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Writer's Day + Writer's Day = Writer's Days

Books and Beyond:
How to Make a Living (and a Life!) as a Writer

April 21 – 22, 2012
8:00 a.m. Saturday – 3:00 p.m. Sunday

Clairbourn School
8400 Huntington Drive
San Gabriel, CA 91775

SATURDAY: Registration opens - 8 a.m.
Workshops start - 9 a.m.
Book signings - 5 p.m.

SUNDAY: Registration opens - 9 a.m.
Intensives start - 10 a.m.
Book signings - 3 p.m.

Manuscript Critiques
And More!

Scroll Down for Details

Click Here to Register

The Saturday Workshops

Editor Stacey Barney, Putnam/Penguin (
    How To Get An Editor (to fall in love with your manuscript)

Making an Editor fall in love with your work isn’t a feat necessarily out of your control. Ultimately, snagging your dream editor is about being the best writer you can be. We’ll discuss how to literally and figuratively dot all your i’s and cross all your t’s in order to find the best reader, champion and yes, editor for your work.

Agent Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich (
    How To Get An Agent (to fall in love with your manuscript)

Straight from the mouth of a literary agent, you'll find out what does, and maybe more importantly, what doesn't, get an agent's attention, from the query letter, to correspondence, to the manuscript itself.

Author Lee Wardlaw, award-winning author (PB to YA) (
    Ten Things I've Learned from My Cats about Being a Children's Book Author

Author Terri Farley: author of all 24 books in the "Phantom Stallion" middle grade series (
    Fetch Me A Dream, PDQ

Writing drove Stephen King to drug addiction, Dr. Seuss to drink & Balzac to eat handfuls of coffee beans. The Bronte sisters had to pretend they were the Bronte brothers and J.K. Rowling was asked to drop her first name. We do it all for the chance of seeing our names on a book cover, though the odds against us are about 10,000 to 1. Despite these odds, TERRI FARLEY talks about what drives us to write on.

Author Dawne Knobbe: Moonbeam award-winning author and madcap Mad Hatter from the L.A. region's Down The Rabbit Hole (
    Busting out of the Box — Creative Marketing for Published/Unpublished Writers

Discover your USP (Unique Selling Position). Learn how to upsell yourself and make contacts that can lead to Paying gigs and return visits. Whether you’re published, unpublished, or thinking of starting your own small press, you will discover unique ways to market yourself and your work.
Topics covered:
    — The dos and don’ts of running a small press.
    — The bucket list and other ways to make you “a stand out,” for visits.
    — The exploration of unique venues to showcase and sell your work.
    — The Piggyback marketing way to return visits.
    — The insider tricks to running contests and giveaways.
    — The best ways to “propping yourself up” and leave your audience wanting more.

Author Sara Wilson Etienne: debut author (
    Book Trailers and Blog Tours and Swag, Oh My!

Promoting a book can seem overwhelming and uncomfortable. When there are so many books, how do you make yours stand out from the rest? And how do you capture people's imaginations without sounding like a broken record? Sara talks about how she got the word out for her first book, Harbinger.

Traditional Publishing Panel - "Harbinger":
    Debut Author Sara Wilson Etienne, Agent Michael Bourret, and Editor Stacey Barney

The Saturday Professional Forum - The Real Deal on Contracts and Taxes

Bonnie Berry LaMon, Esq. (
    More Than You Ever Wanted to Know about Children's Book Publishing Agreements

This presentation will discuss the basics of standard book publishing contracts, as well as what an ideal agreement would contain. I will also be discussing ancillary agreements such as merchandising, multimedia licensing and trademark considerations.

Monica Haven, EA, JD, LLM (
    Fact or Fiction?

The US Congress has authored the largest work of non-fiction (currently amassing 72,536 pages) which is still subject to revision and ongoing editorial review. It’s a profitable endeavor which gives the US Treasury the ability to collect over $1 trillion in annual revenues. Can you do as well?

