June Conference Faculty Update

Posted on: April 28, 2016


June Conference Faculty Update

Kurestin Armada_PSLiterary_200px 

Kurestin Armada From P.S. Literary Agency

Kurestin will be joining us this year, replacing Maria Vincente from P.S. Literary who has had to cancel. Kurestin will be filling Maria's spot in First page sessions, Editor/Agent Panel, Pitch Sessions, One-On-One Critiques and meal tables. Kurestin will also be doing Maria's workshop on 'An Agent's Guide To Pitching Your Novel'.

Kurestin Armada began her publishing career as an intern with Workman Publishing, and spent time as an assistant at The Lotts Agency before joining P.S. Literary. She holds a B.A. in English from Kenyon College, as well as a publishing certificate from Columbia University. On the children's side she is actively looking for young adult, middle grade, illustrated picture books, and on the adult side she is looking for science fiction, fantasy, magical realism, and literary fiction. She is especially drawn to stories with a compelling voice, a well-built and diverse world, and a touch of humor. Kurestin is based in New York City, and spends most of her time in the city's thriving indie bookstores. 

An Agents Guide to Pitching Your Novel
In this workshop, Kurestin will share exactly what it is that literary agents are looking to find in your query letter. She'll discuss strategies for pitching your MG or YA novel that will get you noticed in the slush pile as well as the most common query letter mistakes-and how you can avoid them. Kurestin will also help you pull out the best parts of your query for an in person pitch, and give tips for nailing the pitch. It is recommended that you bring a draft of your query letter.  

Looking forward to seeing you in June!

2016 June Conference News

Posted on: March 3, 2016


Registration is Now Open

for the June 2016 Summer Conference!

Early Bird Pricing Deadline: 9 p.m., April 4
Regular Pricing Deadline: 9 p.m., May 7


PLUS: One of our great illustrator Spring events
is still open with a few spots left!

  • EVOLUTION RESOLUTION: SOLD OUT To be added to our waiting list email Karen HERE




We are so excited to open registration for the 2016 NJSCBWI Annual Summer Conference in June.  We have a great lineup of faculty and 64 workshops for you to attend, plus all your favorite features such as first page sessions, agent pitching, book fair, pre-dinner social, illustrator intensive, panels and a new feature: Round Tables! All to help you on your journey to publication.

Kidlit TV, http://kidlit.tv/
will also be there on Saturday to film, interview conference attendees and host a KidLit TV Panel about adapting new and classic children's books across many different media platforms.


Quick tips before heading to the registration site …
To get the most out of your registration and make it as seamless as possible, set aside an hour with your favorite beverage and follow the general registration instructions. Have the general schedule, faculty bios and workshop descriptions handy and use the registration worksheet to help you stay on track. There are space limits to certain sessions and other info to be aware of, so be sure to click a 'details' link where you see it. Also, when registering, if a pdf pops up with 2015 dates, simply refresh your browser, or empty your caches, then refresh. 

Most important tip of all: DO NOT USE THE BROWSER BACK BUTTON when you are registering, because you will lose everything and have to start again. Simply, take your time, and if you need to go back to a previous page, simply click one of the tabs within your registration.
FINAL NOTE: If you have a NJSCBWI credit for this year's conference, you MUST CONTACT THE RA BEFORE registering. (Regretfully, we cannot honor the credit if you have already registered.)
Cathy Thole-Daniels at newjersey-ra2@scbwi.org  
CLICK HERE FOR ALL YOUR FAQ (frequently asked questions) Where you will find links to the conference schedule, workshop descriptions, faculty bios and more details on cost, lodging and contact info.

