2019 June Conference
Eve Adler is a Senior Editor at Sterling Children's Books. She works on a variety of formats, including board books, picture books, early readers, chapter books, and middle grade. Prior to joining Sterling, Eve worked at Penguin Workshop, an imprint of Penguin Random House Children’s books, where she edited Girls Who Code: The Friendship Code by Stacia Deutsch, a New York Times Bestseller, and Hello, World: Paris: A Book of Shapes by Ashley Evanson, an Amazon Best book of the Year. She’s drawn to projects that break the mold, and will stand out in the marketplace. Prior to Sterling and Penguin Workshop, Eve worked at Henry Holt Books for Young Readers (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group), and in the adult imprint of G. P. Putnam’s Sons (Penguin Random House).

Workshop title: How to Hook Your Readers with the Right Voice  

You've probably heard from editors and agents that voice is the most important aspect of your writing. But what is voice? Voice establishes the tone of your story, tells the reader what kind of personality your narrator has, and gives a feeling of time and place—whether it’s a board book or picture book. But how does one find the right voice, and make it come across effectively? In this workshop, we will demystify the process by analyzing several board books and picture books, and by doing writing exercises. You’ll leave with a plethora of advice to take on your voice-finding journey!

Kat Brzozowki is a senior editor Swoon Reads and Feiwel & Friends, divisions of the Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group (MCPG). She edits books acquired through the Swoon Reads site as well as acquires books traditionally (through agents and conferences) for Feiwel & Friends. She joined MCPG after seven years at Thomas Dunne Books, a division of St. Martin’s Press, where she acquired and edited fiction and non-fiction for teens and adults.

At Feiwel & Friends, her authors include Anna-Marie McLemore (Stonewall Award Honoree and National Book Award longlister), Leslie Odom, Jr. (star of “Hamilton”), and Aminah Mar Safi (Not the Girls You’re Looking For). For Swoon Reads, she edits a wide range of young adult projects, from contemporary romance to thrillers and beyond. 

Kat is passionate about young adult fiction with complicated characters (especially female characters), and is drawn above all to a strong voice, realistic dialogue, and a great hook. She’s also looking for non-fiction for teens and young adults that expose readers to new worlds and new points of view.

Workshop title: “Speak Up, I Can’t Hear You: Writing Voice”

You’ve come up with a plot. You’ve created characters. You have a setting. Now how do you make your readers feel like these characters are really speaking to them? Voice is one of the most important elements of fiction and one of the hardest to master. We’ll talk about how other authors craft voice successfully and how you can do it, too. Be prepared to write!

Alvina Ling is Vice President and Editor-in-Chief at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (a division of Hachette Book Group) where she has worked since 1999. She edits children’s books for all ages, from picture books to young adult. She has edited such books as A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin; Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Bryan Collier; Shark Vs. Train by Chris Barton and Tom Lichtenheld; Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin, The Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer, The Wild Robot by Peter Brown, Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes, The Candymakers by Wendy Mass, The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, and The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. Follow her on twitter @planetalvina and on Instagram @alvinaling. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Venus.

Workshop title: “Crafting Your Novel’s Narrative: The Basics of Structure, Voice, Character, and Plot"

Whether you’re just starting out, or in the revision stage of your novel, this intensive will give an overview of the four basic elements of your narrative. This workshop also aims to help you work through and brainstorm around any specific issues you’re having with your novel’s narrative. Optional: Read Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Starry River of the Sky, and When the Sea Turns to Silver by Grace Lin.

David Neilsen is the author of two middle grade horror/comic/fantasies published by Crown Books for Young Readers: Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom (2016) and Beyond the Doors (2017). A classically trained actor, David works as a professional storyteller based in Sleepy Hollow, NY and spends much of October spooking the bejeebers out of people or performing one of his one-man shows inspired by the works of H. P. Lovecraft. He lives with his wife, son, daughter and two very domineering cats. Learn more about David on his website David Neilsen

Session title: “Writing the Scary Stuff”

Emma Sector is a Literary Agent at Prospect Agency, where she represents picture book, chapter book, middle grade and YA authors and illustrates. Check out the Prospect Agency website and portfolio at Prospect Agency

Workshop title: “Chapter Books: Writing Stand Out Characters and Building a Series”

In this workshop, we’ll take a close look at successful chapter books series and figure out what makes them work. We’ll answer questions like, how can you tell if your manuscript would work best as a chapter book or middle grade novel and what is the typical word count? We’ll also dive into the structure of a chapter book and ow successful series play with it.

Then each person will work on creating a unique character for this age group. No need to come in with prior work for we’ll use this time to generate new ideas!

We’ll wrap up by brainstorming frameworks to place your new character in. You should finish the workshop with a solid jumping off point for your own, stand out chapter book!