One Writer’s Journey

March 15, 2016

Rewriting with an Editor or Agent

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Approve, Reject, Concur, Denounce, Assent, Deny, ChoiceLast weekend, I attended a writing workshop about using Skype and writing nonfiction proposals.  Part of the Skype session included Skyping with an Lori Kilkelly, an agent at Rodeen Literary Management.  She answered a series of questions including how a writer should respond when an editor asks for an impossible change in a rewrite.

Lori explained that we need to take “refuse” out of our writing vocabulary.  Instead of thinking about what you will and will not do, Lori advised writers to think about the project as a collaboration.  The writer and the editor are working together on a single project.  The goal is to make it into a publishable project that will reach as many young readers as possible.

This made a lot of sense to me because I’m always amazed by the number of authors who enter into the submission process looking for a fight.  They are absolutely certain that something unforgivable will be asked of them.

I’ve made hundreds of changes in my work including:

  • Changes designed to bring the book in line with the larger series.
  • Clarifications which often mean adding more detail and expanding on a point.
  • A specific example that the editor had found in her reading and wanted me to include.  Invariable, these additions strengthen the piece.

I can only recall one time when I was asked to make an “impossible change.” Because I generally make the changes my editor wants, she knew this wasn’t just me being disagreeable.  I think that’s an important point.

If a request initially seems impossible, try to figure out why your editor wants you to make the change.  Then find a mutually acceptable way to solve the problem. Your editor is not your enemy so don’t immediately refuse to make a change.

Instead, look for another way to make it so.


August 26, 2015

Public Speaking: Newbie Orientation

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:55 am

MissouriOn Saturday, September 26, 2015, I will be giving the Newbie Orientation at the Missouri SCBWI Fall Conference, Soaring to New Heights.

This will be the second year that I’ve been in charge of this session — I hesitate to call it speaking because although I give tips I run it as a Question and Answer.  Sometimes the answers come from me.  Sometimes they come from someone else in the audience. When I first started speaking in public, I wouldn’t have been a very good choice for this session.  I was, as my grandmother called me, a Nervous Nelly.  To find out how I got past that, read my post today at the Muffin.

Even if you’re only attending sessions, vs leading them, the stress can get to a hard core introvert, such as many writers tend to be.  That’s why I lead this session.  If people don’t have questions that morning, they can ask me any time throughout the day.  What if they have questions afterwards, they can e-mail me.

What do I cover?

First I do a rundown on the day’s schedule.  What is happening when.

I also go into the basics of the facility itself.  This is where the bathrooms are.  All of the sessions are on this level.  Lunch will be served here.  We introverts are more comfortable when we have a plan.

Then I leap into conference etiquette.  I assure them that although they are well-behaved, not everyone is and thus headquarters requires me to ask them not to follow editors or agents into the bathroom to hand off their manuscripts and not to ask detailed questions about formatting their manuscripts, query letters and manuscript length (because those things are covered in the Keyboard to Printed Page handout).

I encourage them to interact with their fellow participants.  Most of them come there thinking “I’m going to connect with an agent or editor.” They sometimes forget what a wealth of information their fellows can be.  In fact, most of my sales have come through this kind of networking.

I only have about 30 minutes but can you think of anything else I should cover?


August 24, 2015

Mo SCBWI conference

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:36 am
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MissouriIf you are interested in writing or illustrating for children and live in the St. Louis area, consider attending “Soaring to New Heights: Missouri SCBWI Fall Conference.”  Friday, September 25, is devoted to critique meetings but those slots have already filled.  There are approximately 20 slots still open for Saturday, Sept. 26, which includes the various workshops and speaker sessions.  Here is the Saturday schedule.

Saturday, September 26 (Lindenwood University, Rooms to be announced)

8-8:30 Registration and breakfast snacks /Newbie Orientation led by Sue Bradford Edwards (Subtle, aren’t I?  This is my session.)

8:30-8:45 Opening Remarks 

8:45-9:30 EB Lewis keynote “Writing with Pictures”

9:30-9:45 Break

9:45-10:45  Breakouts (you choose one)

1.  Author/Illustrator EB Lewis for all Illustrators (picture book writers, too!)  “The Hook of the Book” PART ONE 

(PLEASE NOTE: This session will run ALL day- through both breakouts and the intensive. You may choose to attend all or only a part of it.)