To register—and for all the information you need about the conference go to the registration website here.
Can't wait to see you in June!
Cathy, Rosanne, Karen and the NJSCBWI Team

Fall Craft Weekend: Weekend Overview

Posted on: September 30, 2015

Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015     


12:15-12:30 p.m.          Registration / Stuart Hall


12:10-12:50 p.m.          WELCOME panel/intro to editors/agents / Stuart Hall


1 – 2 p.m.  WS1 / Stuart Hall

WS1A: The Picture Book: A Unique Genre w/ Trinka Hakes Noble

WS1B: Creating a Broad Research Bank For Your Novel w/ Charlotte Bennardo

WS1C: Painting Children—Watercolor w/ Karen Romagna  (Illustration)


2:10 – 3:10 p.m. WS2 / Stuart Hall

WS2A: Explaining Complex or Unfamiliar Material in Picture Books w/ Laurie Wallmark

WS2B: The Illusion of Life: Writing that Breathes on the Page w/ Mayrose Wood

WS2C: Pacing a Picture Book w/ Greg Pizzoli (Illustration)


3:10-3:30                           BREAK / Stuart Hall Basement Lounge


3:30 – 4:30 p.m. WS3 / Stuart Hall

WS3A: Rock Tumbling a Picture Book: The Craft of Revision w/ Beth Ferry

WS3B: Plot, Plan, and Adapt w/ Matt Myklusch

WS3C: Strengthening Our Sketchbook Skills w/ Leeza Hernandez


1 – 4:30 p.m.                      Critiques with editors/agents for Sunday Writers Day attendees


4:30 – 5:00 p.m.              WRAP-UP / Stuart Hall


Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015

6 – 8:30 p.m.        Dinner with the Faculty (Pre-registration required. Fee applies) / Mackay Center Lounge


Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015 – Writers/Illustrators Day


8 – 9 a.m.                              Registration & Breakfast / Mackay Center


9 – 9:45 a.m.                      Faculty panel / Mackay Center


10 a.m. – 12 p.m.   WS4 / Stuart Hall

FPA. First Page Session w/ Allison Weiss & Saba Sulaiman Room 1

FPB. First Page Session w/ Emily Seife & Amy Stern Room 2

FPC. First Page Session w/ Allison Moore & Molly Jaffa Room 3


10 a.m. – 12 p.m.            Illustrator Intensive With Andrea Miller & Greg Pizzoli


12 – 1:15 p.m.                   LUNCH / Mackay Center Auditorium


1:30 – 3:30 p.m.              ROUND TABLES / Stuart Hall

Roundtable A w/ Allison Weiss

Roundtable B w/ Emily Seife      

Roundtable C w/ Allison Moore

Roundtable D w/ Saba Sulaiman 

Roundtable E w/ Amy Stern

Roundtable F w/ Molly Jaffa


Illustrator Round Table A w/ Andrea Miller & Illustrator Round Table B w/ Greg Pizzoli    

(Note: illustrator round tables switch after first hour to other mentor)


3:40-3:50 p.m.                BREAK / Stuart Hall Basement Lounge


3:50 – 4:50 p.m.              WS7 / Stuart Hall / Stuart Hall Auditorium Closing Keynote Sunday w/ Maryrose Wood


3:50-4:50                           Remaining Writers Day Critiques/Overflow


4:50-5:15 p.m.                WRAP UP / THANK YOUs / Stuart Hall Auditorium


Click here for a downloadable pdf of the Weekend Overview.


Click here to register NOW!


Fall Craft Weekend: Lodging Information

Posted on: September 30, 2015

ON-CAMPUS: Princeton Theological Seminary. Erdman Center. 20 Library Place, Princeton, NJ


If you choose to stay with PTS, you’ll find that the lodging facilities provide a peaceful, retreat-like setting for independent study and overnight accommodations, with internet access in your room, daily housekeeping, complimentary coffee and tea available 24/7, and coin-operated laundry facilities onsite. Lounges with television, VCR and DVD, piano, and a fireplace are available. All these amenities provide opportunities for fellowship and networking with colleagues, as well as quiet indoor or outdoor spaces for spiritual renewal!

  • Single bed in room:           $65
  • Double bed in room:          $80  (limited availability)


Room block is under “Society Of Book Writers” There are a limited number of rooms available on campus. Book early to avoid disappointment. To book a room at PTS, call directly at (609) 497-7990.

OFF-CAMPUS: Crowne Plaza, Princeton, 900 Scudders Mill Rd, Plainsboro Township, NJ 08536


If you prefer the luxury of a more traditional hotel setting, the Crowne Plaza, Princeton is a short ride from the Seminary and is offering a single king room rate of 99.00 + tax. The cut-off date for reservations is 10/25/2015.

