Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

SOLD OUT: A Day of Craft: From Idea to Submission

Date(s) - Saturday, November 17, 2018
9:00 am - 4:30 pm

Mark Twain House
351 Farmington Ave. - Hartford, CT 06105

A Day of Craft: From Idea to Submission

This one-day event will give participants an opportunity to hear from published authors about the process of completing a manuscript and getting it published.

Cost of Event: $60 for members/$70 for non-members

**At this point there are no refunds available for this event. 

Morning Sessions: Building An Idea

9:30 – 10:30

Authors, Be brave! Let the Illustrator Help Tell Your Story! – Janet Lawler

Picture book authors can increase the likelihood of acceptance of their work if they embrace and leave room for illustrator contribution. Keeping the role of illustration in mind at all stages through publication will help authors tell and sell stories that zing and sing. Specific examples from other authors’ published books will highlight ways that illustrations enhance a text. Examples of text revisions drawn from author’s published work will model how authors can revise and improve picture book manuscripts to make acquisition more likely. Janet will discuss the thorny question of illustration “suggestions” and special concerns of non-fiction writers. She will also present information from several editors on the interface of author and illustrator. A directed editing exercise will reinforce concepts.

10:45 – 11:45

Keep the Pages Turning: Maximizing Suspense in Your Story – Yvonne Ventresca

Learn how to maximize suspense with specific techniques. This session covers topics such as raising the stakes, creating cliffhangers, using ticking clocks, and developing a suspenseful writing style. Lots of concrete examples from picture books, middle grade, and young adult novels are provided. With insight from resources like Alfred Hitchcock, Lee Child, Donald Maass, and James Scott Bell, you’ll learn how to keep readers turning the pages.

11:45 – 12:45


Afternoon Sessions: Submitting Your Manuscript

12:45 – 1:45

The Little Things That Matter: Grammar and Formatting Your Manuscript – Kristin Russo

This workshop focuses on presentation and the proper formatting of manuscripts as they go out to query. Little things like flushing the first paragraph of each chapter left, writing numbers in word form when in quotes, and the proper use of em dashes and semicolons matter when it comes to presentation. Though each agency and publishing house has its own formatting guidelines, this workshop will review conventions errors and other things that appear wonky to potential agents and editors and can leave your manuscript languishing in the slush pile. Literary professionals want professional products.

2:00 – 3:00

Non-Traditional Publishing: What Are My Options and How Do I Do It? – Katie Carroll

Today’s publishing world is full of opportunities, but it can be overwhelming to sort through all the options. Are you curious about the different forms of publishing beyond the traditional model? Perhaps you’ve considered submitting to a small or hybrid press (or wondered what those terms mean). Or maybe you’ve thought about self-publishing. This workshop focuses on all the alternative forms of publishing. Learn how they differ from the “Big 5” traditional publishers, how to define and approach each of these non-traditional methods, and what the pros and cons of each are in order to better prepare yourself for the modern publishing landscape.

3:15 – 4:15

Querying: Hook, Line, and Slam Dunk – Kristine Asselin

When it comes to querying, there are certain standards that apply universally. However, it is possible to make your query letter stand out from the rest of the slush pile and tailor it to target the agent of your dreams. Get the inside scoop about querying from Author Kristine Asselin. Kristine will talk about queries that work (and why!) and perfecting the elements of your query. Discover what works, what doesn’t work, and when it is okay to “think outside the box”.


Workshop Faculty:

Kristine Asselin writes MG fantasy and contemporary YA. She is also the author of sixteen works of children’s nonfiction. In addition to the MG Art of the Swap, co-written with Jen Malone, her YA contemporary Any Way You Slice It is also available. She lives in Central Massachusetts with her husband and teen daughter, and spends part of everyday looking for a TARDIS to steal. You can learn more about Kris at Find her on Twitter @KristineAsselin and Instagram @KrisAsselin.

Katie L. Carroll is a writer, freelance editor, and teacher of writing/publishing workshops for children and adults. Her YA fantasy ELIXIR BOUND was originally published by a digital-first press and has since been self-published in anticipation of a second Elixir book coming out in 2019. Her self-published middle grade adventure PIRATE ISLAND was selected by the Milford Public Library at the 2018 One City, One Story middle grade read. For more about her writing credits, process, and journey, visit her website at

Janet Lawler writes award-winning author fiction and nonfiction for children. Three of her more than twenty books have appeared in the Scholastic Book Clubs, and two have been featured selections of the Children’s Book of the Month Club. Her first picture book, IF KISSES WERE COLORS, has been translated into Spanish, Japanese, Hebrew, and Korean. Other picture books include National Geographic’s RAIN FOREST COLORS and OCEAN COUNTING (named an Outstanding Science Trade Book by the National Science Teachers’ Association); SNOWZILLA; THE PREHISTORIC GAMES; SCARY PLANTS!; FRIGHT SCHOOL; MIRABEL’S MISSING VALENTINES; and several seasonal and holiday pop-up books, including LEAVES, SANTA’S TREE, and ARCTIC CHRISTMAS. Learn more about Janet and her books at:

Kristin Russo is the author of 16 nonfiction books for young readers. She has published a number of adult short stories in faculty publications at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI, where she is an adjunct professor of English, composition, and rhetoric. She lives in Scituate, RI, with her family. Find her on Twitter at @KristinJRusso.

Yvonne Ventresca is the award-winning author of Black Flowers, White Lies (IPPY Gold Medal for YA fiction) and Pandemic (SCBWI’s Crystal Kite Award). In addition to her YA novels, Yvonne’s other work includes two nonfiction books and several short stories selected for anthologies. When she’s not writing, she loves a good ghost story and studies Isshinryu karate in a haunted dojo. You can learn more about Yvonne and her books at, where she features resources for writers and blogs about the creative life.