Creative Journey! - SCBWI Midsouth

The Annual SCBWI Midsouth
Fall Conference
Be the Hero of Your
Creative Journey!
September 19th and 20th, 2015 (Intensives Friday, September 18th)
Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center • 820 Crescent Centre Dr, Franklin, TN 37067
These keys are suggestions and are not mandatory.
=Recommended for first time conference attendees
=Sessions for illustrators
=Sessions for novelists
=Recommended for Published Authors and/or Illustrators (PAL)
=Sessions for picture book writers
FRIDAY, September 18th
Pre-conference intensives are available for an additional fee of $50 each. Registration is limited. To register for one or two
intensives, please check the appropriate box on your online conference registration. Intensive attendees must also be conference
attendees. Intensive registrations are non-transferrable.
12:30-2:30 pm Sara Sargent The Tension Headache: Raising the Stakes in Your Manuscript
FT Nov. PAL If you’ve been looking to up the stakes in your novel, look no further. We’ll discuss how to increase
tension across the entire manuscript as well as scene-by-scene. You’ll walk away with a better sense of
how to execute solid pacing and create the consummate page-turner. Limit 30
12:30-2:30 pm John Rocco & Kristen Nobles The Visual Perspective on Writing Picture Books
FT Illus. PB Get a two-for-one perspective from Caldecott honor winner John Rocco and Candlewick Art Director
Kristen Nobles. John Rocco discusses his process of writing a picture book from the ugly start to the
hopefully wonderful finish, while always keeping pictures in mind. Kristen Nobles leads on-site exercises
to free creativity in establishing picture book elements of character, vocabulary, visual story, pacing,
setting, and reason, as well as sequential narrative. Good for PB writers and illustrators. No drawing skills
required. Limit 30
2:45-4:45 pm FT Nov. 2:45-4:45 pm FT Illus. Courtney C. Stevens Character As A House: Crafting Characters Who Stand Out
If I love a character, I will follow them into the wardrobe ... into Hogwarts or gulags, into a world of
apocalyptic craziness or a fight to the death or their own emotional instability. If I love a character, I will
follow them anywhere. Creating a character who stands out on the page and in the heart of the reader
doesn’t happen by accident. This session will walk attendees through a virtual house of crafting believable
characters with emotional resonance and agency; encouraging the writer to be both an architect and
archivist of their story. (Attendees will leave with an inventory tool they can use again and again.) Limit 30
Kristen Nobles & John Rocco Your Best Dummy: What is working, what is not, and how to make it shine!
Get the expert opinions from BOTH Candlewick Art Director Kristen Nobles and Caldecott honor winner
John Rocco on YOUR best dummy, and what you need to know before you send it out in the world! Every
dummy will be reviewed and critiqued in a group setting during the Intensive. You may also hang your
finished spread on our Intensive Gallery Wall, which will be on display all weekend. Upon registration you
will receive detailed instructions from Illustrator Coordinator Susan Eaddy for submission process. All pdf
dummies are due to Susan Eaddy by August 14th. ([email protected])
Conference registration, intensive registration, and all fees must be received by August 14th to participate.
Limit 12
Want to observe this intensive? Illustrators wishing to observe only may do so for a fee of $25. Check the
“observe only” box on the online registration. Limit 15
Friday, September 18 Intensives
7:30-9:30 pm Midsouth Dessert and Autograph Party with Portfolio Showcase
Come to meet and greet other Midsouth Conference attendees and our esteemed faculty: Tracy Barrett,
Amy Cloud, Kelly Creagh, Julie Danielson, Susan Eaddy, Cate Hart, Lauren MacLeod, Jen Malone, Rick Margolis,
Sarah Miller, Gail Nall, Kristen Nobles, John Rocco, Sara Sargent, Brooks Sherman, Courtney C. Stevens, and
Kristin O’Donnell Tubb. All events will take place on the ground floor of Embassy Suites, where wine, tea,
and dessert will be available for conference attendees and faculty. Conference folders will be available at
the conference registration desk.
Autograph Party, 7:30-8:30 pm:
Purchase that special book and have it signed by conference faculty members Tracy Barrett, Kelly Creagh,
Julie Danielson, Susan Eaddy, Jen Malone, Gail Nall, John Rocco, Courtney C. Stevens, and Kristin O’Donnell Tubb,
as well as other conference-attending authors and illustrators.* Friends and family are welcome to attend the
autograph portion of the party.
*Registered conference attendees, PAL-level SCBWI members only (from any region), limited to the first 10
authors or illustrators to complete online conference registration, pay registration fees, and send in titles
(limit 5) with ISBN numbers. Titles for signing must be published as children’s literature, be returnable,
have no minimum order requirements, and be available from Ingram. Exceptions may be made if the book
is already stocked by Parnassus Books. (Authors and illustrators should determine the publishing date and
availability of their titles before deciding to participate.) To participate in the 2015 autograph party, all
registration, fees, and title information must be received by July 8. Send an email with contact info (please
indicate whether you are an author, illustrator, or both), along with titles, ISBN numbers, and any questions
to Jessica Young at [email protected] Titles from the autograph party will also be made
available for purchase in the conference bookstore throughout the weekend.