Use this link to book your room online at The Crowne Plaza. 

Other local hotels located on Route 1 near downtown Princeton include:

Hyatt Regency Princeton
102 Carnegie Center
Princeton, NJ 08540-6293
Tel: 609 987 1234


Holiday Inn Express
870 Scudders Mill Rd
Plainsboro, NJ 08536
Tel: 800 315 2621


Princeton Marriot At Forrestal
100 College Road East
Princeton, NJ 08540
Tel: 609 452 7800

Click here for a downloadable PDF of the Fall Craft Weekend Lodging Information

NJSCBWI Fall Craft Weekend: Workshop Descriptions

Posted on: September 30, 2015

Please note as part of the FREE* portion offered to SCBWI Members, the following workshops will take place on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015.

WS1—1 to 2 p.m.

WS1A: The Picture Book: A Unique Genre (Picture books are NOT easy!) w/ Trinka Hakes Noble (PB)
Trinka will discuss the unique and complex craft of the picture book featuring her book The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash, illustrated by Steven Kellogg. You will be guided through your own wordless sequence as you hone and enhance your picture book craft.

WS1B: Creating a Broad Research Bank For Your Novel w/ Charlotte Bennardo (MG/YA)
Go beyond using Google to broaden the depth of research for your novel. As an exercise, attendees will brainstorm about other research tools they have discovered. Charlotte will compile a final list that will be made available as a download post-event.

WS1C: Painting Children—Watercolor w/ Karen Romagna (Illustration)
Learn some of the tricks that Karen discovered while illustrating her picture book, Voyage. She will share the importance of good photo reference, using a limited palette, and the emotions you can trigger with facial expressions and body language. Bring sketches of your own characters to work on during the workshop.

WS2—2:10 to 3:10 p.m.

WS2A: Explaining Complex or Unfamiliar Material in Picture Books w/ Laurie Wallmark (PB)
Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, a picture book is the perfect medium to introduce concepts and facts to younger readers. But this is of little use if the child (or the adult reader!) can’t understand the content being presented. Luckily, because of the very nature of picture books, there are many ways to explain complex and/or unfamiliar material in a way accessible to children. This talk will discuss and give examples, from both nonfiction and fiction, of over twenty such methods.

WS2B: The Illusion of Life: Writing that Breathes on the Page w/ Mayrose Wood (MG/YA)
Everyone knows that a really great book can make you miss your stop on the train! But how do we writers use mere words to establish and maintain such a vivid sense of reality that our readers get lost in the fictional world we’ve created? Through examples and writing exercises attendees will explore John Gardner’s concept of the “fictional dream,” and learn how good writing craft can make our stories spring to life in the mind of the reader.

WS2C: Pacing a Picture Book w/ Greg Pizzoli (Illustration)
Using some simple text, Greg will work with illustrators to help develop sketches and demonstrate the visual pacing of a picture book.

WS3—2:10 to 3:10 p.m.

WS3A: Rock Tumbling a Picture Book: The Craft of Revision w/ Beth Ferry (PB)
In this workshop, we will talk about turning the first draft of a story into a manuscript that is ready for submission by cutting, shaping and polishing each sentence. We will explore four major steps of revision and will do hands-on revision exercises. We will also examine some editor-assigned edits and how they affect the final product.

WS3B: Plot, Plan, and Adapt w/ Matt Myklusch (MG/YA)
Mike will discuss his writing process which relies on very detailed outlines, but also knowing when to stick to the plan and when to throw it out the window. Bring a short synopsis of a work-in-progress. Matt will guide attendees to break down their story into acts, in order to help get a handle on story foundation and story destination.

WS3C: Strengthening Our Sketchbook Skills w/ Leeza Hernandez (Illustration)
Do you feel you are lacking a sense of creativity and that it’s holding you back from generating new ideas, characters and/or stories? Wish you could get a better handle on visual world-building? Not really sure where your illustrative voice is? Through examples, and some simple exercises, attendees will learn how to retool their sketchbook in order to rediscover their illustrative individuality, take inspiration from the world around them and build an arsenal of imagery they can use as fodder for future illustration projects.


