Four Counties, Four LitMingles


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by Ann Rousseau Smith, SCBWI CenCal News Liaison

SLO County Mingle

San Luis Obispo County Mingle

The SCBWI Central-Coastal region offers regular, free meet-ups, known as LitMingles. All LitMingles are hosted by volunteers. Whether you want to connect with other writers, learn about craft, or build a community of support, your LitMingle hosts are ready to plan for your needs.

Our County Mingles were newly created in 2019, and our current LitMingle hosts are Allison Crotzer Kimmel, Kern County; Claire Noland, San Luis Obispo County; Mari Talkin, Santa Barbara County; and Lori Anaya, Ventura County. I wanted to check-in and see how the meet-ups are progressing. 

ANN ROUSSEAU SMITH: Welcome to the Kite Tales blog! What is the purpose or mission of a LitMingle, either in general or more specifically for your County Mingle?

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Your 2020 Guide to Book Festivals, Conventions, and SCBWI Events


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Need a creative pick me up? How about a new avenue for book promotion? Or maybe you just need some quality time with like-minded writers and illustrators working on their craft. SCBWI has you covered on the craft of kidlit and our region’s list of local book festivals and conventions is sure to broaden your creative perspectives!

SCBWI Sponsored Events for 2020

Writers Day
Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles
Dive into craft and “Discover the Words Worth Keeping” with a full day of keynotes, critiques and agent pitch sessions. A special pre-event intensive with Harold Underdown will also give a new perspective on approaching revision to polish your work in progress. Contests, manuscript reviews and scholarships will also be available. Need more insight? Read author Charlotte Offsay’s recap of last year here.

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All the Ways You Can Be Featured On KITE TALES


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nick-morrison-325805-unsplashA week into 2020, are you still working on your goals for the year? If your goals include things like sharing your work/personal successes, being more active in the SCBWI community, increasing your online presence, or helping fellow writers/illustrators by sharing your expertise – then you should consider submitting to Kite Tales!

Here are some of the key ways you can be featured on Kite Tales. Continue reading

#KTWriteOn with Editor/Author Eve Porinchak: PITCH PERFECT, Mastering the One-Page Synopsis, Query, and Logline


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Happy New Year! Welcome to the Kite Tales Writing Prompt: #KTWriteOn. Each writing challenge is crafted by a kid-lit publishing professional to help spark ideas, creative energy, and get your work moving out into the world. This prompt was created by former literary agent and current editor/YA true-crime author Eve Porinchak. She’s sharing her method for writing the all-important one-page synopsis and subsequent submissions package materials it practically writes for you. BONUS: she’s offering to help you with your logline in the comments, so don’t miss out! Now, take it away, Eve:

The only sad part about working as a literary agent and kid-lit author is witnessing fabulous manuscripts go unread by the gatekeepers’ eyeballs. To prevent this from happening, authors must learn how to pitch their stories. And, I’m here to help! This means creating a submissions package, which equals: Continue reading

Finding Confidence at Illustrators Day


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by Lisa Saint


For over twenty years I have been a fine art painter, card designer, and have taught book making classes for children. But my deepest desire has been to write and illustrate children’s books. I’ve attended SCBWI conferences, workshops, and retreats – and created some nice, even well-received work. But that’s where it all stops. Jobs, family, friends, and numerous commitments continually take up my time and attention. Year after year. The sad revelation is that this pattern could go on forever.

When the most recent Illustrators Day was announced, I made a pledge to commit to my dream. I registered for the one-day conference. Gathering my 10 strongest illustrations for a mail-in portfolio review, I sent them off to be critiqued by an industry professional. Continue reading

Why Enter the 2020 Writers Day Contest? Why Not?!


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by Karol Ruth Silverstein, SCBWI-L.A. Contest Coordinator 

Sue Schmitt. Photo by India Schmitt

2019 Picture Book category winner Sue Schmitt. (Photo by India Schmitt)

The SCBWI-L.A. annual Writers Day will be held March 28, 2020 and, as usual, there will be a manuscript contest open to all who register for the event. Whether you’ll be attending the event for the first time or you’ve been to so many Writers Days you’ve lost count, entering the contest is a fun and valuable part of the experience.

Submissions will be accepted in four categories—Picture Book, Middle Grade novel, Young Adult novel and Other (which includes non-fiction and poetry). Instructions for entering will be included on the 2020 Writers Day event information page. The contest opens as soon as registration goes live, which will be sometime in December. Winners receive a free written critique from one of the Writers Day faculty members PLUS free tuition to Writers Day 2021 (or equivalent). 

In recent years, the Writers Day contest has been particularly prescient when it comes to recognizing promising work. Continue reading

Ask an Editor: Is Querying an Agent Different Than Querying a Publisher?


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“Ask an Editor” is a forum wherein SCBWI members submit questions that are answered as part of our quarterly Kite Tales blog.

Dear Editor – I’m getting ready to query my book for the first time and am confused. Do I query an agent or a publisher?

—Jackson, Los Angeles

Dear Jackson – Congratulations on having finished a manuscript! To pursue traditional publication, a writer “queries” (sends a query letter to) a literary agent or a book publisher. At a publishing house, it may be the acquisitions editor’s job to find new talent so, sometimes, you will hear a writer saying they “queried an editor”—this is essentially the same as querying the publisher. Whether you choose to query an agent or publisher, check online submissions specifications to see whether they are accepting queries and, if they are, how to do so. Continue reading

Toot Your Horn!


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TOOT HORNSCBWI members’ publishing news is something to celebrate here atKite Tales! Check out whose book is coming to a platform near you or around the world. Horn-tooting and digital hi-fives welcome in the comments! Continue reading