Portfolio Showcase, 7:30-9:30 pm: View the beautiful work of our conference-attending illustrators!*
*To display, bring your portfolio to the conference registration desk between 4:45-5:15 pm or 6:30-7:15 pm
on Friday, September 18. There is no charge to display a portfolio. For more info on setting up and displaying
a portfolio, see the Portfolio Guidelines at (No digital portfolios. Please
collect your portfolio after the Dessert Party at 9:30 pm.)
SCBWI PAL Display:
SCBWI members, PAL level (any region), that are attending the Midsouth conference may bring up to
three books (written or illustrated for children) and business cards/promotional material for display
outside the Grand Ballroom on Saturday and Sunday. Book set up will take place at 7:00 pm, Friday,
September 18; book pick up will take place at 1:00 pm Sunday, September 20. Autograph party
participants will have their books displayed in the conference bookstore.
Friday, September 18 Dessert and Autograph Party Portfolio Showcase
Schedule of Events:
(You must pre-register for breakout sessions on the online registration form. Please refer to this brochure when making breakout
session choices.)
SATURDAY, September 19th
7:30-8:15 am Registration
8:30-9:15 Keynote – John Rocco Always Striving To Make A Better Book
John will discuss his experiences in authoring and illustrating children’s books and what he has learned
along the way. He will talk about what drives us to do what we do and how we can stay true to our vision.
9:15-9:30 9:30-10:30 Breakout I
FT Nov. PB FT PB FT Nov. PAL A Kristin O’Donnell Tubb Children’s Writing and Publishing 101
“I’ve written a book for teens/tweens/middle graders/children: now what? Do I need an agent? How
should I format my manuscript? How do I find a publisher? What should I do at THIS conference?” A highly
recommended session for those attending their first conference or just beginning the writing adventure.
B Sarah Miller Picture Book Hooks (and endings)
Like all great pop songs, good picture books need good hooks. Similar to their musical counterparts, a picture
book hook is what keeps the reader at it through the last page and inspires them to go back to that book again
and again. Explore what makes a standout hook and how to complement that hook with a great ending.
C Sara Sargent What A Character!: Developing and Growing the People in Your Novel
Strong characters are one of the most important elements of a project. You want your readers to
fall in love with — or, perhaps, totally despise — the folks who populate your story. Either way, you
want to inspire strong feelings in your readers! In this session we’ll discuss how to build interesting,
evocative characters and how you can get to know your characters better. Fun exercises galore!
D Susan Eaddy Beginning the Illustrator Journey
Illus. How should I put together my portfolio? Do I need a website? Do I need an agent? Learn strategies
for promoting yourself and getting your artwork in front of Creative Directors. Tips for illustrators at all
levels whether you are fresh out of school or just new to the world of children’s books.
10:30-10:45 10:45-11:45 Break
Breakout II
A Brooks Sherman Crafting a Compelling Query
Pick up tips and strategies for how to make your query letter stand out from the slush. Literary agent
Brooks Sherman will share dos and don’ts of what to put in your query, and how to format it to keep it
tight yet informative.
FT Nov. PB FT Nov. B Amy Cloud Crafting Come-Alive Middle Grade Characters
Middle grade book characters can connect and stay with children in a way no other character can. In
this workshop you’ll learn the ins and outs of crafting middle grade characters with heart, dimension,
and internal consistency — the kind of characters kids will relate to, love, and want to return to again
and again. We’ll go through examples of what makes a character sing and the concrete steps you can
take to ensure your characters are robust enough to hold the attention of an 8-12 year old even in this
age of digital distraction. We’ll also discuss techniques that will help your middle grade characters
stand out to prospective editors and agents.
Continued on next page …
Saturday, September 19
FT Nov. C Becky Monds Inside Thomas Nelson for the Young Adult/Middle Grade Author
Editor Becky Monds gives us an inside look at the daily life of an editor at the Thomas Nelson imprint
of HarperCollins. She will discuss how novels are selected for acquisition, the editing process, and
sending a book into the marketplace.
Illus. D John Rocco Picture Book Anatomy 101
An intensive look at picture book making, focusing on the pacing and storytelling with images and words.
11:45-12:00 Break
1:00-1:10 Break
12:00-1:00 Lunch
1:10-1:50 Author and Illustrator Panel Achieving Work/Life Balance
Authors Kelly Creagh, Jen Malone, Gail Nall, Courtney C. Stevens, and Kristin O’Donnell Tubb, and
author/illustrators Susan Eaddy and John Rocco will discuss their own personal writing and illustrating
process and answer questions from conference attendees.
1:50-2:00 Break
First Pages
First Pages is a unique opportunity to gain insight into the first impression thoughts of an agent or editor
when a manuscript comes across his/her desk. Anonymous first pages will be chosen randomly, read aloud to
the group, and faculty will discuss the ever-important question: Would I read more? (First page submission
is not required to attend this session, and not all first pages will be read. Attendees may pre-register for one
session only.)
