Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2020 Picture Book Webinar Series

Date(s) - 01/18/2020 - 01/25/2020
9:00 am - 11:30 am

Tricks of the Trade slider

Artwork by Kyle Cossairt

Sorry, this event is fully booked.

We have more webinars coming in February and March!

Our Picture Book Webinar Series is back! SCBWI Inland Northwest has gathered an amazing group of Picture Book professionals. Each will lead a webinar for writers and illustrators that also write. This series will take place on 2 consecutive Saturdays. You can participate live, or watch the recordings at your convenience.

Early Bird Registration opens December 26th and runs through January 14. During this time, the ticket price is $60 for SCBWI members ($75 non-members). This price includes all 4 webinars . If space remains on January 15, tickets will open for individual webinars. These tickets will  be $20 for SCBWI members and $30 for non-members.

**FYI, our 2018 & 2019 series sold out during Early Bird registration.

**Early Bird Bonus! We’ve added a Private Pitch Party for SCBWI members that register before January 15. Keep scrolling for details.

The Program:

January 18

9:00 AM Editor Emily Feinberg The Power of an Original Idea

In this webinar, we’ll be looking at ways to make that good idea you had into something tangible. How do you get started? What are the obstacles you’ll likely face? We’ll be looking at examples of books that started just that way and became successful.

10:30 AM Editor Christina Pulles How to Show a Story

As picture book writers, “Show, don’t tell” is a phrase you’re probably tired of hearing, but it’s one of the most important tricks of the trade. In this webinar, we’ll explore strategies to help make showing come naturally, whether it’s when describing a character’s feelings, a relationship between two characters, or showing that a character has changed. Using examples from books Christina has edited and other mentor texts, we’ll also look at when telling is the right choice, and discuss the much-debated topic of when you should include an illustration note and when you should leave something up to the illustrator. ​

January 25

9:00 AM Author & Librarian Betsy Bird Killing the Picture Book Canon: What the Classics Get Right, and What Your Future Classic Shouldn’t Get Wrong 

As Walter de la Mare is reported to have said, “Only the rarest kind of best is good enough for the young”. By logical extension, it would follow that the picture book classics we all know and love fall neatly into that category. But do they? And is it time to shake up what we think of as a “classic”? Join Betsy as she takes a deep dive into common links and connections between classic books, what makes them memorable, and how you can write the next contender for that “classic” status.

10:30 AM Assistant Art Director Katrina Demkoehler The Lifecycle of a Picture Book

In this webinar, the story of a single picture book unfolds. From manuscript to final art, Katrina will share the specific tips and feedback she offered the artist. Participants will see how early sketches evolved to improve the finished book.

Recordings of all 4 webinars will be available to registered participants through Saturday, February 15.


The Presenters:

Emily Feinberg is an Editor at Roaring Brook Press, where she’s been for over eight years. In her time there, she’s acquired and edited a wide range of books, including Elisha’s Cooper’s Caldecott Honor book Big Cat, Little Cat, Lily Williams award-winning series If Animals Disappeared as well as her upcoming debut graphic novel Go With the Flow, Cindy Derby’s How To Walk An Ant, and Karen Blumenthal’s groundbreaking YA nonfiction Jane Against the World: Roe V. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive Rights. She graduated with a master’s degree in children’s literature from Simmons University in 2011. She is not an editor of fantasy.



Christina Pulles joined Albert Whitman & Company in December 2018, and before that worked at Sterling Children’s Books and Simon & Schuster’s Simon Spotlight imprint. Books that she’s edited include the picture books A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks by Alice Faye Duncan and Xia Gordon, Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast: Mission Defrostable by Josh Funk and Brendan Kearney, and the upcomingTwo Bicycles in Beijing by Teresa Robeson and Junyi Wu, as well as the middle grade novels Howard Wallace, P.I. and its sequels by Casey Lyall, and Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus and its sequel by Dusti Bowling.



Betsy Bird
is the Collection Development Manager of Evanston Public Library and the former Youth Materials Specialist of New York Public Library. She reviews for Kirkus and The New York Times, on occasion, and blogs for School Library Journal at the site A Fuse #8 Production. Betsy is the author of two picture books (GIANT DANCE PARTY and THE GREAT SANTA STAKEOUT), co-author of the very adult WILD THINGS: ACTS OF MISCHIEF IN CHILDREN’S LITERATURE, and editor of the middle grade anthology of hilarious female writers and artists, FUNNY GIRL. She also podcasts professionally at Story Seeds (a show where kids are paired with authors to make stories together) and with her sister Kate at Fuse 8 n’ Kate, where they discuss which picture books should and should not be classics. You can find Betsy at her website ( or on Twitter @Fuseeight.