2.  Agent Brianne Johnson: “Character-driven Picture Books

3.  Editor Connie Hsu:   The Road Less Traveled: Choosing Diversity.”

10:45 Break

11:00-12:00 Breakouts  (you choose one)

1.  Author/Illustrator EB Lewis: For all Illustrators (picture book writers, too!) “The Hook of the Book” PART TWO

(Please note: You do not have to attend part one to attend part two.)

2.   Agent Kirsten Hall: “PB: How to Market and Pitch Them

3.  Editor Kate Sullivan: “Guide to MG/YA Genre Fiction

12:00-12:45 Lunch 

12:45-1:00 Announce 2016 Mentee Winner & 2016 Mentor Jennifer Brown, PAL Recognition Slideshow

1:15-4:15- Intensives (you choose one)

1.  Illustrators (picture book writers, too!): “The Hook of the Book” Part THREE E.B. Lewis

(Please note: You can attend this intensive with E.B. Lewis, even if you did not attend part one and part two.)

2.  Picture Book Intensive for Authors led by Peggy Archer, Kirsten Hall & Connie Hsu

3.  Middle Grade & Young Adult Authors led by Jennifer Brown, Brianne Johnson, & Kate Sullivan

4:15-4:30 Break

4:30-5:15 Authors: First Five Lines with Hall, Hsu, Johnson & Sullivan in Main Conference Room.      Illustrators: Postcard Evaluations with EB Lewis

This is always a fun day and I’m looking forward to the variety of things I’m sure to learn.  If you are interested, you can find more information here.


July 29, 2015

Agents: Picking an agent for one-on-one critique

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MuffinThis fall, I’m one of the speakers at the Missouri SCBWI conference, September 25-26, 2015.  My talk is the very first one since it helps orient new conference attendees to the experience.  One of the things that I discuss with them is what to expect from their one-on-one critique sessions.

One-on-one critiques are available at many SCBWI events and give you 10-20 minutes of face time, often with an editor or agent.  To make the most of it, you have to pick the editor or agent that is right for you.  Here are five things to consider.

What books has this person represented?  Don’t just pick a name out of a hat or pick the person with the funniest session title.  Instead, take a look at the list of books that she has represented.  Don’t just read over the names.  Take the time to get ahold of them and read them.  Are they literary?  Humorous?  Quirky?  If you don’t like any of the books on her list, chances are that this is not the agent for you.

Is this what I write?  Once you know that you like her work, take a look at it in comparison to what you actually write.  I love to read mysteries but I have never written one.  Because of this, it wouldn’t make much sense to hitch myself to an agent whose specialty is the mystery novel.

Is she an editorial agent?  One of the terms that you are going to see a lot is “editorial agent.”  An editorial agent is an agent who works with their authors on the manuscripts before they go out the door.  This means that you may end up doing a rewrite for your agent and a rewrite for your editor.  That said, rewriting for your agent means that your editor will get a more polished manuscript.

Her website.  Now pop on over to her website.  If her bio doesn’t include the URL, do a google search and look for a website or a blog.  What does the layout tell you about this person.  Is it ultra-business like and conservative?  Or is it light and playful?  Either one can work but note your reaction to what you see.  This will be a close partnership.

Google revelations.  If you haven’t already googled her name, do it.  Read interviews and chatter about this person.  Finding something negative about an agent isn’t necessarily a deal breaker as long as it isn’t something big.  “This agent never sent out my work.”  “I get submission updates the first week of every month.” Two very different statements about two very different editors.

Don’t expect the agent you meet with to offer to represent you on the spot but do chose someone you are compatible with to ensure a better, more informative experience.  To find out more about what to discuss with the agent in your session, read my post for today at the Muffin.


May 8, 2015

Mentorship: YA writers have the chance to work with Jennifer Brown

AuthPhotoOne of the best things about going to the Missouri SCBWI Retreat is having the chance to work with and learn from my fellow writers. But why wait until the next retreat to seize this kind of opportunity?  If you are a young adult writer, an SCBWI member and living in Missouri, you can apply for the 2016 YA Mentorship.

The mentorship allows one lucky writer to work for one year with a knowledgable, published writer.  It is an amazing opportunity!

This year’s mentor is Jennifer Brown. Brown is the author of the Hate ListBitter EndPerfect EscapeThousand Words, and Torn Away. Her debut novel, Hate List, earned three starred reviews and was named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a VOYA” Perfect Ten,” and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. Bitter End also received starred reviews. That not enough for you?  Jennifer’s debut middle grade novel, Life on Mars, was released in 2014, and her second middle grade novel, How Lunchbox Jones Saved Me from Robots, Traitors, and Missy the Cruel will be released in summer 2015. She also writes women’s fiction as Jennifer Scott.

