• Illustrator Mentorship 2017-2018   Prize: The grand prize is a one-year mentorship with acclaimed illustrator, Kirbi Fagan. Kirbi has illustrated the covers of more than 50 books, and illustrated the interiors of several series of illustrated chapter books. Kirbi won the Jack Gaughan Award for Best Emerging Artist in 2017 and the Muddy Colors Rising Star Award.   Look for our interview with Kirbi at The Mitten on May 12, 2017.   Eligibility: The competition is open to all SCBWI members who are Michigan residents unless they are Published and Listed (PAL) illustrators. (PAL writers may apply.) Please contact SCBWI-MI Mentorship Coordinator, Ann Finkelstein, if you have questions about eligibility.    The winner will be announced at the Fall Conference (September 15-16, 2017) You do not have to be present to win.   Submission: One entry per person. The non-refundable entry fee is $20. Each entry will consist of FOUR separate pieces of art that are suitable for picture book or chapter book illustrations, graphic novels or YA or MG book covers. Two of the illustrations should be a page-turn sequence from the same story. Do not sign artwork or put any identifying marks on illustrations. If you have already signed a piece, please block the signature before scanning. The four illustrations should be saved as a single pdf file that is between 1 MB and 3 MB in size. Art should fit on an 8.5 x 11 inch page, either vertically or horizontally. Art should be in full color, finished and ready for publication. Art should be appropriate for and targeted to children or teens. How to name your submission: Think of a brief descriptive title for the first illustration in your series and use it as the title for your saved pdf file. (For example: Girl with a Pearl Earring or The Child’s Bath.) Be kind to your mentorship coordinator and describe the picture. Seated Woman with a Fish Hat is more helpful than Son of Man. You will not be judged on your title. The titles are only used to help keep track of submissions. Do not mention your name in the title.   Judging: Our three super-secret, superstar judges will evaluate artwork for: Vibrancy (understands vibratory quality of chosen palette and the uses of combining/contrasting complimentary colors and varying warm and cool temperatures) Handling of Medium (understands transparency/opacity, patterns, brushwork, use of movement and line quality in design.) Design (composition of the image and design of the page turn). Concept (is there an idea - visual metaphor, conceptual depth; image successful in telling story without text; secondary ideas woven into design) Overall impression (includes originality, suitability for the target audience, and design of the characters, including anatomical consistency)   The mentor will make the final winning selection.                                               All applicants will receive feedback on their artwork from the judges.   Special thanks to Matt Faulkner, Ruth McNally Barshaw and Leslie Helakoski for the judging criteria.   Registration and Submission: The registration and submission window is June 5 - 26, 2017.   When you are ready to register and submit your art, click on the link that will be provided here soon. After you pay the $20 application fee, you will be directed to submission instructions as follows: In the subject line of the email write: Submission: Title (For example, Submission: Ram’s Head with Hollyhock) In the body of the email, write:   Your full name The title of your submission Your email address Your phone number. Attach your pdf to the email. The mentorship coordinator will acknowledge the receipt of your artwork.   Mentorship applicants are welcome to apply for illustrator critiques at the fall conference (September 15 – 16, 2017) and display competition samples at the portfolio showcase.   FAQs Can I enter the competition if I live in MI only during the warmer months? Yes. We don’t discriminate against snowbirds. We’d all escape from Michigan’s winters if we could. Why can’t I sign my artwork? Judging is anonymous. The judges do not know who the contestants are and the contestants do not know who the judges are. Why do I need to submit my art as a pdf? It’s easier for the mentorship coordinator and the judges to keep track of unsigned artwork if the submissions are grouped into one file per applicant. How do I make a pdf file? Acrobat Writer, Corel Draw, Illustrator, Photoshop and other programs save files as pdfs. FedEx will scan four illustrations and save them as single pdf for $8. Why do I have to title my first illustration? The mentorship coordinator and the judges need a way to make sure the scores and the comments are assigned to the correct artwork. See point 3. What if two or more submissions have the same name? The mentorship coordinator will also assign every submission with a submission number. I can’t think of a good title for my first illustration. You will not be evaluated on the name. The purpose of the title is to maintain the sanity of the mentorship coordinator. If I change my mind, can I get the entry fee back? Sorry. Entry fees are non-refundable. Can I register first and upload my art later? Yes, as long as it’s during the submission window. After you register, click on the link to upload your submission. Nothing bad will happen. You’ll find yourself looking at a blank email. Copy and save the address to use when your art is ready. Why do I have to register and upload my art during the submission window? Because I said so. Is it okay to tweet about entering this contest? No. Judging is anonymous. Promoting the contest on social media is great, but please do not mention that you’ve entered. What if I receive a contract for my artwork during the contest? Please contact Mentorship Coordinator, Ann Finkelstein, to receive congratulations and discuss the situation.