A Picture Book – Julie Danielson and Sarah Miller
B Middle Grade – Tracy Barrett and Amy Cloud
C Young Adult – Courtney C. Stevens and Sara Sargent
To submit a first page, please place two copies (one for the faculty members, one for the reader) of your
first page in the session submission box for which you have pre-registered: Picture Book, Middle Grade,
or Young Adult. Submission boxes will be located at the conference registration desk between 7:30 and
8:15 am on Saturday. First pages must have NO AUTHOR NAME, but may include the title, and must be
in standard format, on white paper, with 1-inch margins, black ink, 12-point font, and double-spacing.
Limit 200 words (excluding title), one submission per attendee. First pages exceeding word count, with
identifying marks, in non-standard format, or placed in the incorrect submission box will be discarded.
3:00-3:15 Break
3:15-4:15 Breakout III
FT Illus. Nov.
Nov. PAL A Rick Margolis Kate, Markus, Mo, and Me: The inside scoop from some of the world’s best
kids’ book creators
Before Rick Margolis launched Rising Bear Literary Agency, he was School Library Journal’s longtime executive
editor. The best part of his job? Interviewing many of the greatest children’s book authors and illustrators,
including Kate DiCamillo, Mo Willems, Markus Zusak, Suzanne Collins, and John Green. Margolis shares some
of the lessons he learned about living a creative life and what it takes to make it in publishing.
B Sara Sargent Build-a-World: Improving World-Building in Your Novel
Whether you write real-world realistic contemporary or the most complex fantasy — your novel always
has a world of its own. To hook readers, you want to make sure that world is fully realized and super
compelling. In this session, editor Sara Sargent will discuss how to build, develop, tweak, improve,
and grow the universe that exists within your book. She will use examples of other novels to show
you where you can improve your own.
Continued on next page …
Saturday, September 19
FT Nov. PAL Illus. 4:15-4:30 C Kelly Creagh Reduce, Reuse, Revise
You have your novel drafted and it’s time to dig in to your first (or fifth) revision. There are as many
ways to approach this daunting phase of the process as there are for drafting, but which is best for
you? In this session, learn methods that will help you to determine what to keep — including your
cool — what to pitch, and how to remain (mostly) sane in the meantime.
D Kristen Nobles Illustrator as Illuminator
Art Director Kristen Nobles will provide an introduction to what the Candlewick Press art department
looks for in an illustrator when pairing them with a manuscript. The process of finding the right
illustrator internally, the foundation skills you are expected to bring to the table, visual examples of
what works and what doesn’t, and how Candlewick works hands-on with illustrators as art directors
and designers will be discussed.
Optional Critique Groups – All attendees are invited to bring a manuscript and/or art portfolio to
share in an optional, no-charge, critique group session. Each group will be assigned according to online
registration, and will be given a designated place to meet. Please do not send manuscripts or portfolios
ahead of time. Attendees will be divided into picture book/early readers and middle grade/young adult
groups and then into smaller groups by zip code. To be included in the “Listserv Critters” group (for
members of the Midsouth Kidbooks listserv who exchange material in advance via email), please indicate
on the online registration form. Bring the first five pages of your work-in-progress or a full picture book
manuscript to share with the group for verbal critique. Questions regarding Optional Critique Groups
may be directed to Erica Rodgers at [email protected] To be included in an illustrators’ group,
indicate on the online registration form. To participate in an optional critique group, you must register by
midnight, August 8th.
4:30-6:00 Paid Manuscript and Paid Portfolio Critiques (requires pre-registration and prepayment during
online registration)
Individual Paid Manuscript Critiques – Have your work critiqued by a professional in the field of writing
for children for an additional fee of $40. To be scheduled for an Individual Paid Manuscript Critique, check
the appropriate box on your online registration. See the section of the brochure labeled Individual Paid
Manuscript Critiques for details and the submission guidelines for 2015. Submission guidelines have
changed, so please review them carefully. One manuscript critique per attendee, limited to current SCBWI
members from any region. Online registration and manuscripts must be received by July 11.
Individual Paid Portfolio Critiques – Have your art critiqued by Art Director Kristen Nobles for an
additional fee of $40. To be scheduled for an Individual Paid Portfolio Critique check the appropriate box
on your online registration. See the section of the brochure labeled Individual Paid Portfolio Critique
for details and submission guidelines for 2015. (Limited to the first 12 attendees, conference fees and
registration must be received by September 1 to participate. One paid portfolio critique per attendee,
limited to current SCBWI members from any region.)
6:30 pm
The Kid Lit Creators’ Dinner
Round off the day with Kid Lit friends, old and new. See “More Conference Events” for the details!
Saturday, September 19
SUNDAY, September 20
7:30-8:15 am Registration
8:30-9:30 Amy Cloud, Jen Malone, and Gail Nall How On Earth Do You Write a Book With Someone Else?
