Novel Roundtable

Capped at just 16 participants, each attendee gets ten minutes for a few pages of the novel to be read aloud and receive direct feedback. You can choose which section of your work you would like to feature.

Picture Book Roundtable

Capped at just 16 participants, each attendee gets ten minutes for your picture book to be read and receive direct feedback from an agent. The opportunity to hear suggestions on not only your work but a variety of others is invaluable. For this session, picture books manuscripts should be no more than 1000 words.

Advanced Publishing Law/Publishing Law 102 (For PAL and Self-Pubbing Authors)

This intensive, presented by literary agent Jacqui Lipton, will dive into publishing law in greater detail than the Publishing Law 101 breakout session and will consider legal aspects of the decision to publish with a traditional publisher versus self-pubbing (or engaging in a hybrid career). We will look at the legalities of author-based promotional and marketing activities including using copyrighted material on websites, book trailers, social media platforms etc, as well as some of the more complicated terms in traditional publishing contracts, and terms you might encounter on self-publishing platforms like Amazon and Audible.

Building a Lovable and Believable Character Readers will Fall in Love with

As visual storytellers, we must create characters full of life so that readers can fall in love with them, remember them, and root for them. After a short presentation showcasing various examples of great character-building, everyone will actively participate in multiple hands-on exercises to create characters with clear personalities. Participants are welcome to bring the characters they created in advance and develop further from there or create something entirely new. Our goal is to deeply understand the characters we create and to build a full life for them. By doing so, readers can imagine these characters living their lives even when they close the books.

Analyzing and Writing Picture Books

Join Agent Kaitlyn Sanchez who has sold over 30 picture books in her 4 years of agenting in a picture book intensive. We will start by reviewing picture books and how they work, then talk about picture book writing basics and how to apply what we’ve discussed to our own picture book writing. We’ll also discuss other tips and tricks to writing picture books, and if there’s time, participants will some of their share work and get feedback on it.

$100K is Doable!

You will learn how to bring a book to market in ways that reach the right reader. Topics include setting up a publishing company (legal, accounting), building a team (copyeditor, illustrator, audiobook narrator, and book designer), choosing among printing (offset v POD, ebooks) and distribution options, submitting for reviews and awards, and having fun while raking in profits.

What I Learned from Nancy Drew—Tools for Fast-Paced Plotting

Nancy Drew’s adventures have captivated girls across generations. “Grab you by the throat” openings pull readers into the story. Cliffhanger chapter endings ensure late-night reading under the covers. Action-packed plots keep readers coming back for more. A ghostwriter shares what she learned while writing about the famous sleuth—and shows how you can use these techniques to make any story or book better, from narrative nonfiction to genre novels.

Learn how to pack the plot full by complicating your complications. Set up high stakes and make the most of them. Control your pacing through sentence and paragraph length. Now learn how you can use these techniques to make any story or book better.

Picture Book Roundtable 23

Capped at just 16 participants, each attendee gets ten minutes for your picture book to be read and receive direct feedback from an agent. The opportunity to hear suggestions on not only your work but a variety of others is invaluable. For this session, picture books manuscripts should be no more than 1000 words.

Novel Roundtable 23

Capped at just 16 participants, each attendee gets ten minutes for a few pages of the novel to be read aloud and receive direct feedback. You can choose which section of your work you would like to feature.

How to Create an Award Winning Portfolio

Award Winning Illustrators Heather Brockman Lee and Anden Wilder will teach you how to take your portfolio to the next level. Learn about experimenting with media and style, finding your voice, deciding what pieces to use in your portfolio and in what order, how to receive and implement critiques, and create narrative illustrations that will help your work get noticed!

Attendees will participate in critiques with each other and use exercises and experiments to help refine their style. Please bring traditional and/or digital to media to work with. Beginner through advanced.

An Analytical Approach to Querying

My agent has used my query letter in presentations as an example of what to do. I queried forty agents and got positive replies from twenty-nine (negative from eleven) and seven offers of representation within two weeks before I shut it off and let everyone know I made a selection. Many were cold queries, some were from a pitch contest. Yes, the market has changed since I queried in May 2021, but strategy remains the same.

I will explain in detail how I used QueryTracker to analyze which agents and when to email based on their statistics. I will also go over my strategy in crafting my query letter and submission packets (what different versions of your document you should have pre-saved and ready to go once you’re ready to query). How to make the process as streamlined and painless as possible, while treating it like a business in which your goal is to capture the attention of an agent that is a good fit for you and your manuscript.

I’ll also discuss why the manuscript you query might be different depending on who you’re querying. Participants should come with their own query letters and first 10 pages if they have them (don’t have to be polished).

Nonfiction Improvisational Writing

Nonfiction is Experimentation! Experimentation is Fun! And it sells—nonfiction as a whole makes up a good percentage of children’s books that are published every year. It’s time to toss out old notions of boring encyclopedias and too-thick textbooks of our youth and get ready to draft some short-and-sweet nonfiction for kids. This session will get you playing with words and topics in a way that allows creativity to rule. We’ll take a backwards approach—instead of researching first, we’ll write first, and work on sculpting unique skeletons of nonfiction manuscripts that kids will totally love. The research can come later! Please bring something to write with and a very open mind.

The Art-Led Picture Book

I believe the best picture books have roots in the creator’s personal experiences and interests. Are you an illustrator looking to write your own books as an author-illustrator? Or a writer searching for out-of-the-box tools to identify unique story ideas? Have you heard the phrase “write what you know” but aren’t sure how to practically apply it? This workshop will suggest several ways to find the story that only you can create, will include an exercise to get your ideas flowing, and will showcase visual examples of how author-illustrators have moved from idea to early development to published books with these brainstorming prompts.