Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators


Note: We reserve the right to change or cancel any event or activity without notice.


 Friday, September 21
Friday Bookstore hours: Friday, Sept. 21—3:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
The conference bookstore will be located near Morehouse Hall in Bauer Lodge. Stock up early before they run out of the title(s) you hope to get signed!
1:00-3:30 p.m.     Pre-Conference Afternoon Intensive
The Reality of Money: Tax Tips for Writers with Jeff Verkuilen, CPA (*ticket req.)
3:00-5:00 p.m.  

Registration, Mingle, & Info Fair
Pick up conference materials, meet your SCBWI volunteers & learn more

4:00-5:00 p.m.   First Time Attendee Orientation with Kris Wrucke
5:00-6:00 p.m.   Dinner for volunteers, faculty, and intensive participants (*ticket req.)
Official Conference
6:00 p.m.   Conference welcome and important announcements, Bauer Lodge
6:30-7:15 p.m.   Keynote—Meg Medina
Writing All Ages: A Look Inside Merci Suarez Changes Gears
Meg will talk about writing across all the age groups as it applies to her work. The focus will be Merci Suarez Changes Gears, her new middle grade novel, created after a 10-year break from the form.
7:15-8:00 p.m.   Keynote—Salina Yoon
Life Tips on Success and Publishing
Salina shares her life tips that she calls, “Targeted success.” It’s not about being the best—it’s about not giving up. This requires perseverance, dedication, and mad survival skills that may mean breaking some conventional rules. How you set goals can make a difference between setting yourself up for failure or building a foundation for success. Salina shares how she built that foundation for publishing, and the kinds of goals she set to becoming one of the most published female author/illustrators in the industry.
8:30-11:00 p.m.   Kraft Dining Hall
Come As You ArePJ Party Social
No need to prep! Come in your (appropriate) pajamas if you want. You’re welcome to just be you, in a relaxing atmosphere, to mingle, dance, drink, and socialize.
 Saturday, September 22
7:30-8:30 a.m.     Hot buffet breakfast included for all attendees
8:30 a.m.     Conference Bookstore Opens
Conference Bookstore will be open from 8:30 a.m. — 8:30 p.m.
8:30-8:45 a.m.  

Morning Announcements

8:45-9:45 a.m.   Keynote—Katrina Damkoehler
(Almost) Wordless Picture Books
A behind-the-scenes look at the role an illustrator plays in developing the storyline of almost wordless picture books.
9:45-10:00 a.m.  


10:00-11:00 a.m.   Keynote—Sean McCarthy

When Reality Bites: Best Practices For Revising Your Work
This presentation will discuss ways to determine when your manuscript is ready for revision, different revision approaches and techniques (from tearing it all down to the bones to hand-polishing for submission) and when to use them, and tips for using feedback to guide your revision. This is the true story of what happens when authors stop being polite, and start getting real about their manuscripts.
11:00-12:00 p.m.  

Critiques and portfolio reviews (*scheduled appt. required)

11:00-12:00 p.m.  


Choice A: Sara Aronson
Storyboarding for Novel Writers
Storyboarding can help the novelist at every step of the writing process. It can help you discover new ideas for scenes, when and why chapters and threads are or aren’t working, as well as revision possibilities. In this workshop, Sarah Aronson will roll out the paper! She will offer an introduction to storyboarding and time and guidance so you can get started using this tool to take the next step with your WIP. Drawing skills NOT required! See your novel in a whole new way!

Choice B: Lori Degman

What’s So Funny?!
When asked what types of picture book manuscripts they’d love to see, editors very often put “humorous” on their lists – yet many authors shy away from writing humor. In this presentation, we will use mentor texts to examine what it is that makes picture books funny (e.g., word play, timing, the unexpected, slapstick, inside jokes, and contradictory text/illustration). Attendees will learn methods for writing humorous stories that will appeal to both children and adults.

12:00-1:00 p.m.  

Buffet lunch included for all attendees

1:15-2:15 p.m.   Keynote—Emma Ledbetter

Fun Facts: Crafting Truthful Fiction and Nonfiction for Picture Book Readers
In this session with editor Emma Ledbetter, we’ll take a look at what makes picture books truthful, genuine and engaging: from nonfiction that is fun, fresh, and appropriate to fiction that is authentic and honest. We’ll cover elements like tone and writing style, research, focus, and framework—and we’ll have some story time, too!
2:15-2:30 p.m.  