Click here to for a downloadable PDF of the workshop descriptions.


Click here to register NOW!

Fall Craft Weekend 2015 – Faculty Bios

Posted on: September 29, 2015

All speakers listed alphabetically including editors, agents, designer, keynote and author/illustrator speakers.

Charlotte Bennardo Until Hollywood calls, Charlotte lives in NJ with her husband, three children, two needy cats and sometimes a deranged squirrel. She is the co-author of Blonde Ops (St. Martin’s/Dunne) and the Sirenz series (Sirenz, Sirenz Back In Fashion, Flux). She’s written for magazines and newspapers. Currently she’s working on solo sci-fi, ghost, and time travel novels and loves to hear from fans on Twitter @charbennardo or through her blog, charlotteebennardo.blogspot.com

Beth Ferry is the New York Times Bestselling author of Stick and Stone, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. She is also the author of Land Shark, released this August and Pirate’s Perfect Pet, coming Fall 2016. Beth is represented by Pippin Properties and lives with her family by the beach.

Trinka Hakes Noble is the award-winning author of more than thirty picture books including The Scarlet Stockings Spy (IRA Teachers’ Choice 2005), The Last Brother, The Legend of the Cape May Diamond, The Legend of Michigan and Apple Tree Christmas, which she wrote and illustrated. Other titles include The Orange Shoes (IRA Teachers’ Choice 2008), The Pennsylvania Reader, The New Jersey Reader, Little New Jersey, Little Pennsylvania and The People of Twelve Thousand Winters. Ms. Noble also wrote the ever-popular Jimmy’s Boa series and Meanwhile Back at the Ranch, both featured on PBS’s Reading Rainbow. She currently lives in northern New Jersey. Learn more at her Web site trinkahakesnoble.com.

Leeza Hernandez is a picture book illustrator-author who spends her creative time noodling around with story ideas and printmaking in her studio. Her latest illustrated book and third in the Homework series—Eat Your U.S. History Homework (Charlesbridge)—releases October 13, 2015. Other books include Cat Napped! Dog Gone! (Putnam) and Never Play Music Right Next To The Zoo, written by actor and NY Times best-selling author John Lithgow. For more, visit leezaworks.com. You can also follow her on Twitter and Instagram @leezaworks

Molly Jaffa has been working closely with Folio authors’ projects since 2008, and is an Associate Member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives (AAR). In addition to building her selective but growing list of fiction and nonfiction clients, Molly is Folio’s Co-Director of International Rights. She actively pursues sales of international rights and attends all major international book fairs, helping Folio clients’ books reach wide audiences in as many formats as possible. Her children’s fiction clients include #1 New York Times bestselling author Julie Murphy (SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY and DUMPLIN’), Lana Krumwiede (The Psi Chronicles middle grade trilogy and JUST ITZY), Jeramey Kraatz (THE CLOAK SOCIETY), Kristen Lippert-Martin (TABULA RASA), and Barrie Summy (THE DISAPPEARANCE OF EMILY H). You can follow her on Twitter @molly_jaffa.

Andrea Miller Several years ago, while attending the University of the Arts in Philadelphia by day and scooping ice cream by night, Andrea would have never dreamed she'd be designing children's books after graduation. Sure enough, she moved straight from Philly to New York after graduating and has been designing at Sterling Publishing ever since. Andrea designs and assists in art direction on a wide range of children's books at Sterling, from picture books to non-fiction science series to middle grade novels. She loves utilizing artists with a cinematic approach to their work just as much as she adores flat, simplified graphic styles so long as the art shows emotion, character, and movement. She lives with her wife, her six bookshelves, and a box of ink and brushes in the remote depths of Brooklyn, NY.