Check out the application procedures on the SCBWI web site (you’ll have to log in first) and be sure to get your material together and turned in by June 30th.  This is a fantastic opportunity and I know someone out there will benefit greatly from Jennifer’s wealth of knowledge, you lucky dog.



May 29, 2014

Fall Conference Registration Open

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MissouriHear ye, hear ye!   Registration is now open for the Missouri SCBWI fall conference.  The even will be in September this year so deadlines are earlier than in the past.  The deadline for critiques is July 18 so don’t dawdle.  Below is the schedule for Saturday (9/6) and Sunday (9/7).  For more details, go here.



8-8:30 Registration and breakfast snacks /Newbie Orientation in Room 4185 led by Sue Edwards

8:30-8:45 Opening Remarks Main Conference Room 4080

8:45-9:30 Main Conference Room Deborah Halverson: State of the Market

9:30-9:45 Break   Illustrators move to separate room.

9:45-10:30  Keynotes

Authors in main conference room: Cecily White: The Space Between Us: Layered Romantic Tension in Young Adult and Middle Grade Whether it’s Harry Potter or Percy Jackson or Bella Swan, most of today’s beloved characters will face some element of cross-gendered romantic tension. There are, however, key differences in the way various age groups engage this tension, and the meanings readers make from it. This talk examines, from a psychologist’s perspective, the development of relational intimacy in Middle Grade vs. Young Adult relationships.

Illustrators in room 4105: Dan Yaccarino: “Say Yes.” By meeting challenges and opportunities with the simple 3-letter word, YES, Dan has enjoyed a successful 25-year career as a children’s book author/illustrator, television creator/producer, commercial illustrator and public speaker. In this funny, yet inspiring presentation, Dan shows through slides and animation how he was able to reach the next level of his career by saying YES!

10:30-10:45 Break  Move to breakout session rooms.

10:45-11:45 Both groups attend breakouts:

1. Cecily White : Conflict and Voice: Clawing Your Way to the Keeper Shelf. Room 4190

2. Steve Sheinkin: Structuring the Non-Fiction Page Turner  Room 4185

3. Jodell Sadler: Pacing Picture Books: move Yourself, Your Story, & Your Reader Room 3105

4. Panel Discussion: Josh Stevens and more at Reedy Press: What we do & the pitfalls/perks of signing with a small press. Room 3020

5.  Giuseppe Castallano: A Children’s Book Art Department: An Inside Look  Room 4105

11:45-12:30 Lunch

12:30-1:00 Contest winner art & flash fictionAnnounce 2015 Mentee Winner & 2016 Mentor/ PAL Recognition Slideshow

1:00-1:45 Main Conference Room Debbie Gonzales Topic: Teachers Need Us In The Worst Way.  Let’s face it, our goal is to keep our books in the hearts of readers and in the hands of those who teach them. Find out how we can be of tremendous support to educators simply by sharing our passion for the craft and our love of reading through the presentation of well-crafted Curriculum Guides or academically sound school visits.

1:45-2:00 Silent Auction Winners/Break Illustrators move to room 4105

2:00- 2:45 Keynotes

            Illustrators in Room 4105: Giuseppe Castellano : Just Start: “The Secret to Getting Ahead is Getting Started.”—Mark Twain The hardest part to any creative endeavor is starting it. In this keynote address from multi-award winning Penguin Group art director Giuseppe Castellano, attendees will hear how some of the greats got their start. Whether you’re starting something as grand and undefinable as “becoming an illustrator”; or something more focused like writing that perfect book you have in your head, Giuseppe will discuss the simple steps to simplygetting started.

Authors in main conference room: Steven Sheinkin Topic: Research or Detective Work I’ll talk about the stories behind the stories in my books, and why I think the research process is the best part. It really is a kind of detective work – admittedly, a nerdy kind. Using specific examples from my books, I’ll show how I tracked down clues and followed leads until I had learned enough to tell the story in my own way.