Think you could never meld your writing process with another writer’s? In this keynote address, the
co-authors of the middle grade series You’re Invited, alongside Amy Cloud, their editor at Simon & Schuster,
discuss the fun you could be missing and examine some pros and cons of sharing a writing credit.
9:30-9:40 Break
9:40-10:40 Breakout IV
FT Nov. A Brooks Sherman Writing a Gripping Opening
How do you craft the right balance of character, setting, and plot in your manuscript’s first pages to
hook an agent, editor, and reader? Literary agent Brooks Sherman discusses the characteristics that
make up a compelling opening for your middle grade or young adult novel, pointing to concrete
examples from published (and soon-to-be-published) works.
B Jen Malone and Gail Nall It’s Like, You Know: Writing for Tweens
For kids outgrowing younger middle grade titles but not quite ready for the content in YA, there’s
the tween market! In this seminar, learn the ins and outs of writing for the 9-13 year old age group —
including how to nail that hard-to-get tween voice and what content will and won’t fly. Gail Nall and
Jen Malone (authors of six novels for this age group, including their co-written series You’re Invited)
discuss everything from the craft basics to the market for tween fiction.
FT Nov. C Courtney C. Stevens PAL Marketing Roundtable
A PAL (Published And Listed) roundtable discussion moderated by Courtney C. Stevens. Members will cover
such topics as marketing materials and swag, school visits, book fairs and festivals, launching a book, and
your online presence. What’s worked? What hasn’t? Please bring samples and materials to share.
PAL D Kristen Nobles and Sarah Miller Portfolio Peeks
What is your portfolio’s first impression? Find out what catches the eye of an agent and art director as
portfolios are anonymously flashed across the big screen. In timed segments, learn how other illustrators
present their work and how you can make your own work stronger. Portfolios will be seen in random order,
and not all portfolios will necessarily be seen. Do not send art ahead of time, bring portfolios to the session.
No portfolio yet? No problem! All are welcome to observe.
For more information on putting together a portfolio, see the Portfolio Guidelines at
Illus. 10:40-10:50 Break
10:50-11:50 Breakout V
A Brooks Sherman Getting a Handle on Effective Social Media Use
Literary agent and Twitter enthusiast Brooks Sherman (@byobrooks) shares his thoughts, experiences,
and mistakes when it comes to activity on social media channels. This class will be useful for writers
who are considering dipping a toe into social network waters, as well as for those who are already
active. Learn how to use your digital footprint effectively, and to have fun while doing it!
FT Illus.
Nov. PB FT Illus. Nov.
B Rick Margolis How a Guy Like Me Ended Up in a Profession Like This: A literary agent spills the beans
For nearly 15 years, Rick Margolis worked for the world’s largest reviewer of books for young readers.
Although he loved his stint as School Library Journal’s executive editor, Margolis was ready for a new
challenge. But not just any job would do. He wanted to find his true calling — one that he was wild
about and that could contribute something of value to the world. The answer? To launch his own
literary agency. Here’s his story and what you need to know when you start your agent search.
Continued on next page …
Sunday, September 20
FT Nov. PAL Illus. C Kelly Creagh People, Places and Beings: The Spices of an Intriguing and Immersive Read
Strong, believable characters are a must in all good fiction, but particularly in a YA series. Setting,
too, is key. And when it comes to stirring in the unusual, the mysterious or the magical, sometimes
just a dash won’t do. In this session, learn how to mix and blend these elements to create the perfect
concoction to mesmerize and enchant your readers, to lure and hopelessly entrench them in the
world and story you’ve created, rendering them as anxious about the dwindling pages as they are for
the impending climax and resolution.
D John Rocco You Can Judge a Book By Its Cover
An in-depth study of the book jacket and how to approach designing them, both for picture book and
middle grade.
11:50-12:00 Break
12:00-12:45 Editor, Agent and Art Director Panel The Artistic Hero
Hear the wisdom of Amy Cloud, Rick Margolis, Sarah Miller, Kristen Nobles, Sara Sargent, and Brooks
Sherman as they discuss how writers and illustrators can take their ideas into the wider world. Faculty will
also answer questions from conference attendees.
12:45-1:00 Contest Winners, Door Prizes, Closing Remarks
Tracy Barrett is the author of twenty works of fiction and nonfiction for young readers, most recently
The Stepsister’s Tale (Harlequin Teen), Dark of the Moon (Harcourt), and The Sherlock Files series (Henry Holt).
Tracy was SCBWI’s Regional Advisor for the Midsouth from 1999 to 2009 and is currently SCBWI’s US
Regional Advisor Coordinator. She was awarded the SCBWI Work-in-Progress Grant in 2005. She holds an
A.B. in Classical Archaeology from Brown University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval Italian Literature from
UC Berkeley. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where until recently she taught Italian at Vanderbilt
Amy Cloud is an editor at Aladdin Books at Simon & Schuster, where she has edited everything from picture books
to nonfiction, though her heart is in realistic middle grade and tween novels and humorous chapter books. She’s
on the lookout for engaging, relatable characters — especially boy protagonists; quirky voices; unique concepts;
and gut-busting humor. At Aladdin she’s lucky enough to work with talent such as Bruce Coville, Debbie Dadey,
Jen Malone, and Gail Nall. Prior to joining Simon & Schuster, Amy was an editor at Callaway Arts & Entertainment,
where she edited books by bestselling authors such as David Kirk, Madonna, and Jill Abramson.
