Sneak Peek at WIK ’15 Conference

WIK ’15 — a Sneak Peek

“Writing and Illustrating for Kids, 2015” features One for the illustrators, Two for the writers, Three for critiques and another chance to go, go, go all day Saturday to a myriad of workshops for Kid Lit enthusiasts. It’s our 24th annual conference in Birmingham and promises a host of learning opportunities.

e b lewis

Let’s start with Friday. 

Renowned “artistrator” E. B. Lewis — of SpringMingle ’11 fame, not to mention 60 plus books — is coming back to Southern Breeze for this WIK ’15 conference. He’ll offer an all-day Illustrators’ Intensive: “The Hook of the Book.” It explores how just the right illustration, paired with the right words, hooks the reader and keeps those pages turning.  Attendees will leave with ideas on how to  improve their art and their writing, while making their work stand out in this ever-more-competitive field. Writers and illustrators welcome.

Friday morning’s Writers’ Intensive features Harold Underdown, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Children’s Publishing. A frequent speaker at national and international conferences, Harold shares how writers can improve their work without hiring professionals in his “Writing Without an Editor” half-day intensive. In it he will explain how to use reader response theory, feedback, “big-picture” methods, and detailed editing techniques to make your manuscript a whole lot better.


Come for the morning with Harold, stay for the day with Hester Bass, one of Southern Breezes’ many success stories and the author of two award winning books. She’ll show you how to add rhythm to your language and drama to your plots in her half-day writer’s intensive, because, as Hester knows — and her work shows — great picture books beg to be performed. Her topic: “Picture Books That Perform: Setting the Stage for Success.”

But that’s not all.

Saturday morning kicks off with a keynote address by a veteran of the children’s publishing industry, someone who knows writing from both sides of the desk as an editor for such well known houses as Macmillan and as a published author, not to mention his highly respected web site, The Purple Crayon. His Keynote topic? It’s titled “This is the Best of Times; This is the Worst of Times: Dealing with Constant Change in Publishing.”  His name? Surely you know by now. He’ll review some recent developments in the publishing industry, put them in perspective, and help you make sense of the trends beating on publishers’ doors. With any luck, he’ll send you back to your computer with renewed enthusiasm for getting your work published.

And that’s just the beginning of the day. There are two editors, one from Candlewick, one from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers. There’s an agent, an award winning author or two, and someone — you know who — who is a famous illustrator of children’s literature.

A sneak peek at their workshop titles reveals these few teasers.  It’s up to you to decide where you want to focus your efforts.

The Big Picture of Picture Books, What Editors Want


Agent Rubin Pfeffer

Writing form the Heart: A Look at the Middle Grade Novel

Adair Headshot

Editor Kaylan Adair

Picture Books as Performance

Hester Bass

Author Hester Bass

Other workshops, to name only a few:

What to Expect from the Revision Process

To Captivate and Educate, Irresistible School Visits. 

Working with Publishing Professionals. 

Choosing a Publishing Path: Self vs. Traditional

From Submission to Print, What goes on Behind the Scenes

And that’s not all. Stay tuned…for more conference highlights or check out the SCBWI website, Southern-Breeze region.       © Stephanie Moody 2011