  • The Gathering on the Grand fall conference will be held September 15 (intensives and dinner) and 16 (full day of programming) at the Eberhard Center in downtown Grand Rapids, just a short walk from the river and many downtown attractions. We will have a block of rooms at the nearby Holiday Inn.Our featured speaker is two-time Newbery Honor author (and Michigander!) Gary Schmidt. Stay tuned for more developments and to register!
  • So you’ve written and/or illustrated a story. Now how do you plan for and gain a readership? The SCBWI Michigan Marketing Boot Camp is your window into the business side of publishing. With sessions covering author visits, marketing, self-promotion, and more, our diverse and experienced faculty will have you feeling confident and ready for what comes next.   Registration is open to members and not yet members but seating is limited. Register now to hold your seat!  $35 for members, $65 for not yet members -- includes all programming and light refreshments To register, click here   Speakers Bootcamp Faculty Bios .pdf MARIA DISMONDY is an award-winning author who inspires lives through her poignant stories about topics challenging today’s modern child. Maria’s background in early education and commitment to teach the importance of character building enables her to touch lives the world over while touring as a public speaker in schools, community forums, and at national conferences. When Maria isn’t writing, she can be found embarking on adventures throughout southeast Michigan and beyond, where she lives with her husband and three book-loving children. LESLIE HELAKOSKI is the author and sometimes illustrator of ten picture books. All of Leslie's books are known for their humor and word play and include Woolbur, Big Chickens, Big Pigs and Doggone Feet! (A best math choice by Scholastic Magazine.) Her books have won acclaim with Junior Library Guild, received starred reviews, been highlighted in Book Sense Picks and were  nominated for awards in over 20 states across the country. She has illustrated her four most recent books, including Hoot and Honk, which tells the story of a gosling and an owlet that hatch in each other’s nest and cannot get to sleep at the right time.The upcoming Ready or Not? Woolbur Goes to School will be released in 2018. Leslie is also the co-Regional Advisor for Michigan’s chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. BOB HOFFMAN is the manager of public relations at Wharton Center and anchor for FOX-47’s MORNING BLEND. Bob developed a community based Pass it Forward initiative called ePIFanynow.org that empowers people to transform their lives through random acts of kindness. He is also the founder of the annual the Y-PIF Award which honors kids who pass kindness forward. Both events are on Sunday, May 7 at the MSU Federal Credit Union’s headquarters. Bob spends his free time as a motivational speaker and travels throughout Michigan with his interactive goal development and leadership workshops.  SALLY LANGLEY has a passion for making the library an exciting and creative space to encourage young readers to explore books and stories. She has been a Library Media Center Specialist for Okemos Public Montessori at Central for five years. Students look forward to events like nacho and s’mores parties, organized by Sally as a reward for reaching reading goals during March’s Reading Month. She has also led the charge for book adoptions, gaining 139 book sponsors in the first three months of this school year alone. Sally secures reading and engagement events with authors for the district and invites Michigan State University athletes, families, and local celebrities to her school, which the kids look forward to every year. Before joining Okemos Public Montessori, Sally taught 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grades in Texas, and served as an LMC specialist for Haslett Public Schools. When she isn’t spending time with her students, Sally can be found participating in book clubs, attending and volunteering at her children’s high school events, volunteering at a local soup kitchen, or traveling abroad with her family(her husband is British and both of her boys were born in the United Kingdom). KRISTEN BARTLEY LENZ is a writer and social worker from metro-Detroit. Her writing has been published in literary journals including Hunger Mountain and Great Lakes Review, and she manages the SCBWI-MI blog. Her debut young adult novel, The Art of Holding On and Letting Go, was the winner of the 2016 Helen Sheehan YA Book Prize, a Junior Library Guild Fall 2016 Selection, and chosen for the Great Lakes Great Books 2017-2018 state-wide literature program from the Michigan Reading Association. DEBORAH E. MIKULA has been the Executive Director of the Arts Council of Greater Lansing since 2013. She is a native of Michigan and her work has