Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2018 Boot Camps


Boot Camps to be held on Saturday, Sept. 29, from 10-4 PM

Fee: $75 for members, $100 for nonmembers




TAMPA:  10-4 PM

(The venue has its own cafe and will have breakfast, coffee, pastries, etc. available for purchase when you arrive. You will have the opportunity to pre-order your lunch at the beginning of the Boot Camp. Please bring $10.00 cash for lunch. The venue uses its proceeds to help Tampa’s homeless. FREE parking at meters along the street on weekends.)

The Portico

1001 N Florida Ave.

Tampa, FL 33602

Presenter: Rob Sanders

Picture Books: The Next Level

In this Boot Camp, you’ll help build the agenda for the day. In addition to addressing the questions and issues of participants, Rob will share practical tips that have helped him sell twelve picture books to major publishers in the last eight years, introduce you to the wide array of possibilities for picture books, help you determine if there’s a better structure for your story, and share seven ways to impact the quality of your writing so your picture book story can become a picture book manuscript that will stand out in the crowd. We’ll be workshopping manuscripts during this session—so bring one or more completed picture book manuscripts and be prepared for hands-on writing and revision opportunities. You’ll need: Your manuscripts, a laptop (or other favorite writing supplies), and an adventurous spirit. Rob’s books will be available for sale at the event.

Who should attend: The content of this Boot Camp is meant to be challenging to participants and to take their writing to the next level. But Rob will make the content accessible to everyone—from those just beginning their picture book writing journeys, to those who are already published, and everyone in between.

Rob Sanders is a teacher who writes and a writer who teaches. He publishes both fiction and nonfiction picture books with some of the top publishers in the industry, coaches and critiques fellow writers, and organizes SCBWI Florida free meetings in the Tampa Bay area.

If you need help with directions on the day of the event, call Rob at (813) 309-3332 or Candy at (727) 483-0095.



Ocean Landings Resort

Meeting & Party Room

900 N. Atlantic Avenue

Cocoa Beach, FL 32931

(800) 323-8413

(If anyone would like to stay overnight at the hotel, there is a special rate for Boot Camp attendees. Call the hotel to get the special pricing.)

Presenter: Lorin Oberweger

Breaking Through and Breaking Out:

Take your writing from “almost there” to ALL THE WAY.

This workshop is for the solid mid-list author, the “I liked this so much but didn’t LOVE it” writer, and/or the ones who have worked and worked and feel THIS close to success. In this workshop, we’ll dig into techniques of voice, characterization, concept and more to help you take your writing—and your career—to new heights.

Please bring your manuscript, a laptop or notepad (or both) and your willingness to go deep and work hard. See you there!

Lorin Oberweger is a sought-after independent book editor, ghost writer, and literary agent with Adams Literary. Her company, Free Expressions, runs writing craft workshops nationwide. She’s also the co-author of three novels, Boomerang, Rebound, and Bounce, published by HarperCollins.



Seminole County Sheriff’s Office-East Region

1225 East Broadway St.

Oviedo, FL 32765

Presenter: Sarah Nicolas

Promote Yourself as an Author–Before and After Publication:

To succeed as an author, you’re going to need to constantly promote yourself throughout your career. It’s never too early or too late to start. Author and book publicist Sarah Nicolas will discuss things you can do at any stage to promote yourself, including social media for authors and both online and offline networking opportunities. Sarah, who also writes as Aria Kane, will discuss reasons for using a pen name and how to choose a pen name that works for you. She’ll then discuss how to craft both elevator pitches and longer pitches, like back cover copy and query letters. Also, learn every item an author needs in their modern press kit.

Sarah Nicolas is a recovering mechanical engineer, library event planner, and author who lives in Orlando with a 60-lb mutt who thinks he’s a chihuahua. She’s the author of Keeping Her Secret and Dragons are People, Too.



The Classroom at South Regional BC Library

South Regional/Broward College Library

7300 Pines Boulevard

Pembroke Pines, FL 33024

(954) 201-8849

Presenter: Lynne Marie

Have a promising Picture Book manuscript and need a kick in the pants to bring it from rough to ready and headed down the path to success?

Then this BOOTCAMP is just the TRAINING you need for PB FITNESS. This program is designed to BUILD STRENGTH in your manuscript through INTENSE personal EXERCISE and re-visioning over the course of our day.