Allison Moore is an associate editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. She works on a wide range of books from illustrated titles to middle grade and young adult novels. She is the editor of the upcoming City Shapes by Diana Murray and Bryan Collier; Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham, and President of the Whole Sixth Grade and The Sweetest Sound by Sherri Winston, and also co-edited Beep Beep Go to Sleep by Todd Tarpley and John Rocco, The Little Shop of Monsters by R.L. Stine and Marc Brown, Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes, and The Nuts series by Eric Litwin and Scott Magoon. She has worked on picture books by Todd Parr, Sujean Rim, Nancy Tafuri, Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, and Bob Staake; novelty books by Sandra Magsamen; and novels by Karen Healey, Diana Lopez, and Andrea Davis Pinkney, among others. Allison is particularly interested in picture books with fresh, contemporary art styles and clever stories that appeal to all ages; character-driven chapter books with original premises and a strong sense of voice; and middle grade and YA novels that encourage readers to open their minds and consider unexpected points of view and perspectives. She also loves epistolary novels and other innovative narrative and visual formats. Before joining LBYR in 2010, Allison interned at Bloomsbury & Walker Books for Young Readers, Barefoot Books, the Kneerim & Williams agency, and Simon & Schuster UK; worked at a bookstore and at her hometown library; and graduated from Boston University and the Columbia Publishing Course. In her spare time she also runs the book club at Atlas: DIY, a cooperative empowerment center for immigrant youth. You can find her on Twitter @allisonm610.

Matt Myklusch is a middle-grade fantasy/adventure writer and the author of SEABORNE series (Lerner Books) and The Jack Blank trilogy (Simon & Schuster, Aladdin). When he's not busy writing about kite-boarding pirates, super-heroes, and robot-zombies, Matt hosts The Other Side of the Story Podcasts, speaking with other authors about their creative process and path to publication. Matt lives in New Jersey with his wife and family, where he is always hard at work on his next book. All bios are listed alphabetically including editors, agents, art directors and author/illustrator speakers.

Greg Pizzoli is an author and illustrator of books, mostly for children. His published titles include The Watermelon Seed, Number One Sam, Templeton Gets His Wish, Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower, Good Night Owl, and others. He was the 2014 recipient of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, and the 2015 recipient of the Pennsylvania ONE BOOK Award. He lives in the Bella Vista neighborhood of Philadelphia with his wife and artist Kay Healy.

Karen Romagna recently made her debut as a picture illustrator with Billy Collins’ poem, Voyage. She paints her illustrations traditionally with watercolor. Much of her inspiration comes from nature on long bike rides through rural New Jersey or walking along the beach at the Jersey Shore. Karen is the Illustrator Coordinator for the New Jersey chapter of SCBWI.

Emily Seife is an editor at Scholastic Press. Emily edits middle grade and young adult fiction, including the New York Times bestseller TombQuest: Book of the Dead by Michael Northrop, Faceless by Alyssa Sheinmel, and Moving Target by Christina Diaz Gonzalez. She loves YA with dangerous or flawed protagonists, and middle grade with loads of humor and heart. Emily lives in Brooklyn, NY, and you can find her at @e_seife.  

Amy Stern started at the Sheldon Fogelman Agency in 2010 as an agent assistant and has spent the past five years taking on additional responsibilities. While she has worked with many of the agency's award-winning clients, including Jerry Pinkney and Peggy Rathmann, Amy spends most of her time working with new and up-and-coming authors and illustrators. She also mentors writing students in the MFA program at Simmons College's Center for the Study of Children's Literature. Amy majored in English and creative writing at Bryn Mawr College and received masters degrees in children's literature and library science at Simmons College. Prior to joining the agency, she interned at Writers House. Amy is open to everything from picturebooks through young adult novels, and interested in working with authors and illustrators as well as those who do both. She gravitates towards projects that deal with underrepresented identities, and has a soft spot for stories and characters that explore liminal spaces.

Saba Sulaiman is the newest agent at Talcott Notch Literary Services, a boutique agency located in Milford, CT. Born and raised in Sri Lanka, she grew up all over South Asia before emigrating to the United States to further her education. She holds a BA from Wellesley College and an MA from the University of Chicago, where she studied modern Persian literature. After working for various magazines and publications in Seattle, Moscow, and Karachi, she entered the trade-publishing world through an editorial internship at Sourcebooks. Being a first generation immigrant who is constantly negotiating her own identity and sense of belonging in a place she now calls “home,” she is committed to highlighting more diverse voices with compelling stories to tell; stories that demonstrate the true range of perspectives that exist in this world, and address urgent and often under-explored issues in children’s fiction with veracity and heart. Follow her on Twitter @agentsaba.