entailed leading strong and successful nonprofit arts and cultural organizations here in Michigan and Washington DC. She is a renowned expert on the resources and programs that an arts council provides to artists, arts educators and arts organizations and places a high priority on any creative project that creates a sense of place, showcases a community’s authentic heritage, allow access to children, and contributes to the economic prosperity of a region. Debbie served for a year as the Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of ArtServe Michigan and for ten years prior as the Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Community Arts Agencies (MACAA) where she regenerated the enthusiasm and helped to build the capacity of arts and cultural organizations across Michigan with her expertise and knowledge. Through her leadership, MACAA was recognized as one of the state’s outstanding arts institutions when it was awarded the 2004 Governor’s Award for Arts and Culture.  Prior to this, Debbie was the CEO of Cultural Communications and served as the Executive Director of the League of Historic American Theatres in Washington DC, a national nonprofit dedicated to the preservation and reuse of historic theatres in the United States. Debbie has a bachelor's degree in Theatre from Michigan State University and earned her Graduate Certificate in Arts Management from The American University in Washington DC. She is also an adjunct instructor at Michigan State University teaching “Introduction to Arts & Cultural Management”. LISA ROSE lives near Detroit, MI. There she likes to swim, practice yoga, and eat ice cream. But not at the same time.  Her book, SHMULIK PAINTS THE TOWN, published by Kar-Ben Publishing 2016 was a PJ Library Selection. Lisa is part of Amazon’s new app Amazon Rapids www.rapids.amazon.com You can find Mystery Valentine, The Best Christmas Tree Ever, Worm vs. Early Bird, and Venus Flytrap vs. Bee there. She also has e-stories published with Houghton Mifflin’s www.curiousworld.com -- Oh No! The Easter Bunny is Allergic to Eggs! and Oh No! The Tooth Fairy Broke Her Wing! Learn more at www.LisaRoseWrites.me   ED SPICER retired after seventeen years in the first grade trenches in Allegan, Michigan. Now you will find him doing his own writing, volunteering with students in several different places, doing freelance work, selecting books for various committees, and, of course, reading. He won a 2016 Outstanding People for Education award from the Allegan County School Board Association. He's proud to be a Cool Teacher award winner for Grand Valley State University’s educational television station. Over the years, he's taught a Graduate Young Adult Literature class, served on the Printz committee, the Caldecott committee, and many other book committees for the American Library Association. He is a certified Reading Specialist, which has led to the publication of more than 45 curriculum guides for students of all ages for eight different publishers, most notably Houghton Mifflin’s Scientists in the Field series. He founded the teen book review column for the Michigan Reading Association and is now reviewing books for Horn Book magazine. Please drop him a line at edspicer@mac.com, follow on Facebook, or visit his website: www.spicyreads.org His twitter handle is @spicyreads. KIRSTEN CAPPY is the owner of the children’s book marketing firm Curious City. She is intrigued by how books are both discovered and experienced by young readers. Entering its 14th year connecting authors and illustrators with schools, libraries, and their fearless readers, Curious City believes that books have a completely unique role to play in building curiosity and empathy in the next generation. Drawing on her long experience holding events for children, Kirsten Cappy builds programming guides for bookstores, libraries and schools that introduce new books to readers in an experiential fashion. Those guides can be found at CuriousCityDPW.com and Curious City’s explorations with marketing and children’s literature can be found at CuriousCity.net. BRYAN CHICK is the internationally published, award-winning author of The Secret Zoo series, which is published by Greenwillow, HarperCollins. The Secret Zoo has sold more than 300,000 copies in the U.S. and routinely sells more than 50,000 copies each year in North America alone. In the past ten years, Bryan has visited hundreds of schools in North America, giving author assemblies for tens of thousands of students, their teachers, and librarians. Like many authors, he was once terrified by the idea of doing school assemblies. Now it’s his favorite part of the job! ALISON DECAMP is the author of My Near-Death Adventures (99% True!), a Michigan Notable book, a finalist for the New-York Historical Society Children's History Book Prize and a nominee for Maryland's Black-Eyed Susan Award. The sequel, My Near-Death Adventures (I Almost Died. Again.) came out in July 2017. Alison is also thrilled to be a contributor to Funny Girl, an anthology of funny stories written for funny girls (May 2017). She grew up in the UP, attended MSU, taught middle school and high school, had a couple of kids and even more pets, and now works part-time at the local bookstore when she's not writing. She loves to travel, read, and lie around reading about travel.  