Kelly Creagh is a 2008 graduate of Spalding University’s MFA in Creative Writing program. When not
writing, haunting bookstore coffee shops, or obsessively studying Poe, Kelly’s passions include the ancient
art of bellydance. She lives with her squirrely, attitude-infused dogs — Annabel, Jack, and Holly — in the heart
of Old Louisville, Kentucky’s largest and spookiest Victorian neighborhood. Kelly is the author of the
Nevermore trilogy. Visit her at
Julie Danielson writes about picture books at Kirkus Reviews, BookPage, and her own site, Seven
Impossible Things Before Breakfast. She has written for the Horn Book and the Association for Library Service
to Children. She is one of the authors of Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature, released in
2014, and she also teaches a picture book course for the University of Tennessee’s School of Information
Sciences graduate program. She has juried for the Society of Illustrators’ Original Art Award in New York, as
well as for the Bologna Ragazzi Awards in Bologna, Italy.
Continued on next page …
2015 SCBWI Midsouth Fall Conference Faculty
Susan Eaddy works in her attic studio writing picture books and playing with clay. She was an Art Director for
fifteen years, and won international 3D illustration awards and a Grammy nomination. Her clay illustrated
trade books include My Love for You is the Sun by Julie Hedlund and Papa Fish’s Lullaby by Patricia Hubbell.
She is the author of Poppy’s Best Paper coming from Charlesbridge in 2015. She loves to travel and has used
the opportunity to do school visits anywhere in the world from Taiwan to Brazil to Alabama to Hong Kong!
Cate Hart has been with the Corvisiero Literary Agency since 2013, where she first served as intern. She is a
Nashville native as well as a Young Adult author. Actively building her client list, Cate is looking for adventurous
MG, character-driven YA, diverse and LGBT stories, as well as select adult historical romance and mystery.
Lauren MacLeod joined The Strothman Agency in 2007 after graduating from Emerson College with a BFA
in Writing, Literature and Publishing. She specializes in young adult and middle grade fiction (including
Jodi Meadows, author of the Incarnate and Orphan Queen series and Hélène Boudreau, author of the Real
Mermaids series) in addition to handling the Barbara Cooney Estate and foreign and subsidiary rights for the
Strothman Agency. She is a full member of the Association of Authors Representatives. She lives in Nashville,
Tennessee and tweets under @Lauren_MacLeod.
Jen Malone writes books for tweens and teens. Her tween novels with Simon & Schuster/Aladdin include
At Your Service (2014), the co-written (with Gail Nall) series You’re Invited (2015, 2016) and the upcoming
The Sleepover (2016). Her Young Adult titles with HarperCollins include Map To The Stars (2015), Wanderlost
(2016), and a third untitled forthcoming. Jen lives outside Boston with her husband and three children,
teaches at Boston University, loves school visits, and has a “thing” for cute hedgehog pictures. You can learn
more about her and her books at
Rick Margolis worked for School Library Journal for nearly 15 years. As SLJ’s executive editor, one of the best
parts of his job was writing a monthly interview column, “Under Cover,” which highlighted new and
promising authors and illustrators (such as John Green and Suzanne Collins) who went on to have amazing
careers. As a former reading specialist, Rick understands the profound difference the right book can make in
a young person’s life and that awareness has shaped his vision for Rising Bear Literary Agency. Its mission?
To help children’s book creators do their best possible work, to pair them with the perfect publisher, and to
see them develop long, rewarding careers.
Sarah Miller, editor at Sleeping Bear Press, published her first (and only) children’s story in the Glengary
Elementary School newsletter at the age of ten. Since then, however, she’s decided she’s much happier
letting others tell the stories. Her favorite stories include Where the Wild Things Are, Miss Rumphius, and the
His Dark Materials trilogy. A graduate of Boston University’s College of Communications, Sarah spent several
years in New York City with Puffin Books and is currently an editor with Sleeping Bear Press in Michigan.
Becky Monds is an editor at HarperCollins Christian Publishers. She has been with the company since 2007.
Previous to that, she worked at Davis-Kidd Booksellers as the PR/Events Coordinator. She has a passion for
young adult fiction and fiction in general. When she isn’t working, she enjoys knitting, water skiing, and
spending time with her husband and their twin toddlers.
