they respond to public feedback, comparison, and envy, and will begin their own Writer’s Manifestos to both guide and encourage their future work.


Chris Eboch and Shirley Duke

Nonfiction and Education Market Writing:  Writing for the trade market or education market, nonfiction requires writing that differs from fiction. Find out how to identify the kind of trade nonfiction you want to write and how it is different from the education market. We’ll explain how to get started and how to extend your nonfiction writing into books.