2:45-3:00 Break  Move to breakout rooms

3:00- 4:00 Breakouts

1.Dan Yaccarino  From Inspiration to Publication: The Essentials of a Picture Book DummyRoom 4105

2. Nancy Pollette: Topic: Writing Biography That Sells: From PB to YA Room 4190

3. Nancy Gallt, Topic: So You Think You Need An Agent? Room 3105

4. Debbie Gonzales Topic:Common Core Standards Decoding 101: Making it Work for Your Promotions & School Visits Room 4185

5. Heather Brewer: Whatever Dude—Reaching Kids on The Fringe Room 3020

4:00-4:15 Break Authors Move back to main auditorium, illustrators move to room 4105

4:15-5:00 Authors: First Five Lines with Halverson, Gallt, Sadler & Stevens in Main Conference Room:

     Illustrators: Postcard Evaluations with Castellano & Yaccarino in Room 4105

5:00-5:30 Faculty book signing


7:30-8 Cocktail hour with presenters at hotel. Sunday attendees only invited to join us.

8-9:30 Peer critique groups meet at hotel led by PAL members.

1. Margo Dill   2. Peggy Archer         3.Marilyn Quigley       4. Suzanne Walker-Pacheco    5. Jeanie Ransom

Sunday Workshops

8:30-11:30 Intensives

1. Jodell Sadler: Ten Tips Workshop for Writing Your Heart into Picture Books.

2. Giuseppe Castellano: A Children’s Book Art Department: An Inside Look

3. Deborah Halverson: How To Build Your Own Teenager: Techniques for Writing Believable MG/YA Characters

4. Debbie Gonzales: The Anatomy of A Teacher’s Guide: A Hands On Approach to CCSS Project Creation

Missouri SCBWI
2014 Fall Conference “Seeds of Success” Faculty

Author Heather Brewer
Heather Brewer grew up on a diet of Twilight Zone and books by Stephen King. She chased them down with every drop of horror she could find—in books, movie theaters, on television. The most delicious parts of her banquet, however, she found lurking in the shadowed corners of her dark imagination. When she’s not writing books, she’s skittering down your wall and lurking underneath your bed. Heather doesn’t believe in happy endings . . . unless they involve blood. She lives in Missouri with her husband and two children. Visit Heather at

Art Director Guiseppe Castellano
Giuseppe Castellano is an award-winning designer, illustrator, and art director at Penguin Group USA, with fifteen years of experience in book publishing. He oversees the imprints of Grosset & Dunlap, Price Stern Sloan, Frederick Warne, and the Penguin Young Readers. Read more from Giuseppe, including his popular #arttips series for illustrators, on Twitter: @pinocastellano <;

Photographer Sharon Davis
Sharon Keeling Davis is an award-winning photographer, middle grade fantasy author, current president of Ozarks Romance Authors and member of SCBWI. She lives in Nixa, MO with her husband and two rambunctious little boys. You can view her photography at and learn about her writing at

Author Amanda Doyle

Author Amanda Doyle is the author children’s book, To the Top: A Gateway Arch Story. She has also written two authoritative, St. Louis-centric guidebooks (the first Finally! guidebook and 100 Things to Do in St. Louis Before You Die). She has been the associate editor of Wheremagazine in St. Louis for more than a decade.

Agent Nancy Gallt
Agent Nancy Gallt is the founder of Nancy Gallt Literary Agency. Nancy attended Williams College where she received a BA in English. For nearly 25 years, she worked in subsidiary rights at Viking, HarperCollins Children’s Books, Morrow Junior Books, Greenwillow, and Lothrop Lee & Shepard. She is committed to representing a wide-ranging list of authors and illustrators.

Agent Elena Giovinazzo

Elena Giovinazzo joined the literary agency of Pippin Properties June 2009. Having begun her publishing career in subsidiary rights, moving on to children’s book marketing with a stint in audio, she realized that a position in agenting would enable her to continue to be involved in the many aspects of publishing about which she is so passionate from one place. She is thrilled to be pursuing her love of children’s literature and the industry from her seat at Pippin and especially enjoys the treasure hunt that is sorting through the daily query emails.

Curriculum Specialist Debbie Gonzales
Debbie Gonzales is the author of eight “transitional” readers for New Zealand publisher Giltedge. Deb earned her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults for the Vermont College of Fine Arts. A Montessori teacher, former school administrator and adjunct professor, Debbie devotes her time to crafting teacher guides, writing novels for middle grade readers, and various other freelance projects. Former Regional Advisor for the Austin SCBWI Chapter, Debbie now calls beautiful Ann
Arbor, Michigan home. Access to find out more about her exciting and varied projects.