BUFFY SILVERMAN is the author of more than 80 nonfiction books for children. Her books have been recognized by Booklist, Science Books and Films, the Children’s Book Committee at Bank Street College, and the Society of School Librarians International. Her nature-inspired poems and stories appear in poetry anthologies and popular children’s magazines. She has spoken to thousands of students about two of her favorite subjects: science and writing.  Canadian born and Upper Peninsula raised, EMILY GALER started working as a bookseller at Schuler Books while completing her Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing at Michigan State University. After graduating, and a brief stint working at her family's Funeral Home, she came back to the world of Schuler books as the Events Coordinator and Consignment Manager at the Meridian Mall location. Four years ago, she was tasked with creating and managing Schuler Books online presence and currently remains the Social Media Manager for all three Schuler Books locations.   Schedule (subject to change) 8:00 A.M. to 8:30 A.M.: REGISTRATION AND NETWORKING 8:35 A.M. to 9:20 A.M.: PANEL SESSION, JUST SAY YES: FRESH THINKING ABOUT MARKETING YOURSELF AS AN EXPERT This session will be a conversation about what marketing is and how it relates to children's literature and art. The panel will discuss the difference between marketing and advertising and what marketing means for entrepreneurs like us - authors and illustrators making their own business decisions and taking their own financial risks. Panelists:  Bob Hoffman, Public Relations Manager, Wharton Center Deborah Mikula, Executive Director, Arts Council of Greater Lansing Do you have a question for this panel? Email it to Ashley!  9:25 A.M. to 10:10 A.M.: PANEL SESSION, MARKETING YOURSELF, EVEN IF YOU’D RATHER NOT This session will explore traditional and out-of-the-box marketing ideas, including concepts for both indie and traditionally published authors and illustrators. We will include marketing tips for introverts and chat about marketing strategies that utilize technology and marketing strategies that are technology-free. Panelists:  Kristin Bartley Lenz, Author, The Art of Holding On and Letting Go Alison DeCamp, Author, My Near-Death Adventures Lisa Chottiner Rose, Author, Shmulik Paints the Town Do you have a question for this panel? Email it to Ashley!  10:15 A.M. to 10:30 A.M. BREAK AND REFRESHMENTS (light refreshments provided) 10:35 A.M. to 11:20 A.M.: SOLO PRESENTATION, MARKETING FROM THE BOOK STORE’S PERSPECTIVE In this session, Emily Galer will teach us about book placement in bookstores and how books are chosen by book buyers. Emily will touch on awards that influence buyers and discuss how to set up bookstore visits with your local stores. Lastly, Emily will dive deep into how these topics are handled for independently published authors and illustrators versus traditionally published authors and illustrators. Emily Galer, Promotional Manager, Schuler Books 11:25 A.M. to 12:25 P.M.: PANEL SESSION, SCHOOL VISITS DECODED During this discussion, we will talk about how to make connections with schools for school presentation opportunities. We will explore how to contact schools about these opportunities and how to negotiate contracts for school presentations, including pricing. Best practices for presenting and speaking to students will be addressed through a 20-minute 'school visit' from one our speakers. Panelists:  Leslie Helakoski, Author and Illustrator, Hoot and Honk and many others  Bryan Chick, Author, The Secret Zoo Buffy Silverman, Author, Can An Old Dog Learn New Tricks? And Other Questions about Animals and many others Ed Spicer, Retired First Grade Teacher, Allegan, Michigan  Sally Langley, Okemos Public Montessori Librarian Do you have a question for this panel? Email it to Ashley!  12:30 P.M. to 1:30 P.M.: LUNCH ON YOUR OWN Bring your own lunch or grab something nearby, explore local attractions and eat while networking with other attendees 1:35 P.M. to 2:20 P.M.: SOLO PRESENTATION, BUILDING A COMMUNITY OF READERS As SCBWI members, you have formed a crucial community of writers.  While fellow writers and your editorial team can share in your creative process, you can often feel alone and unequipped when it comes to marketing.  Using examples from authors and illustrators, Kirsten Cappy of Curious City will share how publication creates the opportunity to form an entire new community - one of advocates and readers.  Focusing on the mission of your marketing before the “should’s" of marketing, Curious City will help you envision story-based marketing solutions as unique as your book. Kirsten Cappy, Curious City owner and book industry expert via Skype 2:25 P.M. to 2:40 P.M.: BREAK AND REFRESHMENTS (light refreshments provided) 2:45 P.M. to 4:00 P.M.: SOLO PRESENTATION, MARKETING WITH PROVEN STRATEGIES FOR AUTHORS  In this session, Maria will help teach you how to boost your sales and strengthen your marketing platform. You will learn how to take action in marketing your message and how to get your books out to larger audiences. Maria Dismondy, author, and public speaker 4:05 P.M. to 4:30 P.M.: CLOSING STATEMENTS, SURVEY, AND DOOR PRIZES Click HERE to access an informational flyer! To register, click here