Continued on next page …
2015 SCBWI Midsouth Fall Conference Faculty
Gail Nall lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her family and more cats than necessary. She once drove a Zamboni,
has camped in the snow in June, and almost got trampled in Paris. Aladdin/S&S released Gail’s middle grade
debut, Breaking the Ice, on January 13, 2015. She is also the co-author of the upcoming You’re Invited books
with Jen Malone (Aladdin/S&S, May 2015 and Spring 2016). She is a contributing blogger for Kidliterati and
the Fearless Fifteeners. Gail is represented by Julia A. Weber of J.A. Weber Literaturagentur. You can find Gail
online at
Kristen Nobles joined Candlewick Press in 2004, one of the largest independent publishing companies in
the world. As an art director, she has worked with award-winning illustrators Leslie Patricelli, Sophie Blackall,
Yuyi Morales, John Rocco, Matt Myers, Ed Young, and Carson Ellis. Kristen loves a strong character, a unique
style or retro look made new again, and looks for a new spin on traditional themes in children’s books.
Before returning to the east coast, Kristen was a senior designer at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. Her
passion for children’s books has been passed down from her mother, an elementary teacher, and her
grandmother, a librarian.
John Rocco is the author and illustrator of several award winning books for children, including the Caldecott
Honor Book, Blackout. He is also known for illustrating Rick Riordan’s bestselling Percy Jackson and the
Olympians, The Kane Chronicles, and The Heroes of Olympus series. John also co-wrote the YA novel, Swim
That Rock, a finalist for the New England Book Award. John lives in Los Angeles with his wife (also a children’s
book creator) and daughter (a voracious reader).
Sara Sargent is an editor at Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, where she acquires young adult
fiction. She works with such authors as Abbi Glines, Deb Caletti, Jennifer Echols, Julie Cross, Aaron Karo, and
Ann Stampler. Previously, she was an associate editor at Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins. Sara also
received her Master of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University. You can sometimes find her
eating takeout and reading on the couch. You can always find her online at and
on Twitter and Instagram @Sara_Sargent. Sara lives in Brooklyn.
Brooks Sherman is a literary agent with the Bent Agency, having previously worked as a literary agent at
FinePrint Literary Management and at publisher Henry Holt and Company. Before starting his career in
publishing, Brooks spent several years working in the entertainment industry, and two years with the
Peace Corps in West Africa. Brooks is a hands-on, editorial agent who delights in developing projects with
his clients. He works with middle grade fiction of all genres (particularly fantasy adventure and contemporary),
humorous projects from author-illustrators, and YA fiction of all types except paranormal romance. Find him on
Twitter: @byobrooks.
Courtney C. Stevens grew up in Kentucky and lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She is an adjunct professor and
a former youth minister. Her novels include: Faking Normal, The Blue-Haired Boy (Novella), and The Lies
About Truth. As an educator and author, she visits schools, designs retreats, and teaches workshops on
marketing, revision, character development, and Channeling Your Brave. When she isn’t teaching and
scribbling ideas in a notebook, she’s playing laser tag, going climbing, or eating chips and queso. You can
find out more at or follow her on Twitter @quartland.
Kristin O’Donnell Tubb’s fantasy debut, The 13th Sign, (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan 2013) was a Spring
2013 IndieNext selection and a winner of the 2014 SCBWI Crystal Kite Member’s Choice Award. Tubb is also
the author of Selling Hope (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan 2010). It was a finalist for the 2012 National
Homeschool Book Award and a winner of SCBWI’s 2011 Crystal Kite Member’s Choice Award. Tubb’s other
titles include Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different (Delacorte Press/Random House 2008), which
was selected by the Tennessee State Library to represent the state of Tennessee at the 2009 National Book
Festival and was nominated for the Volunteer State Book Award (2011 – 2012 list). Kristin Tubb is delighted
to serve as the Regional Advisor for the Midsouth SCBWI region, which includes Tennessee and Kentucky.
Please visit her website:
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2015 SCBWI Midsouth Fall Conference Faculty
Registration for the 2015 Midsouth Fall Conference closes when we reach 200 registrants or on September 1st, whichever
comes first. To register for the conference and select your breakout sessions, please go to and click on the
link for the 2015 Midsouth Fall Conference. Registrations are online only. Payment of fees must be made online with a credit
card or Paypal. There are no refunds for this event, except in the case of an attendee’s immediate emergency and a waiting list
exists. Registration must be closed before refunds can be issued; SCBWI Midsouth will keep a $50 handling fee for all refunds.
To be included on a waiting list, contact Mary Uhles at [email protected] and put WAITING LIST (in all caps) in the memo line
of your email. Please note that because of scheduling logistics, we are unable to give a refund of any kind after September 8th.
Thank you for understanding.
Early Bird Tuition
Full conference for both Saturday AND Sunday
Tuition after July 15:
Full conference for both Saturday AND Sunday
SCBWI member
SCBWI member
Two kinds of Individual Manuscript Critiques will be offered: Face-to-Face or Written-Only. Both Face-to-Face and Written-Only
Manuscript Critiques will be offered for an extra nonrefundable charge of $40, and will have the same submission guidelines
and due dates. One Individual Manuscript Critique per attendee, limited to current SCBWI members from any region.
Please choose either Face-to-Face or Written-Only on your online registration.