Editor Deborah Halverson
Deborah Halverson spent a decade editing books for Harcourt Children’s Books before becoming the award-winning author of Writing Young Adult Fiction For Dummies, the upcoming Writing the New Adult Novel: How to Write & Sell ‘New Adult’ Fiction, the two teen novels Honk If You Hate Me and Big Mouth (Delacorte/Random House), the picture book Letters to Santa, and three books in the “Remix” series for struggling readers. Deborah has been working with authors—bestsellers, veterans, debut, and aspiring—for over fifteen years. The books she’s edited have garnered awards and rave reviews, and many of the aspiring writers she’s coached have landed agent representation and lucrative book deals. Deborah is now a freelance editor, author, writing instructor, and the founder of the popular writers’ advice site She speaks extensively at workshops and conferences for writers and edits adult fiction and nonfiction while specializing in teen fiction and picture books. For more about Deborah, visit

Editor Krista Marino

Krista Marino is an executive editor at Delacorte Press (an imprint of Random House Children’s Books) where she acquires and edits Young Adult and middle grade fiction. Some of the books on her list include the Maze Runner series by James Dashner, the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott, and the upcoming Nightmares! series by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller. Other books include Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, and the Young Adult works of Frank Portman, Matt de la Peña, and Rosemary Clement-Moore. Krista is always looking for strong new voices, innovative concepts, and great stories for her list. She is currently seeking YA and MG mysteries, contemporary fiction that skews on the darker side, and she is always looking for fresh fantasy, sci-fi, and speculative fiction.

Author/illustrator Carolyn Mueller

Carolyn Mueller is the author and illustrator of three children’s picture books: Bubbles the Dwarf Zebu: A Story about Finding a Home at the Saint Louis Zoo, Lily: A True Story of Courage and the Joplin Tornado, and Happy Birthday, St. Louis! She currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri, where she works as a zookeeper.

Author Nancy Polette
Nancy Polette is the author of numerous books for children, including the Rookie Reader biographies for Children’s Press, the collective biography series Fact or Fiction of the Famous winner of the Texas Legacy Award, and The Spy with the Wooden Leg. She has won numerous awards, including the Midwest Book Award, the Benjamin Franklin Silver Medal, and the International MOMS Award gold medal for outstanding juvenile nonfiction.

Agent Jodell Sadler
Jodell Sadler has authored many articles and tutorials with Writer’s Digest on Writing Picture Books: Picture Book Pacing, Editing, and Avoiding Burnout Tutorials before launching her literary agency in 2011: Sadler-Caravette Children’s Literary. Having earned her MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Hamline University in 2009, she hosts a variety of online writing workshops, serves as the BOOK LOOK columnist for the, The Prairie Wind newsletter, and is available to speak at conferences and events as a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI). For more information on picture books, visit, and more information on Sadler-Caravette Children’s Literary, please visit

Author Steve Sheinkin
A former history textbook writer, Steve Sheinkin is now trying to make amends by writing nonfiction that kids and teens will actually want to read. His 2012 book Bomb was a Newbery Honor book, National Book Award Finalist, and winner of both the Sibert Medal and the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction. Other recent titles include The Notorious Benedict Arnold, which won the YALSA Award in 2011, and Lincoln’s Grave Robbers. His newest book is the Port Chicago Fifty, World War II civil rights story. Steve lives with his wife and two children in Saratoga Springs, NY.
Publisher Josh Stevens Josh Stevens is the owner of Reedy Press, a company that specializes in publishing local interest and historical books. He manages acquisitions and marketing for Reedy, which he co-founded in 2004. The company publishes 30-40 titles annually including books for the trade and for cultural and educational institutions. Prior to his work with Reedy, Josh was senior editor at the Missouri Historical Society Press and a script consultant for a television production company. He earned a BA in English from Knox College and an MFA in Creative Writing at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He lives in St. Louis with his wife and four kids. Author Chris Stuckenschneider Chris Stuckenschneider, a Washington, Missouri, resident for more than forty years, is the author of two children’s books—Twist of Fate: the Miracle Colt and His Friends, a Show-Me Award Winner, and Patriot Pals: Tails of Civil War Dogs. A newspaper columnist and book editor, she also coordinates Book Buzz, a newspaper column distributed nationally.