Katrina Damkoehler is currently Assistant Art Director at Random House Children’s Publishing, where she designs and art directs approximately 35 middle grade and picture book titles per year. She was previously Art Director at Amazon Children’s Publishing. Recent projects she art directed include the 2015 Geisel Award-winner “You Are Not Small” (Anna Kang & Christopher Weyant), “Grover Cleveland, Again” (Ken Burns & Gerald Kelley), and “The Seekers” (Hari & Deepti).




The Critiques:

A limited number of manuscript and dummy critiques are available for $50 a piece. You can add a critique to your ticket when you register. Materials must be submitted on or before January 15th. A completed SCBWI Gold Form critique will be returned to you by email from SCBWI INW on or before February 17th. Specific submission instructions will be included in your confirmation letter.


Please note:

After you register, add to your email contacts list. We send confirmation letters, webinar invites, recordings, and completed critiques via email.

Confirmation letters are emailed the Wednesday after you register. Webinar invites are emailed the Wednesday before the scheduled event.

Webinar recordings, along with faculty submission guidelines, will be emailed to all registered participants after 12:00 noon Pacific Time January 18 and 25.


The Private Pitch Party!

All SCBWI members that register on or before January 14 will receive an invitation to our Private Pitch Party! Each party guest may submit up to 2 Picture Book pitches. Pitches will be compiled into a Private Pitch Party document and shared exclusively with our the agents listed below. If your pitch interests an agents, we’ll notify you with specific submission instructions. This opportunity is for writers and illustrators that are ready to submit a complete, critiqued, and well-polished manuscript. (There’s no additional fee, submit your pitches for free!) Detailed instructions with information on word count and image sharing will be provided in your confirmation letter. Confirmation letters are sent each Wednesday. So, if you register on a Thursday, your letter will be sent the following Wednesday.


Lindsay Davis Auld is a literary agent at Writers House. She started in the agency’s California office, where she apprenticed with Steven Malk and had the opportunity to work with some of the very best authors and artists in the industry. Before taking time off to start a family, she helped launch the careers of several bestselling and award-winning authors. Having now re-joined Writers House, she is actively building her list. She is seeking picture book, middle grade and young adult manuscripts, and is particularly drawn to mysteries, fantasy, literary suspense, friendship stories, magical realism, adventure, and books with humor–light or dark or both.


Since interning at BookEnds as an undergrad in the summer of 2015, James McGowan  has (basically) never left. He’s just continuously level-up-ed inside of BookEnds. Now he is the Literary Assistant and Social Media Manager for the team. James is a Staten Island native, and just recently graduated with his Master’s Degree in English from the College of Staten Island. He’s been a reader since his mom gave him the first A Series of Unfortunate Events book, and ordered the sequels regularly through Scholastic book orders. When he’s not reading/working, James can usually be found watching an unhealthy amount of sitcoms. James is now open to submissions! More information can be found on our submissions page, and you can query him here: http://QueryMe.Online/jmcgowan.

Colleen Oefelein is an associate agent at New York’s The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency, as well as an author of YA, picture books, and author promotion guides. Formerly an associate agent and PR manager with Inklings Literary Agency, Colleen has hosted numerous “Pitch Perfect” and “Rejection Correction” workshops on Facebook and at conferences nationwide, and she’s mentored several authors one-on-one through online pitch contests such as Pitch Wars. Prior to her career in the publishing world, Colleen was an Air Force officer and engineer, who launched satellites, researched laser protection, and flew helicopters. Now retired from the military, she lives in Alaska with her husband, son, and boerboel. She holds a BS in chemical engineering/biotechnology and a separate BS in German, both from Penn State. A former 911 call taker and dispatcher for Alaska troopers, she has a soft spot for veterans and law enforcement families. She represents picture books, middle grade, young adult, and adult books in many genres.

Samantha Wekstein attended the University of Maryland, College Park and received a B.A. in English. She now lives in NYC with her husband and dog. After internships with Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency and Rowman & Littlefield, she began her career in 2013 at Writers House LLC. She then briefly worked as an assistant at The Agency Group (now UTA) before returning to Writers House for the next 5 years where she began supporting the CEO, and then the Founder, before becoming an agent. She’s been lucky to work with a variety of best-selling and award-winning authors across all genres. She joined TLA in 2019 where she’s excited to grow her list.  She is on the lookout for whimsical, meaningful, and funny picture books and prefers author/illustrators.


All registrations are final. Email with your questions.

This event is fully booked.