Face-to-Face Individual Paid Manuscript Critiques will offer 15 minutes of verbal critique given by a member of the 2015
Midsouth Conference faculty (see bios of Amy Cloud, Cate Hart, Lauren MacLeod, Rick Margolis, John Rocco, Sara Sargent,
Brooks Sherman, and Kristin O’Donnell Tubb), or by an additional editor or agent. Face-to-Face critiques will also include written
comments. Every effort will be made to place Face-to-Face Manuscript Critiques within the Individual Paid Critique time allotted
in the conference schedule. After these slots are filled, however, some critiques may take place during breakout sessions.
See below for submission and formatting guidelines*.
Written-Only Individual Paid Manuscript Critiques Picture BookCritiques will be given by Katherine Jacobs (Senior Editor,
Roaring Brook Press). Middle Grade and Young Adult critiques will be given by Noa Wheeler (Editor, Henry Holt Books for Young
Readers). Submitted manuscripts and critiques will be available for pick up at the conference registration table from 4:30 to 5:00 pm
on Saturday, or during registration 7:30-8:15 am on Sunday. See below for submission and formatting guidelines*.
Individual Paid Manuscript Critique Submission Guidelines
(Face-to-Face and Written-Only) *:
For $40, you may submit one of the following
One correctly formatted picture book ms., picture book dummy**, short story ms., or up to 10 pages of poems,
A one-page (single-spaced) synopsis of a fiction or non-fiction project, plus up to the first 10 pages (double-spaced) of
the corresponding ms., correctly formatted. (Note: entire ms. submission including synopsis and chapter[s] should not
total more than 11 pages.)
Continued on next page …
2015 SCBWI Midsouth Fall Conference Registration
*Formatting Guidelines:
Mss. for critique must be in standard format. Standard format is white paper, 12-point type, black ink, 1-inch margins,
double-spaced (note that synopses may be single-spaced) with a standard font such as Times New Roman. Send your
documents as either .doc or .docx. No other file types can be accepted. No other criteria will be used to determine
standard format for Individual Paid Manuscript Critiques. For additional formatting tips, go HERE. Please make sure all
pages are numbered, and that title, author name, author contact information, and category (picture book, middle
grade, young adult, non-fiction, etc.) are present on the first page. The name on your manuscript must match
the name on your conference registration even if you write under a pseudonym. Mss. submitted in non-standard
format will be discarded and sender will be given a chance to re-submit. If re-submission arrives after the deadline, the
ms. will be discarded.
**Picture Book Dummies:
Illustrators who also write may be allowed to submit a picture book dummy for an Individual Manuscript Critique.
Dummy must be accompanied by a properly formatted ms., and certain criteria must be met and permission granted
before a dummy can be accepted. Please contact Susan Eaddy (Illustrator Coordinator) at [email protected] for
details of the permission process.
How to Send in Your Manuscript for an Individual Paid Critique:
All manuscripts or dummies for paid critique, either Face-to-Face or Written-Only, must be received by email no later than midnight CDT
on July 11, with online conference registration completed and all fees paid. Please type either “Face-to-Face” or “Written-Only”
in the subject line of your email, as well as your manuscript’s genre (i.e., fantasy, mystery, contemporary) and category
(i.e., Picture Book, Middle Grade, Young Adult, Nonfiction).
Email your ms. for critique to: [email protected]
Email early, but email only once! We will not be able to swap manuscripts after you’ve sent your story to us. If your ms. arrives
after midnight CDT on July 11, you will be informed. The fee is nonrefundable.
Every effort will be made to place critiques within the Individual Paid Critique time allotted in the schedule. After these slots are
filled, however, some critiques may take place during breakout sessions.
Note: Individual Paid Manuscript Critiques have a different submission policy than the Fiction Manuscript Contest. Do not include
Fiction Manuscript Contest entries with manuscripts for Individual Paid Manuscript Critiques. For Fiction Manuscript Contest
guidelines, go to and click the link for the 2015 Midsouth Fiction Manuscript Contest.
Portfolio critiques by Art Director Kristen Nobles will be available for $40 per 15-minute critique, and are limited to the first 12
received. To be scheduled for an Individual Paid Portfolio Critique, please check the appropriate box on your online registration
form. Online registration must be complete and all fees received by September 1 to be scheduled for a portfolio critique.
Please bring portfolio with you to the conference, do not send art ahead of time. One portfolio critique per attendee, limited to
current SCBWI members from any region.
Every effort will be made to place portfolio critiques within the Individual Paid Critique time allotted in the schedule. After these
slots are filled, however, some critiques may take place during breakout sessions.
Note: Individual Paid Portfolio Critiques have a different submission policy from the 2015 Illustrator Contest. For complete
Illustrator Contest guidelines, please go to, and click on the link for the 2015 Midsouth Illustrator Contest.
Guidelines will also be found at
Continued on next page …
SCBWI Midsouth Fall Conference September 18, 19 and 20, 2015
Cool S
s Blvd
Centre D
All rooms at Embassy Suites include a living area with sleeper sofa,
refrigerator, coffee maker, microwave, and a separate bedroom
with one king or two queen size beds. A cooked to order breakfast,
Manager’s reception, and use of the business center is included for
every guest at no extra charge. Fitness area, indoor pool, wireless
internet, and free shuttle within a five mile radius are also available.