Author Cecily White

Cecily Cornelius-White, Psy.D. is a part-time university coordinator, part-time party-planner, and full-time mom who loves messing with her characters’ lives. Her myriad past careers include: hand model, GAP salesgirl, movie projectionist, psychotherapist, yoga instructor, dance choreographer, psych diagnostician, rock n’ roll drummer, book reviewer, and copy editor . . . none of which are as fun as writing novels. She can swear in Klingon, take down alien aggressors using only her mind (or chopsticks), and kill spiders without getting schmutz on her shirt. Cecily currently lives in Missouri with two children, one hamster, and a schizophrenic yet well-mannered cat, where she spends her time creating new worlds and thinking up ways to make this one better. Visit her at

Artist Dan Yaccarino

Dan Yaccarino’s artwork can be found in children’s books, the TV series Oswald (Nick Jr), Emmy-winning Willa’s Wild Life(NBC and Qubo), character designs for The Backyardigans(Nickelodeon), as well as his many illustrated toys, games, and other children’s products. His bold, stylized illustrations add wit and energy to the work of such prestigious authors as Margaret Wise Brown, Jack Prelutsky, Kevin Henkes, Patricia MacLachlan, in addition to his own stories. Dan’s internationally recognized art style has earned him a large following in Japan, exhibits in New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Bologna, and a visit to the White House. Dan’s awards include the Bologna Ragazzi, The New York Time 10 Best Illustrated, ALA Notable and the Parents Choice Award. Over 1.5 million of his books have been sold to date. Dan lives with his wife and their two children in New York City and creates his quirky characters in his studio full of vintage toys.

April 17, 2014

Mentorship: Here’s the chance to learn from picture book author David Harrison

Do you feel like you’ve hit a brick wall with your picture books?  You’ve read all there is to read about writing picture books.  Your critique group likes your work. Yet, you still can’t sell.

David 2013One of the best ways to get past this point is to work with a mentor.  A mentor is an more advanced author who works closely with you to help you develop.  The good news for picture book writers is that the Missouri Region the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators has an annual mentorship.  The mentor for 2015 is picture book author David L. Harrison.

Frankly, I’m jealous.

He is the author of eighty-nine books including poetry, fiction, and nonfiction for young readers as well as educational books for teachers. He is the poet laureate of Drury University, and David Harrison Elementary School is named for him. You can find his work in 120 anthologies, 12 languages, sandblasted into a library sidewalk, painted on a bookmobile, and presented on television, radio, podcast, and video stream. His poetry collection, Pirates, was the Missouri book at the 2013 National Book Fair in Washington, D.C.

pirates book coverJealousy.  Not of David but because I want to work with David.  (Hear me whine.)

If you are an SCBWI member in the Missouri Region, you can win the chance to work with David.  Sorry, but if you’ve already published a picture book, you aren’t eligible.  But if you’re still trying to break into the market, this is a great learning opportunity.

Applications are accepted from May 1 through June 30, 2014.  Your application must include one full-length picture book manuscript and a brief cover letter that gives the judges a taste of your writing style, your writing habits, and reasons why you want the mentorship.

There are more rules to this but I’ll let you read them for yourself here.  If you live in Missouri but aren’t an SCBWI member, you have time to join.   You probably even have time to smooth out the wrinkles in a manuscript that is almost ready.  Take advantage of this opporunity.  You owe it to yourself.





May 29, 2013

Writers Conference: Registration Now Open

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speakersJust a quick heads up that online registration is now open for the Missouri SCBWI Fall Conference.

Speakers and their topics include Matt de la Peña  “Working-Class Writer,” Lisa Yee “Following Your Dream Without Falling on Your Face,” Judy Young  “Counting Her Lucky Stars,” Dan Santat “The ‘IT’ Factor (Parts of getting published that you need to know but no one has taught you),” Regina Brooks “Tapping Into Your Muse: One Whisper At A Time,” Lori Kilkelly “Thoughts from a Literary Agent,” and Krista Marino “The Business of Publishing at Delacorte Press.”

You can also register for afternoon breakout sessions, paid critiques and Sunday morning intensives.

It promises to be quite an experience!



February 13, 2013

What Writing Activities Do You Have Planned for 2013?

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:03 am
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What writing activities do you have planned for 2013?   Writing events give you the chance to meet your peers, learn about your craft and recharge your creative battery.  With them, you can “Follow Your Dream” which is the name of this fall’s Missouri SCBWI conference.

