By Cate Berry
The third annual Picture Book Summit online writing conference will be Oct. 7.
To find out more about this opportunity, which not only allows, but encourages attendance in pajamas, I interviewed one of the founders, Emma Walton Hamilton.
What prompted you to start the Picture Book Summit?
Jon and Laura Backes Bard, Katie Davis, Julie Hedlund and I are longtime friends and colleagues in the children’s lit community. We all regularly contribute to each other’s various programs and endeavors.
The Picture Book Summit seems like such great idea. A whole conference without ever leaving your couch…heaven! Besides the convenience of the online format, what are some specific features that attract a picture book writer?
Picture Book Summit is a world-class conference, jam-packed with value throughout the entire day. There are keynotes from three different Superstar Speakers – this year it’s Tomie dePaola, Carole Boston Weatherford and Adam Rex – who each deliver their own complete session, discussing their craft, giving actionable advice and answering questions.
There are interviews with agents and editors, addressing questions that attendees have asked and submission opportunities to them.
It’s incredible value for the price!
Who is the ideal candidate for your conference?
The Summit is open to anyone who writes, illustrates, or dreams of writing or illustrating picture books. Beginners get a ton of information that helps bring them up to speed quickly, and experienced authors and illustrators get re-energized and inspired.
Is there anyone who is not qualified to attend?
No. There is no question too basic, and no publishing experience or knowledge is required to attend.
It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the work of our speakers and presenters beforehand, and to have some questions ready to ask.
Beyond that, just watch, listen and learn! It will be a lot of information, but we provide handouts, slide decks and recordings of all the presentations after the fact… so you can pace yourself and just enjoy the day.
Is there anything I haven’t addressed about the Picture Book Summit that you’d like our readers to be aware of?
Picture Book Summit is an all-day live broadcast in webinar format. You log in, sit back and enjoy each session one after the other. But even if you can’t attend on the day, or have to miss part of a presentation, the entire event is recorded and available for playback within a few days. All registrants have access to the recordings.
Also, every year Picture Book Summit donates a generous portion of our proceeds to a different charity. To date, we have donated over $10,000. Charities we’ve partnered with so far include Reading Partners and We Need Diverse Books.
This year, Picture Book Summit is giving to students “coast to coast.” Proceeds from Picture Book Summit 2017 will be donated to two Title 1 schools – Harrison Elementary in Cottage Grove, OR, and Lincoln Elementary, in New Britain, CT. A portion of each Summiteer’s ticket will go directly to each school’s library.
The Picture Book Summit is presented by Children’s Book Insider, the Institute of Children’s Literature, Just Write for Kids and 12×12 Picture Book Writing Challenge. Registration deadline for the conference is Sept. 29.
Emma Walton Hamilton is a best-selling children’s book author, editor and writing coach.
With her mother, actress/author Julie Andrews, Emma has co-authored over thirty children’s books, eight of which have been on the New York Times Bestseller list, including The Very Fairy Princess series, illustrated by Christine Davenier (Little Brown, 2010).
She is director of the Children’s Lit Fellows program at Stony Brook University.
Cate is an active member of SCBWI and the Austin children’s literature community. She teaches numerous picture book classes at the Writing Barn in Austin, where she lives with her husband and two children.
Her debut picture book, Penguin and Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime! (Balzer+Bray/Harper Collins) releases in May, 2018.