  • To Market, To Market: An interactive, at-a-glance resource of book selling events, SCBWI member book launches and signings, and writer/illustrator contests and awards.   These databases are an easily accessed resource-sharing tool for our members that can be added to, viewed, and downloaded and sorted. SCBWI-MI hopes members will find this information useful in their search for local book festivals, fairs and conferences, as well as member signings and launches, and various awards and contests available to writers and illustrators.   All the information on the spreadsheets is supplied by members. Share relevant information by entering the information in the correct column on the spreadsheet.      SCBWI-MI members have access to the following databases: SCBWI Book Signings and Launches Michigan Book Festivals, Fairs and Conferences Awards and Contests   For questions or help contact Dawne Webber at dawne.webber@gmail.com ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  Here's the link to the Awards and Contests sheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1tNzBE7-EZsZdC5bwr4JLIzWdSCvMljSGuhCb8EOzRGU/edit?usp=sharing   SCBWI Book Signing and Launches sheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1xDBsR1sGIzEd-Y2Vh1zClRS9O6V1Ni560A5OBsqk5to/edit?usp=sharing   Michigan Book Festivals, Fairs and Conferences sheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1iZv_WttXUQtEmk-yLRUsUGbGbOnmsbNkeR8S_d2LXtk/edit?usp=sharing
  • The Mitten is the official blog for the Michigan chapter of SCBWI. Please spread the word and share with anyone interested in reading, writing, and creating quality literature for children and young adults.  http://scbwimithemitten.blogspot.com/ SCBWI-MI members are encouraged to submit blog posts.  What are we looking for? Success stories tips on any aspect of the publishing process - writing, illustrating, promotion, time management, etc. agent/editor interviews photos, personal impressions, and brief overviews of events, such as conferences, meet-ups, book signings, book clubs, festivals, etc. reviews of books on craft We’re also looking for contributions for our ongoing features: Ask Frida Pennabook: Sometimes it's helpful to tap into the expertise of a fellow writer or artist. Got a question? Need advice? Just ask Frida. Hugs and Hurrahs: We want to trumpet your good news! Send 1-3 sentences about your accomplishment. We love to include photos and art, too. Do you have an idea for a blog post or a new feature?  We’d love to hear it! Submission guidelines: Please query Kristin Lenz at kristinbartleylenz@gmail.com. Include a 1-3 sentence bio and any links, art, book covers, or photos to accompany your blog post. (All images must be your personal property or fair use/public domain.)  
  • The Reading List Program includes books of all genres from our PAL authors and illustrators, both front list and backlist titles. This is an opportunity to find that book that a kid or teen will enjoy and can engage with the fun and adventure of reading. Authors and illustrators from close to your hometown to those around the world are featured on the List. The Lists will be published bi-annually, in the Summer and Winter. Access list by clicking HERE!!!!!!  
  • Wouldn't you love to attend a children's book conference without traveling? No airports, hotels, gas stations, or expense reports? No work time lost? Register and view our affordable webinar from the comfort of your home or office — wherever and whenever you have access to a computer. Or join your friends and colleagues who have registered and watch together. "You guided me from ignorantly-intimidated to old-dog-learned-new-trick! Well done! This internet thing might not be so bad."   CLICK HERE TO REGISTER  Children’s Book Industry 101: Terms, Conventions, and How It Works lead by Carrie Pearson and moderated by Leslie Helakoski. Description: A nuts and bolts session for writers and writer/s including standards for traditional publishing (formatting, word counts for categories, conventions, what’s pushy, what’s polite), how the industry works (role of agent vs. editor, publishing houses and what they offer, large house vs. small vs. regional), and how we get paid (advance, royalties).   "You guys absolutely ROCK at putting together great presentations and making them really work! Thank you so much!"   – author, Elizabeth McBride  Illustration credit: Nina Goebel


The strength of SCBWI lies in its individual members. Whether you are a creator, publisher, reviewer, librarian, bookseller, educator, or simply someone with a love of literature and a desire to see the best in the hands of children, we invite you to get to know us better.



Current SCBWI-MI Events:

Marketing Boot Camp: A Day Devoted to the Business of Writing – April 29


Illustrator Mentorship  2017-2018


Shop Talks – no charge, regular events at locations around Michigan


To Market, To Market - An Interactive, at-a-glance resource of book selling events


Talent Showcase: Let us help promote your work on the chapter's website!


Webinar Library: Register and view our affordable webinar from the comfort of your home or office.


Information regarding Adding Promotional Links to Member and Speaker Profiles


Other Industry-Related Events Around the Great State of Michigan:


Got news to share? A new release to celebrate? Contact Debbie HERE 


For events happening around the world, navigate to the Events Calendar