SCBWI Events in April

April 3, 2022 Serious about Series

Session 1 – 1:00 CST-  So You Want to Write A Series? (presented by Terry Catasús Jennings):

An overview of the nuts-and-bolts of series writing for chapter books, middle grade, and young adult novels. From creating your brand-new series proposal to marketing your finished books #1, 2, and 3 (and hopefully more!), Terry will cover the many steps in an author’s journey to publishing a book series.


Session 2 – 3:30 CST – RE-ENVISION: Tips and tricks for revising your novel (presented by Natalie Lakosil):

A session that moves through tips and advice for novel revision, covering character, voice, plot, pacing, and conflict, with special attention given to balancing all of these elements across a multi-book series. Insider agent tips also included!

April 9, 2022 Writing the Verse Novel with Speaker Chris Baron

Chapter Meeting, 2 – 4 p.m. Pacific Time

This event will be on Zoom. 

In this presentation, “Writing the Verse Novel,” author Chris Baron will provide tips on the verse novel writing process along with what makes a strong verse novel including basics of poetic craft, storytelling, and how it all works together. There will be plenty of interactive Q & A along with some writing exercises.

 Chris Baron is the award-winning author of Novels for Children including the novels in verse, All of Me, an NCTE Notable Book, and The Magical Imperfect, a Sydney Taylor Book Award Notable Book, a SLJ Best Book of 2021 and the forthcoming novels, The Gray (2023) Forest Heart (2024) from Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan. He’s a contributor to the Young Adult Anthology, Every Body Shines, (2021) from Bloomsbury, and the author of Lantern Tree (2012 CityWorks Press), winner of San Diego Book Award. He is a Professor of English at San Diego City College and the director of the Writing Center. He has an MFA in Poetry from SDSU. Originally from New York City, he now lives in San Diego with his family.

Twitter: @baronchrisbaron Instagram: @christhebearbaron

Something New PB Conference

April 30 , 2022 – Something New

8:30 AM – Welcome

8:45-9:45 AM – Maria Vicente, Senior Literary Agent P.S. Literary Agency: Visual Thinking for Picture Book Writers

10:00-11:00 AM – Frances Gilbert, Editor-in-Chief Doubleday Books for Young Readers Random House Children’s Books: Dear Author, Here Is Why I Rejected Your Picture Book Manuscript

11:15 AM -12:15 PM  – Sean McCarthy, Literary Agent at Sean McCarthy Literary Agency: Lost in Pace: Making Sure Your Picture Book Doesn’t Go Off the Rails

In this craft-oriented session, we will examine character development, plotting, structure, and transformation in picture books and discuss how to keep your book on the right track.

1:00-2:00 – Rick Margolis, Literary Agent at Rising Bear Literary Agency: May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor

How to increase your chances of creating a great picture book, finding a fabulous agent or editor, and avoiding some common pitfalls.

2:15-3:45 PM – Naomi Davis, Literary Agent at Bookends Literary Agency and Norene Paulson, Author: To Pitch or Not to Pitch: The 5 W’s & 1 H of Twitter Pitch Parties

Thinking you’d like to participate in a Twitter Pitch Party but unsure exactly how to go about doing so? Author Norene Paulson and agent Naomi Davis who connected through #PBPitch will break down the who, what, where, when, why, and how of pitching your stories on Twitter.

Naomi Davis – Literary Agent at Bookends Literary Agency

NAOMI DAVIS is a literary agent at BookEnds Literary Agency. Naomi seeks dynamic, character-driven adult and young adult titles in fantasy, sci-fi, and romance. LGBTQ+ elements and diversity in all fiction are a particular plus. Naomi is particularly passionate about finding new fantasy and sci-fi settings with unique magical structures that surprise the reader and change the rules readers associate with those worlds.