Let Monica Haven, E.A. help. She will parse the Code and teach you how to get your business license, report your royalty income, amortize your start-up costs, claim a home office, deduct qualified creative expenses, travel, education and entertainment costs. And she’ll teach you all this with fewer pages and far more clarity than what Congress has published. With Monica’s tips and your talent, you’ll soon be on your way to your first trillion…

Click Here to Register

The 4 Hour Sunday Intensives

Session 1:

    Pitching - Agent Michael Bourret   &   PB/Chapter Book Revision - Editor Stacey Barney

Pithy & Precise: How to Pitch Your Story in Person
It's easy to get tongue-tied when you're talking to a publishing professional--it's natural to be nervous. That's exactly why you need to have your "elevator pitch" down pat. In this intensive workshop, literary agent Michael Bourret will help you hone your pitch into a short, focused, relaxed talk that helps answer the question you're bound to be asked: "So, what's your book about?" Come ready to pitch your book in 30 seconds or less. We'll work to help each person craft their own perfect pitch.

A Picture Book revision intensive that focuses on narrative picture books. We’ll discuss how to build a compelling story that will allow illustrations to tell at least 50% of the story in a 32-page format. Please bring two copies of a complete narrative picture book for readers between the ages of 6-9. You’ll be working with a partner, so please bring material you are comfortable with sharing. We will only be able to work on picture books with a narrative story.

Session 2:

    MG/YA Revision - Editor Stacey Barney   &   Pitching - Agent Michael Bourret

A Novel revision intensive that focuses on first pages and chapter ends. In this intensive we’ll look at compelling ways to begin a novel asking the question am I beginning my novel in the right place using the right device? We’ll also take a look at the best ways to end a chapter to spur the reader onto the next and build tension. We’ll examine successful novel beginnings and chapter ends. Please bring a synopsis of one of your current works-in-progress as well as the first chapter and one latter chapter. You’ll be working with a partner, so please bring material you are comfortable with sharing.

Pithy & Precise: How to Pitch Your Story in Person
It's easy to get tongue-tied when you're talking to a publishing professional--it's natural to be nervous. That's exactly why you need to have your "elevator pitch" down pat. In this intensive workshop, literary agent Michael Bourret will help you hone your pitch into a short, focused, relaxed talk that helps answer the question you're bound to be asked: "So, what's your book about?" Come ready to pitch your book in 30 seconds or less. We'll work to help each person craft their own perfect pitch.

Session 3:

    Novel Workshop - Growing Your Writing Life: Soil, Seeds and Soul - Terri Farley

Terri Farley opens her writer's spellbox to share the tips, techniques and magic that help make a writing life part of real life. In this fast-paced, hands-on workshop, writers learn how to write like an animal, make friends with villains, build publicity platforms, find the 25th hour in every day, and more.

Session 4:

    Sparking Your Muse (for PB to YA) - Dawne Knobbe

When was the last time you really wrote? Be honest. Did you do the dishes then turn on your computer? Go walk the dog then scrub your kitchen floor? Bring paper and pens and up to three pages that are halting your move forward. Be prepared to confront your inner critic. We will work together to discover what is holding you back. Plus, I will arm you with secrets and exercises to tickle your muse back into play! This is a suitable workshop for all genres.

Published Author Session:

    School Visits: The Other Income - Alexis O'Neill, author and School Visit expert

If you are trying to carve out a career in children’s publishing, royalties alone will not pay your bills. The good news is that school visits and other presentations can supplement your income significantly and carry the most important benefit: motivating kids to read (and hopefully become fans of your books.) This intensive will show what elements to include to make your school visits memorable, how to land gigs, and how to handle the business side of appearances. Hands-on activities will help you form a plan of action to implement immediately.

