Thank you for registering!

This is the page where you can access all conference sessions – please do not share it with anyone who has not registered for the conference.

To access each session, click on the link showing the time for that session (for instance, 12:45 – 1:45 Eastern). Following each live session, the link will change from Zoom (for the live session) to YouTube (for the recording of that session) once the recording is available

Please note: all times are Eastern; end times are approximateAll conference sessions are recorded.

All sessions can be viewed at the times indicated below, or at anytime through August 14, 2021.

All times and sessions are subject to change

Book discussions with each author are an opportunity for you to learn more about our speakers’ books and to ask them questions.

If you would like to sign up for 1-on-1 meetings with selected speakers and other publishing industry experts, you can do so by clicking on the following links. (separate registration required; limited availability)

  • To schedule a meeting with Matthew Paul Turner – coming soon
  • To schedule a meeting with Traci Smith click here
  • To schedule a meeting with other speakers click here

If you would like to sign up for an Open mic reading (Thursday May 13 from 3:00 – 4:00 PM Eastern) you may do so here.

If you would like to submit a pitch to any of the agents or editors participating in the conference, please email it to brian@writingforyourlife.com no later than July 14, 2021 and let me know to whom I should forward your email.

Don’t forget to check out our Bookstore! There you can learn about many children’s books as well as recommended books on writing, marketing, and getting published.

Monday May 10 

  • 9:00 – 9:30 Eastern: Worship service with Kathleen Long Bostrom– learn more about Kathy here
  • 9:30 – 10:15 Eastern: Glenys Nellist presentation “Knowing Your Why; Knowing Your Way” – learn more about Glenys here
    • We’ve all experienced the tiresome talk of a toddler who continually demands, why? But asking why, whether we are writers or readers, will help us find our way. Why do I write for children? Why am I still here, despite countless rejections? Why do I read children’s books? Join Glenys Nellist as she explores how knowing your why will help you know your way.
  • 10:15 – 11:00 Eastern: Glenys NellistQ&R and book discussion
  • 11:15 – 12:00 Eastern: Karen Neumair (literary agent) presentation “Landing a Literary Agent” – learn more about Karen here
    • ​Get insider information on how to open the door to traditional publishing with the right representation. Senior Literary Agent Karen Neumair will provide a brief overview of the three primary publishing paths, then unpack the basic steps to landing a contract with a traditional publisher—including the role of a literary agent and how to find one.
  • 12:00 – 12:45 Eastern: Karen Neumair (literary agent) Q&R and book discussion
  • 12:45 – 1:45 Eastern: Networking Lunch Break – an unmoderated, informal time for you to chat with other conference attendees
  • 2:00 – 3:00 Eastern: Panel 1: Celebrating diversity in children’s books
  • 3:15 – 4:00 Eastern: Linda Howard (Tyndale House) presentation: “10 things every aspiring writer needs to know” – learn more about Linda here
  • 4:00 – 4:45 Eastern: Linda Howard (Tyndale House) Q&R and book discussion
  • 5:00 – 5:30 Eastern: Progressive Christian Children’s Ministry Resources Project
    • Learn more about this new Compassionate Christianity project, the goal of which is to assemble, vet, and make conveniently accessible recommended progressive books and resources for use by children’s and youth ministry leaders, pastors, volunteers, Sunday School teachers, and parents.
  • 5:45 – 6:15 Eastern: Emerging author series: Dorina Gilmore – learn more about Dorina here
  • 7:15 – 8:00 Eastern: Cindy Wang Brandt presentation “Doing justice to children in our children’s books” – learn more about Cindy here
    • When I was writing my parenting book, Parenting Forward, my editor would tell me, “don’t be so preachy,” your reader don’t need to be told what to do, it doesn’t make for good writing. Indeed, it’s not good writing because it’s disrespectful to my adult readers, it condescends and assumes they aren’t capable of thinking for themselves. We learn to respect people’s autonomy, but sometimes we don’t afford the same to children. In this session, we’ll have a conversation about what it means to do justice to children in the ways we speak to children and write for them.
  • 8:00 – 8:45 Eastern: Cindy Wang Brandt Q&R and book discussion

Tuesday May 11 

  • 9:30 – 10:15 Eastern: Matthew Paul Turner presentation– learn more about Matthew here
  • 10:15 – 11:00 Eastern: Matthew Paul TurnerQ&R and book discussion
  • 11:15 – 12:00 Eastern: Jennifer Grant presentation “Take Your Picture Book Manuscript to the Next Level by Taking It Seriously”– learn more about Jenniferhere
  • 12:00 – 12:45 Eastern: Jennifer Grant Q&R and book discussion
  • 12:45 – 1:45 Eastern: Break
  • 2:00 – 3:00 Eastern: “Summer Reading List” with Jennifer Grant
  • 3:15 – 4:00 Eastern: Jeannette Larson (Flyaway Books) presentation – learn more about Jeannette here
  • 4:00 – 4:45 Eastern: Jeannette Larson (Flyaway Books) Q&R and book discussion
  • 5:00 – 5:30 Eastern: Emerging authors series: Chip Bristol – learn more about Chip here
  • 5:45 – 6:15 Eastern: “How to Heal Our Divides” – book introduction with Brian Allain
    • If we didn’t recognize it already, 2020 put a spotlight on several serious, deep divides that have had strong negative impacts on our society. Many good books have been written describing these divides and how they came about, or encouraging us to look deeply inside ourselves to discover our own flaws. But there is a lack of illumination on role model organizations demonstrating what to do about it. “How to Heal Our Divides” is a book that lifts up and builds awareness of organizations that are taking real action to heal serious divides – particularly racial and political divides. The book is not an attempt at glossing them over or “making happy” but instead highlights tangible efforts that are actually decreasing divides in practical ways.
  • 8:00 – 9:00 PM Eastern: Second Tuesdays Writer Discussion Group – learn more here

