Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2022 Fall Conference Schedule



Virtual Fall Conference Events (included with in-person conference tuition). Can’t attend live? All virtual events will be recorded and available for 30 days.



Monday 10/17, 7-8:30 pm EST

Agent Q&A with Jazmia Young (Curtis Brown)





Tuesday 10/18, 7-8:30 pm EST

Editor Q&A with Clarissa Wong (Scholastic)




Wednesday 10/19, 7-8:30 pm EST 

Author Erin Dionne – Themes, Threads, & the Core 

What ideas/concepts are at the heart of your story? What is it really about? In this workshop, we will discuss the Big Ideas lurking in your manuscript, beyond plot or character, and work with reinforcing them. We’ll uncover running themes and ideas, and get at the center of your story–the thing that makes your book unique. This is more than a simple look at plot and character development, it’s a sophisticated exploration of the deeper themes in your book. Through discussion and exercises, participants will leave with concrete ways to make your book stronger and more resonant.



In-Person Fall Conference Events


Friday, October 21 (Free Pre-Conference Events and Socials)


Art by Tyler Charlton

Art by Tyler Charlton

5-7pm: Peer Critique Event hosted by SCBWI Mid Atlantic Critique Group Coordinator, Terry Jennings


6-7pm: Roundtables (PAL, E&I, Illustrators, Query Trenches)


7-8pm: PAL Social (open to PAL members)


8-10pm: Trivia Night Social A chance to make friends, play a few games, and meet some of our faculty before Saturday!




Saturday, October 22


8:00 am New Member and First-Timer Welcome


8:30 am Welcome/Introductions


8:45 am A Conversation with Author Pamela N. Harris and Editor Karen Chaplin (Quill Tree Books)


9:45 am Agent Panel: Sera Rivers (Martin Literary & Media Management), Kristin Ostby (Greenhouse Literary), Eric Smith (P.S. Literary Agency)


10:45 am Morning Breakout Sessions:

  • Navigating the Query and Submission Process with Julie Scheina
  • A Beginner’s Guide to World Kid Lit Domination (for Illustrators) with Alex Gehringer (Bright Agency)


11:45 am Lunch Break plus Illustrators’ Networking Lunch with Alex Gehringer


1:15 pm Jeff Zentner, Keynote Address


 2:30 pm Afternoon Breakout Sessions:

    • Picture Books: From Inspiration to Publication with Sue Fliess, Ann Marie Stephens, Chiêu Anh Urban
    • How to Successfully Self-Publish with Joyana Peters
    • All About Author Platforms and Social Media with Sylvia Liu
    • Crafting Your Novel: Secrets to Success with Kate Albus, Meera Trehan, Joy Jones


3:30 pm  Editor Panel: Trisha de Guzman (FSG), Irene Vázquez (Levine Querido), and Karen Chaplin (Quill Tree Books)



Sunday, October 23

Post-conference Intensives: intensives are small-group classes that encourage attendee participation and focus on the craft of writing. **Extra fee required (Members, $70. Non-members, $95)


Morning Sessions 9 am-12 pm:

Kristin Ostby: Giving Voice

Voice: It’s what makes a reader connect with a piece of writing from the very first sentence, regardless of your characters and plot—and it’s how your personality, or that of your narrator, comes through on the page. This intensive will include a talk, exercises, and discussions centered around the sometimes elusive quality that differentiates a good story from a great one. From identifying your individual writing voice and how you’d describe it, to working to hone your voice and thereby make your writing stand out from the pack, this intensive will give you a better understanding of a writing characteristic agents and editors are always seeking to find. Please bring a printed chapter of a work in progress that you think best demonstrates your voice—ideally a first chapter, but not necessarily.


Sera Rivers: Storyboarding Your Picture Book 

Learn how storyboarding your picture book will help strengthen your manuscript to get it submission ready. For this intensive, bring one picture book draft and a pencil (paper will be provided) to learn techniques for pacing, plot, and marrying text with illustration.




Jeff Zentner: Advanced Workshop: Crafting Dialogue and Making Choices to Find Your Story’s Voice

In this two-part intensive, award-winning author Jeff Zentner will first discuss how to give your characters a voice through dialogue by writing dialogue that crackles with wit and energy and has the ring of truth that makes characters leap from the page into readers’ hearts. He’ll lead you through a dialogue exercise designed to sharpen your understanding of the principles he teaches.

In the second part, he’ll discuss how to write with voice, and offer you a mode of thinking about voice that will help you make the series of choices that ultimately lead to your story having a voice that’s its own. He’ll lead you through an exercise designed to put into practice this mode of thinking. 



Afternoon Sessions 2-5 pm

Sera Rivers: Creating a Phantom Last Page 

Imagine your novel’s potential destiny to discover its true journey. In this intensive, we’ll explore different exercises to discover a placeholder (phantom) ending that will help move your novel (or graphic novel storyline) from beginning to end.




Sue Fliess and Ann Marie Stephens: Jumpstart Your Story’s Potential: creating sequels, series, and companion books

So you think you’ve written a stand-alone story? Dig deeper! In this hands-on workshop, authors Sue Fliess and Ann Marie Stephens, both authors of multiple picture book series, will help you discover the possibilities of your story becoming a series and brainstorm ideas for companion books, prequels and sequels. Fliess and Stephens will discuss their own sets of series and how they turned one book into many. The authors will guide a group brainstorming session for each participant’s work, facilitate a list-making exercise, and provide a hand-out of mentor texts to review as well.


Linda Budzinski: Creating Captivating Scenes

The building blocks of fiction are scenes, and this interactive workshop will share how to write scenes so vivid, your readers will picture them as though they’re playing out on the big screen. Discover how to incorporate—and ensure a proper balance—of the four essential elements of the scene: Action, Dialogue, Internal Dialogue, Description. Please bring a scene of 400-600 words from your current work in progress to the workshop.


Zara González Hoang: Cultivating a Daily Sketch Habit that Sticks (for Illustrators)

Do you have a daily sketchbook practice? Have you tried to cultivate one and failed miserably? In this presentation, I will give a peek into how I use sketchbooks and share how, after failing over and over to keep a daily sketch journal, I finally managed to cultivate the habit by ignoring all my preconceptions of what a sketchbook was supposed to be and finding the way MY sketchbook was supposed to be. I’ll share tips and tricks to start you on your way to your own daily practice, show examples of different ways people use sketchbooks and share how my own sketch journals have evolved into an important part of my picture book writing and illustrating practice. 



Registration opens on Sept. 1!