Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Let the Wild Rumpus Start Virtual Folder

Art by Mackinzie Rekers

Virtual Folder Policy
Please be advised that by registering for the SCBWI IA/MN Spring Conference 2021, you have agreed that the content of materials, including but not limited to all handouts and presentations, is copyrighted and may not be reprinted, blogged, tweeted, written, orally transmitted, and/or reproduced without written permission of the copyright holder. This falls into the category of protecting intellectual property.  It would be a breach of copyright law to give away a detailed report of a presenter’s material. You may not share the link to this webpage with anyone. You will have access to this virtual folder until May 25, 2021. Thank you in advance for your professionalism.


SCBWI Anti-Harrassment Policy



Workshop Key: G (general); PB (picture book); MG/YA (middle grade/young adult); NF (nonfiction);

I (illustrators); C (paid critique)


Friday, April 23

I                          9:00-11:15 AM

Kirk Benshoff: Graphic Novel Workshop

What to expect, things to consider, and how to prepare for your next graphic novel project so you get your best book possible!



MG/YA/NF        2:45-4:00 PM
Jessica Anderson: Novel Writing Intensive: Balancing Action and Emotion: Keys to Revising and Knowing When You’re Ready to Submit


Saturday, April 24

PB/I                        8:30-9:45 AM

Luana Horry: A Day in the Life of Your (Seemingly Chill) Picture Book Editor

It’s no secret that editors are busy—almost all publishing professionals are! But our job consists of more than reading manuscripts and giving authors feedback on how to make their work stronger. This presentation will give a fun (and honest) peek into how an editor ushers in a picture book from submission—or idea—to publication and beyond.



PB/MG/YA/NF           10:00-11:00 AM

Aneeka Kalia: The Role of Authenticity Readers

As the industry seeks to diversify its story offerings for young readers, authenticity readers are being employed during the editorial process more often. We’ll talk about their talk about their role in the editorial process, the experience of working with them as an editor, what it’s like to be an authenticity reader, as well as how they can offer new perspectives on your writing and make stories stronger.



PB/MG/YA/NF           11:15 AM-12:15 PM

Melissa Richeson: From Query to Offer…and Beyond!

So you’ve polished your project and fine-tuned your query. Your work is ready to be sent into the agent realm. But what happens after you press “send”? We’ll discuss what happens on the agent’s side after receiving a query, including research, timing, that illusive “gut feeling”, and other factors that play a role in decision-making. Wondering what makes the difference between “I like this” and “I NEED this!” for an agent? It might not be what you think! Then, we’ll move into the stages and expectations of an author/agent relationship. Although it may seem like you’ve “made it” after signing with an agent, there’s still a lot of work to be done. We’ll take a peek into what an agent should do and what an author must do, in order to pursue a career beyond that first manuscript.

Query to Offer Handout



I/PB                      12:30 AM-1:30 PM 

Kirk : Behind the Scenes

Books aren’t made in a vacuum. This session will explore who is involved in the decision-making process and the factors that influence those decisions so you can better understand the industry and best navigate it for yourself.



PB/MG/YA/NF             1:45-2:45 PM
Jessica Anderson: Style & Craft Intensive: Optimizing Symbolism and Plot Devices: How to Ensure Your Style and Pacing Work Hand-in-Hand
  • What can you identify as a symbol or plot device in your manuscript? 
  • Does it organically weave into the global setting, characterization, action and themes of your work? 
  • Does it fall short of meaningfully connecting to any of these elements?
  • Make a list of 1-3 symbols or plot devices currently at work in your manuscript and evaluate each one through the questions above. Identify which symbols/plot devices feel essential and why, and which are not effectively serving the telling. 



G                        3:00-4:00 PM

Luana Horry: The Frenzied Submissions Folder and How One Editor Tackles It

As acquiring editors, our submissions folders are jam-packed with projects that (we hope) have lots of potential. But when there are dozens (and sometimes hundreds!) to read, how does one manage it all? This presentation will explore, first, my personal acquisitions taste, and then talk about what queries stick out to me, why, and how I move forward with my favorites. We will also touch on what not to do and how submissions quickly fall into the TBR abyss.



PB/MG/YA/NF           4:15-5:30 PM

Wild Rumpus Pitch Party: Jessica Anderson, Luana Horry, Melissa Richeson, and Aneeka Kalia

Submit your pitch to Brooke Van Sickle at by Friday, April 2, 2021 for a chance to have your pitch read aloud to editors and agents and receive valuable feedback. In order to get as many pitches as possible read aloud, all pitches must be a maximum of three sentences (Less than 30 seconds when read aloud).




Sunday, April 25

MG/YA        8:30 AM-9:45 AM

Aneeka Kalia: Revising Like an Editor

An inside look into how editors approach the revision process for novels and the kinds of questions that we ask ourselves along the way. Take away tips and tricks that you can apply to your own writing and revision process.




PB          10:00 AM-11:00 AM

Kristen Schroeder: Yay! You Got a Revise & Resubmit (R&R) Request! Now what?

Getting a Revise & Resubmit request from an agent or editor is exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Using case studies from her own experiences, as well as other authors’, Kristen walks through some of the possible scenarios and outcomes.



G                        11:15 AM-12:15 PM

Melissa Richeson: Royalties and Legalese: Understanding and Negotiating Realistic Contracts

Escalators, option clauses, basket accounting … Does contract language make you break out in a sweat? During this session, we’ll decode the legal jargon and take a look at what to expect—and what to avoid—in both agency contracts and publishing contracts. We’ll also talk about contract negotiations, including what’s standard and what you can ask to change. Think you can retire to a private island after signing on the dotted line? Well, you might not want to quit your day job just yet—we’ll discuss realistic advance payouts, tax preparation, and other career-related issues beyond that first contract.

Royalties and Legalese Handout



MG/YA                            12:30-1:45 PM

Jenny Moyer: From Premise to Bookshelf: Writing Marketable MG and YA

Want to write a middle grade or young adult novel that stands out in a crowded market? Author Jenny Moyer will take you through the process of writing a story with a strong commercial hook, as well as getting your completed manuscript into the hands of agents and editors. Get a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to work with an editor at a major publishing house, and tips and tricks you can use to make your own stories reach their publishing potential.



PB/G                                            2:00-3:15 PM

Bao Phi: A Different Journey: My Path to Picture Books

When asked to speak about my journey to my first picture book, I often feel pressured to fit it into an existing narrative: work hard, find an agent, grind it out until it gets done. But my path to it, as my path to poetry, was not typical. I will give a short presentation on how “A Different Pond” went from a rough poem to, inexplicably, a Charlotte Zolotow award winner for Outstanding Writing in a Picture Book and open the rest of the time for a conversation with participants. The aim of this event is not to promote exceptionalism, but rather suggest that sometimes you have to make a road that no one will make for you.



I                                                         3:30-4:45 PM

Joe Hox: Purposeful Play

An illustrator must also be a businessperson, but this doesn’t mean we have to work the way other people do. Purposeful play can break through creative blocks; offer alternate solutions to problems; and even help with promoting your work. Come ready to collaborate and play!



Wild Rumpus Faculty




Submission Guidelines