Wednesday May 12

  • 9:30 – 10:15 Eastern: Bunmi Ishola (Penguin Random House) presentation “Kid Lit These Days”– learn more about Bunmi here
    • A general overview of writing for kids—the age ranges/categories publishers use, the genres/styles, what works and doesn’t work.
  • 10:15 – 11:00 Eastern: Bunmi Ishola (Penguin Random House)Q&R and book discussion
  • 11:15 – 12:00 Eastern: Sharon Elliott presentation “Move to the Excellent Level: The Ten P’s to Your Writing Success” – learn more about Sharon here
    • There’s more involved with being a children’s author than getting your book published. What does it really take to be a successful children’s author? Attend this workshop and get the lowdown. Not only will you gain a wealth of knowledge about what really goes on in the business from industry insider, but you’ll leave knowing what people to surround yourself with, how to brand yourself, and how to develop your personal mission statement and tagline. In addition, you’ll start thinking through your publishing plan for the future and much more.
  • 12:00 – 12:45 Eastern: Sharon Elliott Q&R and book discussion
  • 12:45 – 1:45 Eastern: What Do You Need As A Writer? – this informal conversation is an opportunity for you to share and discuss the most important kinds of support you need as a writer
  • 2:00 – 2:45 Eastern: a conversation with Katherine Paterson – learn more about Katherine here
  • 3:00 – 4:00 Eastern: Panel 2: Editors discuss children’s book trends
  • 4:15 – 5:00 Eastern: Joyce Dinkins (Our Daily Bread Ministries) presentation – learn more about Joyce here
  • 5:00 – 5:45 Eastern: Joyce Dinkins (Our Daily Bread Ministries) Q&R and book discussion
  • 6:00 – 6:30 Eastern: Lorenzo Lebrija (trytank.org – an experimental lab of the Episcopal Church) Q&R 

Thursday May 13

  • 9:30 – 10:15 Eastern: ​Naomi Kruger (Beaming Books) presentation “The Making of A Picture Book: A Behind the Scenes Look from Acquisitions to Publication”– learn more about Naomi here
    • Join Naomi Krueger, Acquisitions Editor at Beaming Books, for a tour through the process of making a picture book. How are books acquired? How does a publisher decide to make an offer? How is an illustrator chosen? What happens during manuscript revisions and production? How does a publisher market and publicize a book? All this and more on the details of how a publisher bring a picture book into being.
  • 10:15 – 11:00 Eastern: Naomi Kruger (Beaming Books)Q&R and book discussion
  • 11:15 – 12:00 Eastern: Kathleen Long Bostrom presentation “Nuggets from the Newbery Medalists”– learn more about Kathy here
    • When I first began writing books for children, I decided to educate myself on the Newbery medal and the medalists themselves.  Why not learn from the best? I corresponded with, met, and became friends with many of the Newbery winners, from Irene Hunt to Linda Sue Park to Jerry Spinelli, Katherine Paterson, Lois Lowry, and many others. I ended up writing my own book, Winning Authors: Profiles of the Newbery Medalists. In my presentation, I’ll share a few of my favorite nuggets from my interviews with and photographs of these amazing authors.
  • 12:00 – 12:45 Eastern: Kathleen Long Bostrom Q&R and book discussion
  • 12:45 – 1:45 Eastern: Break
  • 1:45 – 2:45 Eastern: Panel 3: Manuscript critique, consulting, and freelance editing for children’s books
  • 3:00 – 4:00 Eastern: Open mic
  • 4:15 – 5:00 Eastern: Brittany Sky (United Methodist Publishing House) presentation “Publishing with The United Methodist Publishing House” – learn more about Brittany here
    • Join Brittany Sky, senior editor of children’s resources, to learn about the proposal and publishing process at The United Methodist Publishing House. She will walk through the books and resources UMPH publishes for children and their caregivers, what a proposal should include, and what the publishing approval process includes.
  • 5:00 – 5:45 Eastern: Brittany Sky (United Methodist Publishing House)Q&R and book discussion

Friday May 14

  • 9:30 – 10:15 Eastern: Traci Smith presentation – learn more about Traci here
  • 10:15 – 11:00 Eastern: Traci SmithQ&R and book discussion
  • 11:15 – 12:00 Eastern: Keely Boeving (literary agent) presentation “What Is An Agent and Why Do I Need One?” – learn more about Keely here
  • 12:00 – 12:45 Eastern: Keely Boeving (literary agent)Q&R and book discussion
  • 12:45 – 1:45 Eastern: Networking Lunch Break – an unmoderated, informal time for you to chat with other conference attendees
  • 2:00 – 2:45 Eastern: Caryn Rivadeneira presentation “Writing Like an Animal” – learn more about Caryn here
    • Stories about animals are all sorts of fun — to read and to write. Certainly, they continue to be popular. However, creating animal characters and “voices” can be fraught with peril. In this session, we’ll explore the reasons to use animals as characters and the reason to choose not to. We’ll look at the history of animal characters and ways they have been used for good — and for ill. Then we’ll look at the best ways to effectively capture a voice and character in a way that allows readers to suspend disbelief without suspending a sense of integrity.
  • 2:45 – 3:30 Eastern: Caryn RivadeneiraQ&R and book discussion
  • 3:45 – 5:00 Eastern: Elevator pitch practice session

All times and sessions are subject to change