2:15-5:00 p.m.  

Critiques and portfolio reviews

2:30-3:30 p.m.  


Choice A: Salina Yoon
A New Approach to Writing Stories
Salina will share her own unique process in writing and illustrating picture books that frees you from conventional ways of story creation through a cut-and-paste drafting style that does not require drawing skills. We will also explore story visualization and the common story structure, but in a memorable way designed to broaden the way we feel stories.

Choice B: Moderated Panel Discussion
Moderator: Michelle Houts. Panelists: Joanna Hinsey, E.M. Kokie, Carmela Martino, Deanna Singh, Stef Wade

The Truth of Creating: Rejections, Waiting, Perseverance and Inner Critics
Hear from six published authors about the path to publication, bumps in the road, and tips for success—especially when writing about personal themes or subject matter. Bring your burning questions!

3:30-3:45 p.m.  


3:45-4:45 p.m.  


Choice A: Genevieve Artel
Come to the Page as You Are … Wired
Living a creative life can be challenging. Not because of the work itself, but because of the way we often believe an artist should think, behave, and produce. The truth is, every individual is uniquely wired with cognitive preferences, flow states, and strengths. Many of the frustrations we experience on our journey is the result of a perceived set of practices that go against our intrinsic nature. But armed with the knowledge on how different minds work, we can transform our understanding of the creative life. Learn about the wiring of the mind as it relates to neuroscience and personality-typology. Discover how different people experience inspiration, motivation, and productivity. Honor individual truth as it relates to artistic reality.

Choice B: Moderated Panel Discussion
Moderator: Tara Gilboy. Panelists: JoAnn Early Macken, Jane Kelley, Michael Leannah, Deb Monthei Manske, Baptiste Paul

Twisting Truth into Fiction
Should you write what you know? How close to “the truth” should your story be? Hear how these six authors took inspiration from real people, places, or current events and crafted fiction and/or nonfiction for children out of those real-life nuggets of experience and inspiration.

4:45-5:00 p.m.  


5:00-6:00 p.m.  

Buffet dinner included for all attendees (Kraft Dining Center)

6:00-6:30 p.m.  

Evening Announcements, prizes, awards

6:30-7:30 p.m.   Keynote—PHOEBE YEH
The Great American Children’s Novel, ages 8+
7:45-8:30 p.m.  

Book signing Autograph Party

8:30-10:00 p.m.  

Portfolio Showcase & Art Contest with Social Gathering

10:00-11:00 p.m.  

Open Mic/Karaoke (Kraft Dining Hall)

 Sunday, September 22
7:30-8:30 a.m.  

Breakfast included for all attendees (Kraft Dining Hall)

8:30-9:00 a.m.  

Extra time to check out of rooms after breakfast

9:00-9:15 a.m.  

Morning Announcements & Art and Manuscript Awards Announced

9:15-10:15 a.m.   National Faculty Q&A panel
When Reality Bites:Best Practices For Revising Your Work
Hear from all of our faculty editors, agents, and national keynote authors one more time! Moderated by your SCBWI-Wisconsin co-regional advisors, this panel will focus mainly on audience-generated questions for the panelists. Don’t forget to submit your question that morning to hear what the faculty has to say in response.
10:15-10:30 a.m.  


10:30-11:15 a.m.   Keynote—Tim McCanna
Level Up: Gaining Strength for Survival in the Kid Lit Universe
The children’s book industry is serious business, peppered with obstacles and potential setbacks. You can’t—and really shouldn’t—jump straight to the height of success. By the time you’re published you’ll need all the experience, strength and skills you gained by hacking your way through the early stages of a career in children’s publishing. And once you sign that first contract, a whole new array of challenges will face you. In this frank and open discussion, Tim pinpoints some essential achievements aspiring creatives need to unlock before they can “level up” and proceed to tougher challenges. These skill and knowledge upgrades will ultimately lead to a strong personal foundation and professional approach to your pre- and post-publishing goals.
11:15-11:45 a.m.  

Raffles, closing announcements. Conference officially ends at noon.


Note: We reserve the right to change or cancel any event or activity without notice.