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Faculty Bios

Stacey Barney, Editor, Putnam/Penguin

Stacey Barney at

Publishers Marketplace

Huffington Post: Am I Still Digging Publishing? 8/11/11

Editor Interrogation The Undercover Book Lover Blog 1/14/10

Putnam Editor Stacey Barney Talks to Us Crowe's Nest Blog 9/18/08

Michael Bourret, Agent, Dystal & Goderich

Michael Bourret at

Who We Are and What We Look For

Agent Spotlight: Michael Bourret Literary Rambles Blog 3/12/10

Lee Wardlaw

Lee Wardlaw claims her first spoken word was 'kitty'. Since then, she's shared her life with 30 cats (not all at the same time!) and published close to 30
award-winning books for children, tweens and teens, with sales reaching over one million copies. Lee has a B.A. in Education, an AMI Primary Diploma from the Montessori Institute of San Diego, and will receive her M.Ed. from Loyola University, Maryland in 2013. She is a vivacious speaker with 30+ years experience presenting at schools, libraries, workshops and conferences. Lee's picture book WON TON - A CAT TALE TOLD IN HAIKU received starred reviews from SLJ, Booklist and Kirkus, and was named an ALSC 2012 Notable Children's Book, a Washington Post Best Book, a NYPL Best Children's Poetry Book and many other honors, including the Fancy Feast/Purina "Love Story" award. Her newest books include 101 WAYS TO BUG YOUR FRIENDS AND ENEMIES (fiction, ages 10-14) and RED, WHITE & BOOM! (picture book, ages 2-6). Lee lives in Santa Barbara, CA, with her husband, son and two former shelter cats.

Terri Farley

Terri Farley is the best selling author of the PHANTOM STALLION and WILD HORSE ISLAND series for HarperCollins. Her contemporary Celtic fantasy SEVEN TEARS INTO THE SEA was nominated as a YALSA best book. She was honored by the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame and her work has sold more than two million copies in 28 countries.

A former middle and high school English teacher, Terri is a favorite school and keynote presenter and an out-spoken advocate for wild horses. Through her Authoring Change campaign, she supports a number of humane and literacy organizations.

Dawne Knobbe

Dawne Knobbe is an author, editor, Freelance Writer and Publisher. She has a B.A in Creative Writing and an M.A. in Professional Writing. Her work has been published in the L.A. Times, Fairfield Source, Kite Tales and many other periodicals. Her teen adventure novel Runaway Storm, received two Moonbeam Children’s Book awards in 2010. Dawne has a background in advertising as a Copywriter, Creative Director, and Marketing Specialist. She also owns a small press that has sold over 14,000 See into the Sea, Color and Learn books, but you won’t find them in too many book stores.

An active Board Member for SCBWI-LA. Dawne leads many writers and Illustrators “Down the Rabbit Hole,” on adventurous writing field trips and works to inspire students, teachers and librarians in her Creative Writing Fun-Shops. If not off adventuring around the globe with hubby John and children Alexandra and James, she now hangs her hat in Huntington Beach, California.


Sara Wilson Etienne

Sara Wilson Etienne went to college in Maine to become a marine biologist. But when research on leatherback turtles transformed itself into a novel, she realized that she loved fantasy more than fact. Though she didn't become a scientist (or, luckily, publish that first story) the craggy coastline and wild seas stayed with her and became Harbinger.

You can visit Sara at or

Alexis O'Neill

Alexis O'Neill award-winning picture books include THE RECESS QUEEN (Scholastic), THE WORST BEST FRIEND (Scholastic), LOUD EMILY (Simon & Schuster), and ESTELA’S SWAP (Lee & Low). She has also written fiction and nonfiction for Cricket, Spider, Cobblestone, Calliope, Faces, and Odyssey. Alexis is an instructor for the UCLA Extension Writers' Program, a Regional Advisor for SCBWI in California, and a columnist for SCBWI Bulletin’s “The Truth About School Visits.” The California Reading Association recently honored her with the Dr. Marcus Foster Memorial Award "for making significant and outstanding contributions to reading throughout California." A popular presenter, she visits students all over the country sharing with them, through lively interactive assemblies and writing workshops, strategies for writing and reading with their whole body. Visit Alexis at

Bonnie Berry LaMon

Bonnie Berry LaMon has a unique niche in the field of entertainment law. She specializes in providing creative and strategic advice as well as legal counsel to her clients in the film, television, music and book publishing industries. Ms. Berry LaMon represents writers, filmmakers, production companies and recording artists. Through her company, B²L Creative Works, Ms. Berry LaMon provides a myriad of services including development and production of her clients’ film, television and literary properties as well as negotiating and drafting legal agreements in connection therewith.