There will be complimentary self parking on site for conference
attendees. Valet parking is $5/day and $10/overnight per vehicle.
Room rates are $149 for single occupancy, $159 for double
occupancy, $169 for triple occupancy, and $179 for quadruple
occupancy; please use the promo code SCB when reserving your
room. Note: Reserve early! The promo code will expire at midnight, August 18.
Embassy Suites-Cool Springs
820 Crescent Centre Drive
Franklin, TN 37067
The Annual Midsouth Fiction Manuscript Contest: For attendees of the Midsouth Conference. Winners in the Picture Book,
Middle Grade, and Young Adult categories will be announced at the conference and will receive an invitation to submit their work to
this year’s judge. For contest rules, dates and times, click on the Midsouth Fiction Manuscript Contest link at
Contest entries will be judged by Katherine Jacobs (Editor, Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan).
Fee of $12, limited to the first 20 entrants in each category.
The Annual Midsouth Illustrator Contest: For attendees of the Midsouth Conference. Contest entries will be displayed for
judge Kristen Nobles and all conference attendees. Winning artwork will be announced at the conference and will become
part of the yearly Midsouth Illustrator Hall of Fame display. For details and contest guidelines, click the Midsouth Illustrator
Contest link at, or to Register for the contest when you register for the
conference. Entry fee of $12.
Illustrator Promos – Illustrators may bring promotional postcards for inclusion in a care package to relevant Faculty Members
and for display on Conference Gridwalls (as space allows). Turn in promo cards Friday between 4:45-5:15 pm, or 6:30-7:15 pm
or Saturday between 7:30-8:15 am.
The SCBWI Midsouth Kid Lit Creators’ Dinner at Puckett's Boathouse, 94 E Main St, Franklin, TN 37064 on September 19,
6:30 pm: Want to meet old friends or make new ones? Want to ask questions or just blow off steam after a day packed with
learning? Attendees new to the industry can sit with experienced authors and illustrators and keep the creativity flowing.
For $35 you get dinner, dessert, and all the Kid Lit compadres you can handle. Seating is limited and reserved on a first come
first served basis. Register for the Kid Lit Creators’ Dinner when you register for the conference. Anyone and everyone welcome!
SCBWI Midsouth Fall Conference September 18, 19 and 20, 2015
May 15
Online conference registration opens at 6:00 am CDT/7:00 am EDT (go to and select
2015 Midsouth Fall Conference)
July 8
Last day conference registration, fees, and list of titles with ISBNs may be received for participation in the
Midsouth Conference Autograph Party
July 8
Last day conference registration and fees may be received for participation in the 2015 Fiction Manuscript Contest
July 8
Fiction Manuscript Contest begins, 8:00 pm EDT/7:00 pm CDT
July 10
Fiction Manuscript Contest ends, 8:00 pm EDT/7:00 pm CDT
July 11
Last day manuscripts (along with conference registration and fees) may be received via email for an Individual
Paid Manuscript Critique. (Must be received by midnight CDT!)
July 12
Fiction Manuscript Contest fees due, 8:00 pm EDT/7:00 pm CDT (notified entrants only)
July 15
Last day for early bird conference registration and rates
August 8
Last day to register to participate in an optional critique group
August 14
Picture Book dummy for intensive due to Susan Eaddy (Illustrator Coordinator) at [email protected]
(digital Picture Book dummy pdf)
August 18
Special conference room rate for Embassy Suites ends at midnight.
Sept. 1
Last day conference registration and fees may be received to be scheduled for an Individual Paid Portfolio Critique
Sept. 1
Conference Registration closes unless it has already closed due to a sell-out. To be placed on a waiting list after this
date, contact Mary Uhles at [email protected] and put WAITING LIST (in all caps) in the memo line of your email.
Sept. 8
No changes or refunds after this date
Sept. 18
PAL Display book and promotional materials drop off: 7:00 pm
Sept. 18
Illustrator portfolio turn-in times: 4:45-5:15 pm, or 6:30-7:15 pm
Sept. 18
Illustrator Contest entries and promo display turn in times: 4:45-5:15 pm, or 6:30-7:15 pm
Sept. 19
Illustrator Contest entries and promo display turn in times: 7:30-8:15 am
Online conference registration:
Kurt Hampe at [email protected]
Illustrator info:
Susan Eaddy at [email protected]
Optional Critique Group/Paid Critiques:
Erica Rodgers at [email protected]
Fiction Manuscript Contest:
Gail Nall at [email protected]
Kid Lit Creator Dinner:
Lauren Thoman at [email protected]
General Questions/Volunteering:
Mary Uhles at [email protected]
General Questions:
Rae Ann Parker at [email protected]
Midsouth SCBWI logo created by Susan Eaddy |
Brochure design and illustration by Kris Sexton |
SCBWI Midsouth Fall Conference September 18, 19 and 20, 2015