Frances Gilbert – Editor-in-Chief at Doubleday Books for Young Readers

Frances Gilbert started her career in children’s books when she was still a child, working in the children’s department of her town library throughout high school. After graduating from university with an M.A. in English, Frances’s first job in publishing was as a Book Club Editor at Scholastic Canada in Toronto. She moved to New York in 2000 to set up a children’s editorial division at Sterling Publishing, where she stayed till 2012. Frances then moved to Random House Children’s Books, where she is VP, Editor-in-Chief of Doubleday Books for Young Readers. Titles she has acquired and edited include the New York Times bestseller The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine by Mark Twain, Philip Stead, and Erin Stead; I Don’t Want to Be a Frog by Dev Petty and Mike Boldt; the Happy Hair series by Mechal Renee Roe; Bunny’s Book Club by Annie Silvestro and Tatjana Mai-Wyss; and Wordy Birdy by Tammi Sauer and Dave Mottram.

Rick Margolis – Literary Agent at Rising Bear Literary Agency

Rick Margolis launched Rising Bear Literary Agency, LLC, specializing in picture books, early- and middle-grade fiction, young adult literature, and adult novels with unforgettable teen characters.

Rising Bear aims to help writers and illustrators do their best possible work, to pair them with the perfect publisher, and to see them develop long, rewarding careers. We’re excited to work with people who are passionate about creating exceptional books—and who are ready to change the world, one fabulous title at a time. We offer a full range of services that include foreign, film, and merchandising rights in all forms of media.

Maria Vicente – Senior Literary Agent at P.S. Literary Agency

Maria Vicente is a Senior Literary Agent and Advisor at P.S. Literary Agency representing an eclectic list of authors and illustrators. Maria has launched many literary careers in her eight years as an agent and teaches workshops to the larger writing community to help those beyond her client list achieve their publishing goals. She lives in New Brunswick, Canada, reading and selling books from the Atlantic Ocean shore. Learn more about Maria and find publishing resources at

Norene Paulson – Author

Norene Paulson, a former middle school language arts teacher, writes stories that amplify friendship, acceptance, and inclusion. Her books include BENNY’S TRUE COLORS (Macmillan, 2020) and WHAT’S SILLY HAIR DAY WITH NO HAIR? (Albert Whitman, 2021). Norene lives on an acreage in central Iowa with her husband and their rescue pup, Ellie.

Sean McCarthy – Senior Agent at Sean McCarthy Literary

Sean founded his own full-service literary agency in 2013 after working at Overlook Press and Sheldon Fogelman Agency. His clients include New York Times Bestseller Zachariah OHora, Hyewon Yum, Mark Fearing, Jamie A. Swenson, Dana Wulfekotte, Margaret Chiu Greanias, and Junghwa Park. Sean graduated from Macalester College with a degree in English-Creative Writing, and is grateful that he no longer has to spend his winters in Minnesota (sorry, but it’s true!). He is drawn to flawed, multifaceted characters with devastatingly concise writing in YA, and character-driven stories or smartly paced mysteries and adventures in MG. In picture books, he looks more for unforgettable characters, off-beat humor, and especially clever endings. He is not currently interested in message-driven writing or query letters that pose too many questions.


SCBWI Events in June


8:00 – 8:15am      Welcome and brief introductions

8:15 – 9:15am    Janna Morishima : How to Turn Your Creative Mess Into Focused Work

How to Turn Your Creative Mess Into Focused Work

Do you feel overwhelmed by too many ideas? Do you struggle with wrangling plot and characters and theme into a tight, coherent story? Do you have trouble deciding where to start? Do you sometimes have amazing ideas, only to lose them hours or days later?

In this talk, Janna will discuss how to turn your “messy” ideas into concrete action — and finished work!

Janna Morishima is a literary agent specializing in graphic novels and visual storytelling. She currently represents a diverse range of comics creators, including Misako Rocks, Shauna Grant, Andi Watson, and Black Sands Entertainment.

Janna started her career at Scholastic, where she co-founded the Graphix imprint. Later, she was the director of the Kids Group for Diamond Book Distributors, and launched and ran the NYC Department of Education’s “NYC Reads 365” literacy initiative.

