Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Marketing Boot Camp – April 29

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Date(s) - 04/29/2017
12:00 am

MSU Innovation Center
325 East Grand River Avenue - East Lansing, MI ‎ 48823


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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

Access maps below:

Marketing Bootcamp Parking Map

Marketing Bootcamp Lodging Map


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 ChickensBig 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 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).

KRISTIN 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 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 – Oh No! The Easter Bunny is Allergic to Eggs! and Oh No! The Tooth Fairy Broke Her Wing! Learn more at  

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, follow on Facebook, or visit his website: 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 and Curious City’s explorations with marketing and children’s literature can be found at

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. 

Schedule (subject to change)



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.

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

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.

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)


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

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.

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

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)


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


Click HERE to access an informational flyer!

To register, click here