SCBWI

Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2019 Boot Camp Faculty

 

If you don’t know Fred Koehler (and even if you do), you might wonder how his success relates to your writing journey. Here’s what he had to say:

There are no two identical paths to success in publishing, but there are millions of common mistakes and missteps. I love to learn from others who are further along than I am, especially when they give me real world advice about what might work for me and how to avoid potential publishing disasters.

Who will benefit from attending this Boot Camp?

Writers, wanna-be writers, traditionally published writers, self-published writers, writers who have written one good page, writers who have written a million good pages. Illustrators, too. Doodlers, drawers, and dreamers. Just not optometrists. We won’t be learning about optometry.

What is one piece of advice you would give to picture book writers at any stage in their writing journey?

Make the time. Steal it. Buy it. Beg for it. The only way to get stronger is by practicing your craft for hours and hours and hours.

What should people bring to the Boot Camp to be ready for the day?

Large bags of money in medium denominations. Saltine crackers. And a red hula hoop. Wait, sorry, that was a different workshop. Bring a work in progress and an open mind. Add a sketchbook or a laptop or both. We’ll be spending a lot of time practicing our craft and sharing with the group. Can’t wait to meet you all!

To learn more about Fred, visit www.ilikefred.com

 

 

 

If you don’t know Loreen Leedy (and even if you do), you might wonder how her success relates to your writing journey. Here’s what she had to say:

Picture books are a combination of two wonderful things, words and art. My goal when I started (in 1984!) was to create the sort of books I would’ve liked to have read as a child. That’s still my goal, come to think of it.

Who will benefit from attending this Boot Camp?

In addition to the many resources available to creators these days, it is invaluable to meet other people who are involved in writing and illustrating for children. We can all learn from each other no matter where we are in our careers.

What is one piece of advice you would give to picture book writers at any stage in their writing journey?

Stay open to experimentation with your creative process because until you try something, you won’t know whether it will work for you.

What should people bring to the Boot Camp to be ready for the day?

  • Blank paper for taking notes and/or sketching
  • A picture book that you love

Plus any of the below (related to creating a picture book only):

  • A character sketch and/or description
  • An outline or storyboard for a fiction or nonfiction picture book
  • Art and/or writing samples
  • A manuscript and/or dummy in progress

To learn more about Loreen, visit www.LoreenLeedy.com

 

 

If you don’t know Rob (and even if you do), you might wonder how his success relates to your writing journey. Here’s what he had to say:

I didn’t start my picture book writing journey until 11 years ago—at the ripe, young age of 50. Two years into that journey I sold my first picture book to a major publishing company and six months later landed an agent. I’ve now sold 13 fiction and nonfiction picture books to publishing companies like Random House, Simon & Shuster, HarperCollins, Henry Holt, and Little Bee. If I can do it, so can you. Going to conferences and learning was my first step and it continues to be important to me as I travel on my journey. It doesn’t get easier. Each manuscript takes work, each sale takes a bit of luck, and each book has blood, sweat, and tears poured into it. But again, I will say—if I can do it, so can you! The keys to success in this business are continued learning, perseverance, hard work, a willingness to try new things, and the ability to not fear failure (or to not fear it too much).

Who will benefit from attending this Boot Camp?

I know we’ll have writers all the way from those who are brand-spanking new to SCBWI and to picture books all the way to published authors. I expect we’ll have lots of writers who are on the verge of being published. This Boot Camp is for everyone—including illustrators who want to hone their writing skills. I’ll start the day by asking each person to identify one question he/she/they want answered before the day is finished and to put into writing what he/she/they want to get out of the day. We’ll be intentional in what we’re doing, so the day becomes what the participants need it to be. The content is going to lead participants to look deeply at a piece of their own writing and to put into practice the principles I’m teaching. Some of the ideas will be things you may have heard before and other topics will provide new insights. Of course, any time you spend a day focused on your writing is a day that will be beneficial. One of my friends says, “Energy grows where attention goes,” so I urge folks to put attention on their writing every time they have a chance—including on this day of learning. Oh, did I mention that we’ll have a lot of fun, too?

What is one piece of advice you would give to picture book writers at any stage in their writing journey?

One piece of advice? Oh, I could never give just one piece of advice. Here are a few thoughts:

  • Read as many recently released picture books as possible
  • Join a critique group
  • Try writing all kinds of picture books
  • Be prepared to reinvent yourself over and over
  • Take your work seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously
  • Attend every conference you can and pay for critiques when you attend
  • Spend your time writing—not writing about writing or reading about writing—but writing!

What should people bring to the Boot Camp to be ready for the day?

My Granny Raney always said, “Perfect preparation precedes perfect performance,” so I’m glad you’re thinking ahead. In that spirit, bring:

  • One or two of your picture book manuscripts (hardcopy works best for me, but you’re welcome to bring your computer and work electronically)
  • Note-taking supplies (pen/pencil and paper, laptop, or whatever works for you)
  • A burning question you need answered (or two or three!)
  • A sense of adventure
  • A willingness to learn, grow, write, and revise!

To learn more about Rob, visit www.robsanderswrites.com.