She is the founder of Kids Comics Unite, an online community for kids and YA graphic novel professionals. Find out more at and

9:20: – 10:20am Rivkah LaFille: Visual Writing in Graphic Novels

Visual Writing in Graphic Novels

Have you mastered the art of prose or illustration, only to find yourself flopping around with writing or drawing a graphic novel like a fish suddenly grown two left feet, and now you’re being asked to DANCE?

VISUAL WRITING IN GRAPHIC NOVELS is an introductory course for writers learning how to write like an artist and for artists learning to draw like a writer. Because in graphic novels, these two mediums can’t exist apart and separate, but must take each other hands…and do the tango! In order to master one, you must understand and acknowledge the other. Once you have, it will help you write a better script, draw a better book, and become a better collaborator as well as all-in-one graphic novel creator!

Salut! I’m Rivkah LaFille (pronounced “lah-fee”), and I am a children’s writer, illustrator, and graphic novelist who specializes in slice-of-life type MG and YA stories with HEART. My graphic novel series, STEADY BEAT, was nominated to the American Library Association’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens list, and I was Illustrator Coordinator for the Society or Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (in Austin) in which I am still a very active member. I’ve been published in instructional books and children’s magazines, write tutorials, articles, and reviews, teach workshops, and help people pitch their own kidlit GNs, too!

I am also an instructor at Kids Comics Unite–an online resource for kidlit comics professionals!–where I teach classes on both writing and illustrating graphic novels for kids, from babies to teens. I lead multiple online communities dedicated to providing access to resources, information, and critiques to aid in furthering the careers of kidlit comics creators and growing the kidlit comics industry in general.

Currently, I am working on an all-ages graphic novel about Creative Writing with First Second as well as a young adult graphic novel with Candlewick about wishes, family, and learning to let go of someone you love. I’m making plenty of magic, and I hope I can help you make magic too

10:20 – 11:00pm  Lunch Break

11:00 – 12:00pm   Sylvia Bi: Preparation, Illustration, and C

Preparation, Illustration, and Collaboration: Co-Creating A Graphic Novel

Drawing a graphic novel can be daunting, especially when you feel like the technical details of the process are holding you back! This talk will walk graphic novel illustrators through the nitty gritty of the process, from picking file sizes and brush presets, to compiling art references, to prepping files for publishing houses. We’ll also explore the experience of collaborating on a graphic novel where the illustrator is not the writer

Sylvia Bi is a designer at Dial Books for Young Readers, and has previously worked on middle grade covers at Random House Children’s Books, where she developed a passion for hand-drawn type treatments, finding new illustrators, and all things graphic novel-related. When she’s not busy designing books, Sylvia is illustrating them – her current project is Ink Girls, the first book in a two-book MG graphic novel series.

12:05 – 1:05pm     Rachel Sonis: How To Write A Graphic Novel Proposal

How To Write A Graphic Novel Proposal

Unsure of how to put together a polished graphic novel proposal? Get the know-how straight from an editor who has seen her fair share of them.

Rachel Sonis is a children’s book editor at Penguin Workshop, an imprint at Penguin Young readers, where she’s developed a number of critically-acclaimed and bestselling books, including Jessica Hische’s New York Times bestselling picture books Tomorrow I’ll be Brave and Tomorrow I’ll Be Kind, award winning nonfiction YA series the Pocket Change Collective, the Who HQ Graphic Novels series, and Respect the Mic: Celebrating 20 Years of Poetry from a Chicagoland High School. Her list primarily focuses on commercial middle grade, YA, and graphic novels — with the voicey, funny, form-bending picture book thrown into the mix. She’s always on the lookout for projects that center inclusion, joy, and exploration, contain well-crafted voice-driven narratives, and make readers ask themselves one fundamental question: what’s next? Follow her on Twitter: .

1:05 – 1:15pm     Wrap up + Door Prizes