Programming specifically intended for our Region’s published members began around the time that the regional leadership expanded from one RA to a Regional Coordinator with three Regional RAs representing various regional geographic areas. It has grown and expanded ever since.
In 1994, Jackie French Koller organized an Author/Illustrator Tea for Educators in 1994 and also began the popular Nuts & Bolts program. Nuts & Bolts was so successful that it was repeated as a stand-alone event in 1993 and 1994 and then rolled into the annual New England conference for many years.
In 2005, Toni Buzzeo offered an extremely informative program called Capturing the Market: Self Promotion for Authors and Illustrators at the Sheraton Harborside, Portsmouth, NH. This event was coordinated by Janet Arden.
In 2008, Melissa Stewart, one of the SCBWI Board Members responsible for creating the new PAL (Published and Listed) membership tier, volunteered to begin developing several programs each year to specifically address the needs of published members. These SCBWI Salons focused on such topics as working with independent booksellers, improving public speaking skills, career building, innovative marketing, school visits, building an online presence, and more.
In 2010, the Salons were replaced with bi-annual Overcoming Challenges programs held primarily at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. These popular programs focused on overcoming writing and marketing challenges and were intended for pre-published as well as published members.
In 2012, Melissa Stewart became the Region’s first PAL Coordinator and continued to develop innovative programming to meet the needs of published members. In an effort to better understand how to serve PALs, she coordinated seven SCBWI-sponsored luncheons held at members’ homes throughout the region. These events were so popular that Melissa began a Potluck Luncheon & Roundtable Discussion series and developed themes for participants to discuss. At least eight of these meetings were held throughout New England.
With the assistance of Kathryn Hulick, Melissa developed a Constant Contact list for emailing PAL members quickly and efficiently. She also created a list of Grants, Fellowships, and Residencies for published members and shared it with other regions. The list is now included in the SCBWI’s The Book: The Essential Guide to Publishing for Children.
While continuing the popular Overcoming Challenges programs, Melissa also coordinated stand-alone sessions that focused on working with a book marketing consultant, new media and the digital landscape, and school visits in 2013 and 2014.
When Melissa stepped down from her role as PAL Coordinator in 2014, Kris Asselin volunteered to fill the position. Later that year, Kris became PAL Coordinator and Assistant Regional Advisor (ARA). As PAL Coordinator, Kris replaced the Constant Contact email list with the New England SCBWI Published and Listed (PAL) Facebook Group, which provides a variety of information and announcements of particular interest to PAL members. She also began to offer several intensive programs each year at Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner, MA. Topics have included brand marketing, school visits, advanced plotting, query letters, and community building. While these events are not limited to PAL members, PALs are given the opportunity to register before registration opens for pre-published members.
In 2016, PAL members were given the unique opportunity to have a book on display in the SCBWI booth at the Bologna Book Fair in Bologna, Italy. Co-RAs Marilyn Salerno and Margo Lemieux traveled to the book fair and helped to man the SCBWI booth.
When the SCBWI New England region was reorganized in 2018, the position of PAL Coordinator was changed from an Assistant Regional Advisor role to a volunteer role. In an attempt to make the position more localized, the Regional Team decided create a three-person team with one member from each sub-region. The effort to find new PAL coordinators is ongoing.
2011-2014 Melissa Stewart
2014-2018 Kris Asselin