(subject to change)
WRITING MEANINGFUL MIDDLE GRADE (Room: TAHOE)
Panel Discussion — Gennifer Choldenko, Mitali Perkins, Victoria Piontek, Lisa Moore Ramée, moderated by Mae Respicio
What does it mean to write the type of book that young readers will clutch to their hearts and remember well past adolescence? How do you infuse your middle grade novel with voice, strong story elements, and emotional resonance? Get inspired—and get ideas!—from this panel of award-winning middle grade authors who share their seasoned craft tips and advice on writing meaningful middle grade, as well as share their different roads to publication.
PUBLISHING AND THE GRAPHIC NOVEL BOOM (Room: TRINITY)
Alexis E. Fajardo
Graphic Novels are one of the fastest growing (and profitable) sectors in publishing right now. This presentation dives into the rise of the graphic novel in America, examines the current marketplace, and offers tangible tactics on how to position your work to gain traction and visibility in an increasingly tight market. Presented by Eisner-award winning editor and cartoonist Alexis E. Fajardo, cartoonist and creator of the graphic novel series Kid Beowulf and Editorial Director at the Charles M. Schulz Studio in Santa Rosa, CA.
LAUGH OUT LITERATURE: CREATING HUMOR IN PICTURE BOOKS (Room: SHASTA)
Why humor is important, what’s funny to kids of different ages, and how I created NO, FUZZBALL! and NO, SNOWBALL! We’ll look at humor techniques used in 25 picture books.
CRUEL TO BE KIND: WHY YOUR MAIN CHARACTER SHOULD EXPERIENCE CRISIS AND/OR GRIEF (Room: SHASTA)
Writers must give characters a burning desire or goal, with high stakes, and then make it difficult for their protagonists to achieve it. But did you know that good stories also include a significant crisis and/or loss/sacrifice? And that these are necessary before your young character can change, grow, and make your story meaningful and satisfying? We’ll discuss why, and how to depict these, along with exercises to apply to your current WIP. Being hard on your MC will help you deepen your story into one that readers won’t be able to forget.
THE ARC OF PICTURE BOOK WRITING: INSIGHT INTO STORY ARC AND DIFFERENT STORY STRUCTURES (Room: TAHOE)
One of the most common challenges while crafting a picture book manuscript is the ability to step back and see the big picture. What is the trajectory of the story arc from inciting incident to satisfying ending? This session will flesh out the classic story structure in picture books and will dive into discussing different types of story structures including cumulative, circular, and other types of storytelling.
SCHOOL VISITS: HOW TO GET THEM, ORGANIZE THEM, AND CRAFT A STELLAR PRESENTATION (Room: TRINITY)
Donna Janell Bowman
School author visits can be impactful for students and educators while offering authors the chance to connect with their readers and promote their books. But how does an author secure an author visit gig? Once a school books a visit, what kind of preparation is involved? What about contracts, book sales, presentation styles, and honorariums? And how does one stay organized to ensure a streamlined and positive experience for all? In this presentation, Donna will share the tips and tools that have evolved through her own process and hundreds of school visit presentations.
SEQUENTIAL ART ESSENTIALS (Room: TENAYA)
Sequential art is more than just making comics, it is essential in movie making and in editorial instruction. A cartoon can simply be a funny drawing, but sequential art relies on the use of multiple images in a sequence to tell a story or achieve an effect. There are many written and unwritten rules to doing so effectively and in this session we will cover those often overlooked essential rules and conventions which can make or break the story-telling of an image sequence.
SOLD: CREATIVE ENERGY IN THE EDITORIAL PROCESS (Room: TAHOE)
Panel Discussion — Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Tasha Tripplett, Traci Huahn, Nadine Takvorian, moderated by L. Michelle Quraishi
You’ve sold your work! Now what? Learn how to navigate the editorial relationship. This panel discussion will show you a realistic roadmap for navigating the editorial process with professionalism, grace and integrity. It will cover how to develop relationships with gatekeepers that shine windows, mirrors and open doors for ALL creatives and readers. You will also learn how to use the creative tension of the editorial process to discover, elevate (and defend) the heart of your story. This session is especially for pre-published and PAL authors of all formats, especially those marginalized in our industry and children’s literature.
EN GARDE! USING CONFLICT TO FIND THE CORE OF YOUR STORY (Room: SHASTA)
Mackenzie Joy and Tony Piedra
As both partners-in-creativity and partners-in-life, we (Mackenzie and Tony) are no strangers to conflict. Working together isn’t always a walk in the park (in fact it can be a knock-down-drag-out sparring session), but the more we find conflict in our collaboration, the more we learn how to harness the benefits of conflict at different stages in the creative process to discover, define, defend, and develop the core of our stories. And these learnings don’t just apply to working with your partner. Learn how to leverage conflict to improve working with with your critique groups, agents, editors, and more.
