Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Coaching Chats


(LIVE & Recorded: 60 minutes. Attend one session live with unlimited viewings of both recordings for one month)

Join the Pitch N’ Stitch Team for an intimate chat with our all-star faculty.
Ask YOUR questions about how our kidlit professionals scout for new talent, coach clients and create literary line-ups. 


—Each LIVE session will be limited to 25 attendees per Zoom platform.


—Personally address faculty with your questions about their agency or house.


—Choose to attend either Agent Coaching Chat or Editor Coaching Chat during event registration.



Agent Coaching Chat

Joanna MacKenzie, Agent, Nelson Literary Agency

Dan Cramer, Associate Agent, Flannery Literary Agency


Editor Coaching Chat

Joy Triche, Publisher, Tiger Stripe Books

Mabel Hsu, Editor, Katherine Tegen Books

Feather Flores, Assistant Editor, Chronicle Books


How do I know which I selected for LIVE participation? Click here.

QUESTIONS: Email Deb Aronson. ARA





























Not pictured, Dan Cramer, Flannery Literary Agency









PANEL: Our local industry professionals will “pitch” their house or agency and tell you why they should have your next work-in-progress. SCBWI-IL PAL professionals will join them to discuss the art of pitching their work.



—You will “pitch” up to (3) works-in-progress. The industry professional at your table will select the one they think most promising.

—You will read its corresponding, first page and receive instant, professional feedback on that work-in-progress.

— Attendees will bring hard copies of their log lines and (10) copies of each of their first pages.  Illustrators are invited to bring dummys and/or graphic novel illustrations in addition to their first pages as collateral material only. (See PITCH PERFECT 3: SESSIONS, at right)

—Agented attendees may request to be seated with an editor.  Selection made during registration.

NEW! Log lines and first pages are not submitted in advance. You will indicate the format of your works-in-progress during registration.


CRAFT COACHING: NOVEL & PICTURE BOOK CRAFT INTENSIVES are offered opposite Pitch Perfect Sessions to give you the opportunity to learn trade secrets from our own, award-winning, Illinois PAL “coaches”.  (See CRAFT COACHING INTENSIVES, at right).


MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUES provide even MORE opportunity!
Optional Manuscript Critique opportunity is SOLD OUT.

NEW!: Choose your own industry professional to critique your manuscript!

— Every effort will be made to seat you with a different industry professional from that which you selected for your manuscript critique.

—Attendees are responsible for researching industry professionals and selecting the one that is right to critique the format and genre of their submitted work-in-progress.

— A limited number of written manuscript critiques by editors and agents are offered for an additional $45 fee. (See OPTIONAL WRITTEN MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUES, at right)

Opposite your Pitch Perfect Session, you may pre-register to attend ONE of the following Craft Intensives from our award-winning SCBWI-IL PAL faculty “coaches”:


Sherri Duskey Rinker

Patricia Toht

Jasmine Warga


The Journey To My First MG Novel
a Novel Craft intensive featuring Sherri Duskey Rinker (135 minutes with a break)


Sherri will discuss her process for her upcoming Revver the Speedway Squirrel (Bloomsbury: September 8, 2020), moving from the language of a chapter book (its initial format) through to the final product of her MG novel and planning out the sequel. Among the points Sherri will discuss:

—editing process with examples of comments from her editor

—the wide variety of MG novel scopes discussed within the context of some examples and popular fan-favorites

—the importance of understanding your work-in-progress’ audience — age, maturity, language, vocabulary and sentence structure

—recommend reference material to assist in novel writing.


Participant Preparation: 


Bring in 1-2 pages of your own MG manuscript.  As a writer, consider your intended audience.  Write a paragraph, or a few lines, giving us a sense of age/grade of your perceived target audience, and let us know what other books that target audience may love, have read, etc. (i.e. humor lover, animal lover, has enjoyed Magic Treehouse series, etc.).  Attach this paragraph to your 1-2 page sample.
—Sherri will read the submissions aloud and, as a group, will discuss: Are we hooked by those first couple of pages? Are we getting a sense of story arc, even in those first paragraphs? Does the language feel appropriate for the audience? Does the sentence structure feel appropriate? What about the theme — is it age-appropriate, or presented in an age-appropriate way?


Dummies, and Page Turns, and Art Notes — Oh, My!
a Picture Book Craft Intensive featuring Patricia Toht (135 minutes with a break)

You’ve found a fantastic idea. You’ve brainstormed that first, sloppy copy. You’ve revised, shared with critique partners, sketched, word-smithed and word-slashed. What else can you do to perfect that project? Bring a manuscript or dummy with you, and learn how to use these visual tools and more to make your story SHINE!


Participant Preparation: Bring a manuscript or dummy with you that you would like to work on during this intensive session.


Finding The Heart Of Your Story
a Novel Craft intensive featuring Jasmine Warga (135 minutes with a break)


Jasmine will discuss in detail her writing process for Other Words For Home, which involved completely re-writing the book, including switching it from prose to verse. Points Jasmine will discuss include:


—about how writing every book is a process of teasing out the questions the book is asking (Jasmine will discuss how to identify those questions, and how those questions shape the overall narrative arc of the book)

—knowing your characters inside and out—how falling in love with your characters and their quirks is what brings out the heart of your novel

—trusting the editing process to be messy—how sometimes you have to write the book the wrong way before you can write it the right way

—letting your art take the time it needs (ie writing is rewriting)


Participant Preparation: Bring a journal that you can jot down ideas and notes. We will do different exercises that will help us to better develop characters from your current manuscript, and figure out their narrative questions.