You will begin your BOOT CAMP TRAINING as soon as you register.

  1. Choose a Manuscript that needs this FITNESS program. Bring it as far as you can on your own and/or with the help of your critique group.
  2. Find five (5) Comp Titles for this project, published within the last 3 years. Order these books into the Library or purchase them so that you may bring them with you for a focused EXERCISE.
  3. Write a pitch for your story of no more than three lines.
  4. Bring two copies of your manuscripts, a folder with paper, scissors, tape and post-it notes and pencils. We are going to actually make Picture Book Dummies of your story to share.


Must have a completed Picture Book Manuscript and be willing to do Boot Camp preparation to get the maximum benefit of this camp. Supplies are mandatory in order to facilitate the exercises.

Lynne Marie is the author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten (Scholastic), Hedgehog’s 100th Day of School (Scholastic), The Star in the Christmas Play (Beaming Books), Let’s Eat Around the World (Beaming Books), and Moldilocks and the 3 Scares (Sterling), plus more forthcoming.


DAVIE: 10-4 PM

Broward College

Building 9, Room 227 (on the second floor)

3501 Davie Road

Davie, FL 33314

Click HERE for campus map.

(Parking restrictions are not enforced on Saturdays. The parking garage and parking lots P and H are closest to building 9. If lost, text or call  (305) 695 9619. Bring your own lunch or purchase lunch at the Dunkin’ Donuts on campus or a nearby restaurant.)

Presenters: Joyce Sweeney and Marjetta Geerling

Can We Talk About Dialogue?

Dialogue is the driving force in fiction, helping us understand characters, perceive conflict and sense the pace of a story.  This is what we tune in for, to hear what people are saying.  But there are so many pitfalls to writing dialogue that is true to life and yet entertaining and well-paced.  Marjetta Geerling and Joyce Sweeney are dialog lovers who can’t wait to break it down for you. We have ideas and exercises to get your characters talking in a way that will pull readers deep into your story. This workshop is for Middle Grade and Young Adult writers only.

Joyce Sweeney is the author of fourteen young adult novels and two books of poetry.  She teaches online classes at and has mentored 59 students to traditional publication.  She is currently working on a historical fantasy novel and is represented by Nicole Resciniti of the Seymour agency.

Marjetta Geerling is the author of the young adult novel Fancy White Trash  (Viking, 2008), an American Library Association’s 2009 Best Books for Young Adults and Rainbow List selection. She holds an M.F.A. in Writing from Spalding University and is an Asst. Professor of English at Broward College. Marjetta is represented by Nicole Resciniti at The Seymour Agency.



Saint Leo University 

Gainesville Education Center

Magnolia Parke

4650-B NW 39th Place

Gainesville, FL 32606

Presenter: Margaret Mincks

Character Architecture: Building Your Characters from the Ground Up:

The basis for any good character is a solid foundation, so break out your hard hats and drawing boards (don’t worry, a laptop or old-school notebook will do) and delve into the art and design of character development. In this workshop, Margaret will continue to annoyingly extend metaphors and share strategies for building solid, interesting characters that come alive on the page, enliven your plot, push the action, and define your character’s core conflicts. Bring either your work/characters-in-progress or simply your imagination and willingness to create exciting characters from scratch!

Margaret Mincks is the author of Payback on Poplar Lane, her debut middle-grade novel. She’s also the former editor of Spider, a literary magazine for 6- to 9-year olds.



Ringling College of Art + Design

Goldstein Library

Room 113

2700 Bradenton Road

Sarasota, FL 34234

Presenters: Katherine Blackmore and Linda Shute 

Creative Composition – A Day of Craft for Illustrators:

Good design should always precede technique. Build emotion, legibility, and interest into your pictures using design elements of mass, scale, focal points, and more.

Come with your sketchbook and other materials to work out your visual ideas. Include soft graphite pencil and colored pencils or small watercolor set. Registrants please email Linda for updates on supplies and agenda.

If you get lost on the way to the venue, please contact Linda at (941) 716-0019.

Katherine Blackmore is an illustrator represented by KidShannon Agency, and former animation instructor at Full Sail University.

Linda Shute is an author/illustrator, former instructor at Ringling College of Art + Design, and your SCBWI-FL Illustrator Coordinator