Ms. Berry LaMon is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School. She is currently enrolled in the Masters of Fine Art Program in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of “Practice in a Minor Key,” a primer on representing minors in the music industry, which was published in the May 2002 issue of Los Angeles Lawyer magazine. She is also the author of “Achieving Success and Personal Satisfaction in Entertainment Law” a chapter featured in the book, Inside the Minds: The Legal Side of Entertainment, Sports, and Media.

She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three sons.

Monica Haven

Monica Haven, E.A., J.D. has a Masters in Taxation (LLM) and decades-long experience as a solo practitioner, who routinely shares her expertise in the classroom. She is an alum and former faculty member of the National Tax Practice Institute, a recognized speaker on the “professional” circuit, and a welcome guest lecturer on college campuses and at community organizations. Monica is a part-owner of an investment advisory firm and a practicing financial planner, who brings real-world experiences and humorous anecdotes to class in an effort to make her course material less dry, more memorable, and fun. She maintains a flourishing tax practice in Southern California and is unable to decide whether she prefers teaching or taxation. She’s in her element when she doesn’t have to choose and gets to teach tax!

Manuscript Critique:

Complete PB ms, 10 pages MG/YA, OR 10 Poems. Must be postmarked by March 16th, 2012. You must be registered for SCBWI-L.A. Writer’s Days 2012 and have paid for a critique. (As proof, please include a copy of your registration ticket. You will receive this ticket by e-mail when you register.)

Write “Critique” on manuscript cover sheet along with name, address, phone and email.

Mail to:

Writer's Days Critiques
c/o SCBWI-L.A.
P. O. Box 1728
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

Contest Rules:

1. You must be a currently registered member of SCBWI.

2. You must be registered for the Saturday session of SCBWI-L.A. Writer’s Days 2012. (As proof, please attach a copy of your registration ticket in your e-mail. You will receive this ticket by e-mail when you register.)

3. Submissions must state entry category.

4. Submit one unpublished manuscript in manuscript format (Fiction or Nonfiction): Picture Book (text only, no illustrations or dummies), Middle Grade (first 10 pages), Young Adult (first 10 pages), Poetry (a collection of 10 poems on a single theme).

5. Please include the following information in your submission:

      a. SCBWI Current Member Name

      b. Address

      c. Contact Numbers

      d. E-mail

      e. Title of Your Piece

      f. Entry Category (Chosen from these Categories: PB Fiction, MG Fiction, YA Fiction, Non-Fiction OR Poetry.)

6. Please e-mail your entry to with the subject title: WRITER’S DAY CONTEST 2012

7. Attach your submission as a Word Document/RTF File. If you aren’t able to, you may copy your work into the body of your e-mail.

8. All entries must be e-mailed by midnight (PST) on March 3rd, 2012.

9. An award may not be given if there are fewer than five submissions in a category or judges feel no submission is deserving.

10. Please be sure to follow these submission guidelines. Submissions not in compliance with these rules will not be considered.

11. The judges, while highly qualified, shall remain anonymous.

The Fine Print

Take advantage of the "Early Bird Discount" by registering before March 15, 2012

Current SCBWI Membership will be verified. If your membership is not current and you have signed up as a member, you will be given the option of renewing your membership or paying the Non-Member price.

Join SCBWI at registration and be eligible for the contests!

You may register at the door; however, only cash and checks accepted at the door.

Wait List: If a ticket sells out, you may be put on a wait list. E-mail your request to Sarah Laurenson. Please include the exact ticket description, your mailing address and your phone number in your request.

Please note: No refund after March 15, 2012. $15 charge for refund before March 15, 2012. To ask for a refund, e-mail your refund request and a copy of your registration ticket to Sarah Laurenson.