Laurie Wallmark writes exclusively for children. She can't imagine having to restrict herself to only one type of book, so she writes picture books, middle-grade novels, poetry, and nonfiction. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. When not writing or studying, Laurie teaches computer science at a local community college, both on campus and to students in prison. The picture book biography, Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine (Creston Books, 2015), is Laurie’s first book.

Alison S. Weiss is an editor at Sky Pony Press. Her focus is chapter books through YA. She’s especially eager to find a middle grade with a cozy feel, and a voice-driven, sweeping, romantic YA. She’s worked with New York Times best-selling author Jessica Verday (Of Monsters and Madness), Agatha Award winner Penny Warner (The Code Busters Club series), YALSA-award winning Sarah Cross (Kill Me Softly and Tear You Apart), ITW Award Finalist Kristen Lippert-Martin (Tabula Rasa), Mike A. Lancaster, Kristina McBride, Jessica Taylor, Amalie Howard, and Sarah McGuire, among others. She also assisted on Christopher Myers's H.O.R.S.E., which won a 2013 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award and the 2014 Odyssey Award. Follow her on Twitter @alioop7. SPECIAL NOTE: Alison is willing to critique PB, but does not take on picture books. Should she feel your project is promising, she will pass it along to the appropriate colleague.

Maryrose Wood is the author of The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, the critically acclaimed series for middle-grade readers (published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Children’s Books). Book I, The Mysterious Howling, was a Junior Library Guild selection and named a Best Children’s Book of 2010 by The Christian Science Monitor, Kirkus Reviews, and others. Wood has also written novels for young adults, including My Life: The Musical (Delacorte) and Why I Let My Hair Grow Out (Berkley Books, currently in development for television by the Disney Channel). Her personal essays and short fiction appear in Recycle This Book: 100 Top Children’s Book Authors Tell You How to Go Green (Penguin Random House), Dear Bully: Seventy Authors Tell Their Stories (HarperCollins), Who Done It? (Soho Teen), and Starry-Eyed (Running Press). Maryrose teaches writing at NYU’s Gallatin School and in the Stony Brook Children’s Literature Fellows program, and in private workshops that incorporate yogic practices as a means of freeing and directing the energy inherent in good storytelling. Her most recent book is The Unmapped Sea, the fifth installment in the Incorrigible Children series.

Click here for a downloadable file of the Fall Craft Weekend faculty bios.


Click here to register NOW!

Fall Craft Weekend Nov. 2015

Posted on: September 26, 2015



Come join us at the Princeton Theological Seminary

in the heart of Princeton! 

Princeton Seminary pic_large


Registration link: Coming Soon!


Here is a quick peek on our line up: Saturday we will have nine author/illustrator workshops that include craft related exercises. On Sunday, our writer/illustrators day includes a new feature; a 2-hour round table where you can get even more feedback on your work! There will be separate round tables for writers and illustrators. As we are wrapping up the final write-up, our guest editor and agents include:


  • Keynote speaker Maryrose Wood the awesome author of ‘The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place’, a middle grade series.
  • Gregg Pizzoli an award winning illustrator/author of several books including ‘The Watermelon Seed.’
  • Emily Seife, Associate Editor at Scholastic Press
  • Allison Moore, Associate Editor at Little Brown Books For Young Readers
  • Alison Weiss, Editor at Skyhorse Publishing
  • Saba Sulaiman at Talcott Notch Literary Services
  • Amy Stern at the Sheldon Fogelman Agency
  • Molly Jaffa at Folio Literary Management


If you are a writer planning on signing up for a critique be prepared to upload your manuscript pages when you register.


Hope to see you there!

Cathy and the NJSCBWI Team
Cathy Daniels
Regional Advisor, NJSCBWI


Tips, Goals For Conference-Goers

Posted on: May 12, 2015

By Lyn Sirota

Whether this conference is your first writer's conference or your twenty-first, there is a level of excitement and anticipation of the big event. Who will I meet? What new gems will help build my skill sets? And the big one…will I get closer to selling a manuscript?

