Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2020 Regional Conference: Picture Book Intensive Agenda

With Sherri Duskey Rinker, Minju Chang, and Kristen Nobles


9:00-9:15 AM: Introductions


9:15-10:30 AM: Sherri Duskey Rinker – Dinosaurs and Dragons, Unicorns and Princesses, Trains and Trucks
Even though “It’s been done,” doesn’t mean that you can’t do it DIFFERENTLY and do it well. We’ll look at some old standbys and recent newcomers on some traditional, “favorite” subjects and discuss what makes them unique, attractive, and marketable — and how there’s always an exception to, “We just don’t need another book about X.”


10:30-10:45 AM: Break


10:45-Noon: Minju Chang – To the Market We Go

Your manuscript has been critiqued, revised and refined. Is it ready to go to market? We’ll review the finer points of positioning your picture book–concept, categories, age & grade levels, and promotional hooks. Attendees should bring their elevator pitches for works in progress and be prepared to do a little online research.


Noon-1 PM: Lunch


1:00-1:45 PM: First Page Critiques*


1:45-2:00 PM: Break


2:00-3:15 PM: Kristen Nobles – Picture Book Manuscripts: A Checklist 

Successful picture books have many key elements in common. We’ll consider a few popular books, breaking them down into the essentials, and together we’ll create a checklist of what makes them successful. This process highlights the way we evaluate submissions and how we structure revision requests. (Handouts included.) If time allows, a Page Street Kids manuscript in development will be shared, showing how the revision conversation evolved, based on the checklist elements.


3:15-3:45 PM: Writing Exercise

Manuscript evaluation: Apply Kristen’s checklist to your own manuscripts, highlighting areas for improvement. Discussion will focus on one or two samples. Bring a WIP to evaluate and possibly share. 


3:45-4:00 PM: Q&A

*Bring the first page of your manuscript (with no name) for possible First Page Critique. You may start your manuscript at the top of the page. Please use 12-pt. Times New Roman and double space with one-inch margins.