When:  November 2-3, 2013

Where:  Follow Your Dream

Here is the lineup so far; Joyce Ragland, our hard working regional advisor, is still recruiting presenters and critiquers and smoothing out the schedule.

Matt de la Pena 
Matt is an award winning author (ALA-YALSA Best Book for Young Adults; ALA-YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers and more).  One of his books has been made into a major motion picture.  His books include:
Ball Don’t Lie (Delacorte 2005)
Mexican White Boy (Delacorte 2008)
We Were Here (Delacorte 2009)
I Will Save You (Delacorte 2010)
A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis (Dial Press, 2012)
“Believing in Brooklyn,” a middle grade story in Guys Read: Thriller (2013), edited by Jon Scieszka.

Lisa Yee
This author is the winner of the Sid Fleishman Humor Award and has over 1.5 million books in print.  Her books include:
Millicent Min, Girl Genius (Perfection Learning)
Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time (Arthur A. Levine)
So Totally Emily Ebers (Arthur A. Levine)
Absolutely Maybe (Turtleback Books)
Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally) (Scholastic)
Bobby the Brave (Sometimes) (Scholastic)
Good Luck, Ivy (American Girl)
Warp Speed (Arthur A. Levine)

Judy Young
Judy is a Missouri author who proves that you can live in the Midwest and publish widely.  She has been a finalist for both the Missouri Show Me Reader award and the SCBWI Crystal Kite award.  She has won the Mom’s Choice award, the Educator’s Choice award and Missouri Writer’s Guild Best Juvenile Book award. Her books include:
Little Missouri (Sleeping Bear Press, 2012)
A Pet for Miss Wright (Sleeping Bear Press, 2011)
A Book for Black-Eyed Susan (Sleeping Bear Press, 2011)
The Missouri Reader (Sleeping Bear Press, 2010)
The Hidden Bestiary of Marvelous, Mysterious, and (maybe even) Magical Creatures (Sleeping Bear Press, 2010)
The Lucky Star (Sleeping Bear Press, 2008)
H is for Hook, A Fishing Alphabet (Sleeping Bear Press, 2008)
Show Me the Number, A Missouri Number Book (Sleeping Bear Press, 2007)
Lazy Days of Summer (Sleeping Bear Press, 2007)
R is for Rhyme, A Poetry Alphabet (Sleeping Bear Press, 2006)
S is for Show Me, A Missouri Alphabet (Sleeping Bear Press, 2001)

Dan Santat
This illustrator-author is the creator of Disney’s animated show, The Replacements.   His books already in print include:
The Guild of Geniuses (Arthur A. Levine Books)
The Domesticated Six (Arthur A. Levine Books)

There will be several agents and an editor as well as something new this year — Sunday morning half-day intensive sessions for writers and illustrators; an art contest for illustrators; a silent auction of illustrators’ creations; an art contest and a writing contest.   

Questions? Contact Joyce Ragland (


November 2, 2012

3 Reasons to Attend Writer’s Conferences

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:14 am
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What are you doing this weekend?  I’m going to the fall conference put on by the Missouri Region of SCBWI.   Attending conferences is one of the best things that you can do for your writing career and this is why.

Meet like minded individuals.  Conferences, workshops and retreats are a great way to meet your fellow writers.  Even if you’re a true blue introvert (waving my membership card), you need to get out among your people.  Why?  Because you need to know you aren’t alone.  We writers are a quirky breed and, as much as our loved ones try to support us, they don’t always get it.  So, you got a rejection.  Get it back out there.  Just be more efficient and don’t do so many rewrites.  You need to interact with other people who get it.  You need their support.

Opportunities to advance your career.  Writing events also offer you a great opportunity to advance your career.  Most people read this and think, “I will meet the agent/editor/publisher of my dreams.”  Maybe.  It probably happens.  But, while you are interacting with like minded individuals, keep your ears open.  Someone may very well comment that their editor is looking for a writer who can X.  Or they may e-mail you after the conference and ask if you’d like to work with their editor.  I know this happens because it has happened to me.

To see what is new.  Last but not least, conferences and the like offer you an opportunity to find out about the latest ins and outs of your chosen profession.  When I started writing, you singly submitted and patiently waited.  Now, unless a publisher requires an exclusive, it is more or less expected that you will submit to more than one place at a time.

There’s no doubt about it.  Writing events take time.  They take money.  But it is well worth both when you make the connections that you need to be a strong, healthy, productive writer.



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