After all, isn't that what every writer is after? True. But learning from the process along the way builds strong writers who value the journey. The people we meet, and how we present ourselves and our work is game changing. So it's good to have a plan for each conference. The plan doesn't need to be anything formal. Just some forethought.

It might take a few readings of the conference materials to understand the flow of the day/s. If the selection of workshops or sessions is intricate, print the options in order to read through everything thoroughly and highlight or underline interests and choices. It helps to have a first choice and a back up choice. Learn the rules to know if it is acceptable to move between sessions during session time.

Plan your information management ahead of time. Decide how you're taking notes. Whether it is recording notes in a notebook, laptop, tablet or phone. Often handouts are given and it can be helpful to take notes on the handouts or take a picture of the handout with a smart phone for use later.

If there are editors you know you would like to meet, make a list of them. If you are going to their sessions, you'll know who to look for later. If you're not, you might need the assistance of a conference volunteer to point them out to you.

Develop a "pitch" just in case anyone—whether it be editor or colleague—asks what your manuscript is about. Think of a pitch like a help wanted advertisement. Say just enough to pique the interest of the other party without giving it all away. It's helpful to rehearse this and run it past other authors or a critique group to test it out.

Have an exit strategy. There will be many people to talk to and it is important to maximize time. Whether it is "Excuse me I need to find the rest room" or "Excuse me I need to locate an editor I've been wanting to introduce myself to," all of these help the day run a little smoother and help accomplish goals.

Wear comfortable, but professional clothing and shoes. Dress in layers. Conferences often have issues with heat and cooling, so it helps to have options. Your conference experience is always a function of what you make of it. Going into it with an open mind is, perhaps, the best step in the journey of becoming published!


There are a few more spots still available at the New Jersey Summer Conference, sign up today!



Miriam Newman joins the June Conference

Posted on: May 11, 2015

NewmanMiriam_headshotMiriam Newman works primarily on fiction and nonfiction for ages 10 and up. She has worked on a wide variety of titles, notably The Name of the Blade trilogy by Zoë Marriot, The Worst Witch to the Rescue by Jill Murphy, and the upcoming feminist historical fiction anthology A Tyranny of Petticoats. While Miriam is interested in all genres, she has a particular fondness for science fiction, fantasy, and mystery and is especially interested in books with LGBTQAI characters and books involving LGBTQAI, sexuality, consent, and mental health themes. 

Miriam replaces Carter Hasegawa during the summer conference. She will present "The Candlewick Editorial Process" workshop on both days, particpate in two First-Page sessions  (WS5 FPF & WS6 FPG) and critique those who signed up for a manuscript critique with Carter. Questions? Contact us.

Announcing the Lucky Duck 2015 Diversity Grant

Posted on: May 7, 2015

Exciting news! Thanks to the generous support of some kind donors, NJSCBWI is able to offer a Diversity Grant to one NJ member for this year's summer conference. 

The Diversity Grant is to provide support to authors who identify as a racial minority (African American, Hispanic, Asian, or Native American) or as a member of the LGBTQ community.

The grant will cover base admission, processing fees, meals and a one-night stay at the hotel for the 2015 NJSCBWI Summer Conference—and will be drawn lottery style, through a random number generator.

You can apply now through 9 p.m., May 14, 2015. People who identify with the criteria above and have already registered for the summer conference can also apply and if drawn, a credit will be applied to the registration.

Apply for the Lucky Duck 2015 Diversity Grant here.

*Applicants must be a NJ resident, not received a full Lucky Duck Scholarship and a member of SCBWI for at least on year. Additional lodging, travel and other conference activities that incur additional costs are not included.


A heartfelt thank you to Tracey Baptiste who proposed, organized and made this Diveristy Grant possible along with the generosity of the following donors: Move Books, Beehive Designer Collective, Anne Ursu, Tracey Baptiste, Heather Bouwman, Gwenda Bond, Christina Gonzalez, Laurel Snyder, Kate Messner, Martha Brockenbrough, and Elana Kuczynski Arnold. We are so grateful to all of you!