"ILLUSTRATING A BOOK" BASICS: PICTURE BOOKS, EARLY READERS, AND BOARD BOOKS (Room: TRINITY)
Learn the basics of illustrating a book, whether it’s a personal project (dummy, and final art samples), or working with a self-publisher, or traditional publisher/house. I’ll share my experiences working on the different genres and aspects of each genre to pay attention to while illustrating for them; each genre’s goal/target audience; pre-project questions to set the illustrator up for a successful project; working with the manuscript, art directors, and editors; series considerations: characters, character consistency; backgrounds; and final artwork management and delivery.
AGENT PITCH SPEED DATING (Room: TENAYA)
Laurie McLean, Jennifer March Soloway, Andy Ross, Stephanie Molina
Experience a literary twist on speed dating as writers get the chance to pitch their books directly to agents. In this dynamic and fast-paced event, writers have precious minutes to captivate agents with their book ideas. It's a unique opportunity to showcase creativity, passion, and storytelling prowess, all while forging potential connections that could kickstart your writing career.
CRITIQUE SOCIAL (Room: TAHOE & TAHOE FOYER)
Meet with other writers looking for possible critique partners in a directed mingle about what you write and where you are in your writing journey and current project. We all need help along the way, and here’s an opportunity to find critique partners and potential writers’ group members.
CREATIVE TIME - GUIDED PROMPTS (Room: SHASTA)
FINDING YOUR NICHE AS AN ILLUSTRATOR (Room: TRINITY)
Rob Sayegh Jr.
Learn how to authentically embed your personality, style, and vision into your career journey. Whether you're a seasoned illustrator seeking to refine your niche or an aspiring artist striving to establish your mark, this event offers essential insights to help you craft a fulfilling and distinctive career in the world of illustration.
THE JOURNEY TO PUBLISHED (Room: TAHOE)
Panel Discussion — Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Isabella Kung, Shirley Ng-Benitez, Panel Leader: Annie Ruygt
Want to know what the path to being published is really like? From initial inspiration to final publication, hear firsthand accounts of triumphs, challenges, and the invaluable lessons learned along the way. They will delve into the creative processes, collaborative dynamics, and industry insights that breathe life into captivating books. This panel offers a unique glimpse into the world of storytelling. Find inspiration and advice for your own publishing journey.
MAKING EMOTIONS CONCRETE (Room: SHASTA)
To make emotions real to readers, writers need to go beyond the stereotypical eye roll or shrug. Often the tools for making more effective choices already exist in a rough draft. Manuscripts are peppered with objects and character interests that can be used strategically to communicate a character’s emotions to the reader–and make the reader feel them too. Through exercises based on a current work-in-progress, writers will learn how to use metaphors and objects as concrete expressions of emotion and develop a range of options to incorporate into their work.
THE RIGHT TO READ: BOOK BANNING AND CENSORSHIP (Room: TRINITY)
Panel Discussion — Marcus Ewert, Sarah Hoffman, and Jasmine A. Stirling, moderated by Ian Hoffman
Book banning and censorship are escalating. During the first half of the 2022-23 school year, PEN America lists 1,477 instances of books banned, an increase of 28 percent compared to the prior six months. Overwhelmingly, book banners continue to target stories by and about people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals. But bans this school year have affected a wider range of titles, including those that discuss health and wellbeing, cover death and grief, and portray violence and abuse. Numerous states enacted wholesale bans, in which entire classrooms and school libraries were suspended, closed, or emptied of books. As book bans gain momentum, they accelerate legislative efforts to restrict teaching about topics such as race, gender, American history, and LGBTQ+ identities—and the freedom to read, learn, and think continues to be undermined for young people.*
This panel of authors who have been banned, or have experienced censorship at the publisher level, will delve into this issue—from what it’s like to be a banned creator, the pressures they’ve faced to change content in their books, and what writers can do to fight back and protect free speech, access to knowledge, and the rights of young readers.
MIDDLE GRADE & YOUNG ADULT BOOKS PANEL (Room: TRINITY)
Panel Discussion — Laurie McLean, Jennifer March Soloway, moderated by Ann Jacobus
Dive into the world of Middle Grade and Young Adult books with our incredible panel of agents who will share top-notch advice on polishing your manuscript, nailing your query, and more. Get the answers to all your questions about publishing trends and how to stand out in the current market. It promises to be a lively discussion of both the creative and business sides of publishing.
PICTURE BOOKS PANEL (Room: TAHOE)
Panel Discussion — Stephanie Molina, Isabella Kung, moderated by Meera Sriram
Our expert panel of agents shares their insights for writing and publishing your picture book. From crafting compelling narratives to finding the right agent, this discussion will unravel the intricate layers of the picture book journey. Whether you're an author or illustrator, this panel promises an illuminating exploration of the creative and business aspects of the genre.