 

 

If you don’t know Lorin Oberweger (and even if you do), you might wonder how her success relates to your writing journey. Here’s what she had to say:

Well, I’ve been an author/editor/writing instructor for a couple of decades now, so I hope I’ve picked up some useful nuggets along the way! Seriously, I’d say that having experienced publishing from so many angles, I know what it’s like at just about every step of the journey. I’ve had an awful lot of time to think about craft, study the market (and more importantly, study reader psychology), and stay nimble enough to keep plugging along at this life. I love nothing better than to pass on all that I’ve learned to others.

Who will benefit from attending this Boot Camp?

 Any writer or middle-grade or young adult fiction, looking to level up their writing skills and break in—or break out—as a published author.

What is one piece of advice you would give to writers at any stage in their writing journey?

Try to maintain a spirit of humility and curiosity, no matter where you are in the writing journey. Success (as you define it) will be far more likely if you do. Remember that your book is a gift to the reader. Think about what they need from you, every step along the way of your character’s journey. Lastly, persist. Just when you think you’ll never get where you want to go, you may have a craft-changing revelation or growth spurt.

 What should people bring to the Boot Camp to be ready for the day?

 Laptop and/or notebook for writing, along with their works-in-progress and a spirit of exploration!

To learn more about Lorin, visit www.free-expressions.com/about-lorin 

 

 

If you don’t know Ethan Long (and even if you do), you might wonder how his success relates to your writing journey. Here’s what he had to say:

My success relates to anyone because I am just a kid from PA who got C’s in high school and wasn’t sure about how he I was going to get ahead in the world.  It also relates because everyone needs other people to find success. People need people so people need me and I need people.

Who will benefit from attending this Boot Camp?

Writers and artists who are in need of a simple plan and motivation to get published and stay published.

What is one piece of advice you would give to picture book writers at any stage in their writing journey?

Keep going!

What should people bring to the Boot Camp to be ready for the day?

Their minds, paper, and writing/drawing utensils.

To learn more about Ethan, visit EthanLong.com

 

 

If you don’t know Sarah McGuire (and even if you do), you might wonder how her success relates to your writing journey. Here’s what she had to say:

When you go hiking on narrow trails, the person in front calls out what they encounter: “Mud . . . hole . . . low branch . . . bear . . .” you get the idea. (I think bear might involve screaming.) You’re letting the person right behind you know something as soon as you figure it out so they’re prepared. In this Boot Camp, I’m the person two steps ahead of you with muddy boots telling you that probably don’t want to step there, and that if you look right now, you might be able to see this amazing view. I can share what’s worked for me so that perhaps your book writing hike is a little smoother.

Who will benefit from attending this Boot Camp?

We’ll have a blend of strategies, from plotting to revising, that should help you no matter where you are in your writing journey. We’ll cover picture books to novels!

What is one piece of advice you would give to writers at any stage in their writing journey?

Keep going! Don’t lose your sense of wonder and playfulness.

What should people bring to the Boot Camp to be ready for the day?

Bring something you want to work on! Bring an idea you want to develop, some chapters you want to improve, a character you want to deepen. Most of all, bring a sense of adventure. This will be the time to write and revise with abandon.

To learn more about Sarah, visit sarahmcguirebooks.com

 

 

If you don’t know Janice Hardy (and even if you do), you might wonder how her success relates to your writing journey. Here’s what she had to say:

My journey was the same as most writers out there trying to get published. I was a self-taught writer with a slush pile query, but I put in the work and honed my craft enough to land a terrific agent and a three-book, six-figure deal with a Top 5 Publisher. I understand how hard it is and what writers are going through. Whatever they’re struggling with, there’s a good chance I either struggled with it myself and can help them get through it.

Who will benefit from attending this Boot Camp?

Writers who want to push their writing up a level or two, no matter if they’re a beginner or a pro. The Boot Camp focuses on ways to deepen a novel and bring out what’s best about it. It’ll help you better connect to your readers and give them more reasons and ways to love your story. This workshop is useful for both writers with just an idea or those with a draft they want to improve.

What is one piece of advice you would give to novelists  at any stage in their writing journey?

Serve the story and the rest will work itself out. It’s easy to get hung up on the rules and technical aspects of writing and forget that readers pick up a book for the story.

What should people bring to the Boot Camp to be ready for the day?

Something to write on (laptops or paper), a story idea, and their imaginations. It’s very exercise heavy, and they’ll be doing a lot of thinking and braining about their novel.

To learn more about Janice, visit www.Fiction-University.com

 

If you don’t know Gladys Jose (and even if you do), you might wonder how her success relates to your writing journey. Here’s what she had to say:

I graduated with a BFA specializing in graphic design in 2012. I did work for hire for many years and attended workshops and conferences until I met an agent who mentored me for more than a year. Not long after, I was hired to illustrate the Fresh Princess books, inspired by Will Smith and written by Denene Millner. The first Fresh Princess book came out in 2019. In 2020 The Elephants’ Hide-and-Seek Handbook will be out from Sourcebooks, along with several other books I’ve illustrated. You can do it too by strengthening your skills, working hard, and networking.

Who will benefit from attending this Boot Camp?

Anyone (author/illustrator) that would like to learn and get advice about how to turn this into a long-term career.

What is one piece of advice you would give to picture book writers at any stage in their writing journey?

To keep going, and even when you “make it” still keep going. 

What should people bring to the Boot Camp to be ready for the day?

Paper, sketchbook, anything to take notes a write ideas down.

To learn more about Gladys, visit Gladysjose.com