Saturday, October 31, 2009

New Opportunity at Conference

Hi Everybody

Here's a new opporutnity!

As many of you know, Alexandra Penfold (Associate Editor at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers) will be leading a First Page session at our conference next weekend in Hill City, SD.

What does this mean?

In this session, she will read the first page of an attendee's picture book, novel, etc. to the audience.  Then she will respond, allowing the entire group to see what goes on in her head when she meets a manuscript for the first time.

Why is this a great opportunity?

This is your chance to find out how an editor responds to your writing.  I can't guarantee that she will have time to read all of the first-pages that are submitted, but it's worth a try.

What do I do?

Please bring your manuscript (typed, double-spaced) to the conference and put it in the First Page box.  On the top, include a very brief synopsis (one or two sentences maximum).  Also indicate if it is novel, picture book, nonfiction, etc.  Start the text about halfway down the page.

Remember . . .

Conference registration is due on Nov. 3.  The conference itself is on Nov. 6 (evening) and Nov. 7 (all day).  

For full details (as well as online registration options), go to    Please use this website.  The old website has problems!!

See you soon!

Jean Patrick
SCBWI Regional Advisor, Dakotas

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Media Splash in the Black Hills

Some of you may have seen the article in Sunday's Rapid City Journal about the upcoming conference on Nov. 6-7. 

But if you live in the Hills, great ready for another article that will be published today in the Hill City Prevailer

Thanks to Jen Fischer for the media splash!  For full conference details, visit

See you next week!

Jean Patrick
SCBWI Regional Advisor - Dakotas
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Where are you from?


We're taking a risk by having a conference in a low population area...but get this.  We have received registrations from people in North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio(!), and of course, South Dakota.

That's six states!

Do you think we can get to seven?  (There's got to be someone from Nebraska...)

See you soon!

Jean Patrick
Regional Advisor - Dakotas
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
Black Hills conference details:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lodging in Hill City - Update

Good news!

The Best Western Golden Spike Inn & Suites in Hill City, SD (the location of the conference) has extended their great rate. If you make your reservation within the week, you can still get a room for $49/night. 

Call 605-574-2577 to make reservations, and be sure to mention that you're coming for the Children's Writers and Illustrators conference.  (This rate is NOT available online.)

See you soon!

Jean Patrick
Regional Advisor - Dakotas
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

Monday, October 19, 2009

Deadlines - Manuscripts and Motel

Whew!  I just got back from a whirlwind trip to Kansas for a wedding and then to Nebraska for a college visit for my son.  Now it's back to my desk and everything that a Monday brings!

For those of you who are thinking of registering for the conference...  There's plenty of time.

However, there are a few deadlines coming up.

If you plan to submit a manuscript for critique, the postmark deadline is tomorrow (Oct 20).  You don't need a fancy format -- just typed and double-spaced.  Word limit is 1500 words.  If you're submitting a first chapter from a novel, you still need to honor the 1500 word limit. (It's also a good idea to include a cover letter with a brief description of your manuscript and some background information about yourself as a writer.)


if you're planning to spend the night in Hill City, please call the Best Western Golden Spike Inn & Suites for reservations.  If you call by Oct 21 and mention the writers conference, you can get the rate of $49/night.  (You have to call them directly at 605.574.2577 -- The rate is not available online.)

Please let me know if you have questions.

Jean Patrick
Regional Advisor - Dakotas
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


We're trying something new at the upcoming SCBWI Black Hills Writers and Illustrators Conference . . .


On Friday evening (Nov. 6) at 6:30, we are welcoming all registrants to a pre-conference social that includes pie and wine. 

That's right . . . apple pie, pumpkin pie, and the Pumpkin Bog Fest limited edition wine.

I've never heard of such a thing, but co-conference coordinator Jen Fischer tells me that Prairie Berry Winery is offering the wine this fall.  (Is it pumpkin wine?  If anyone knows the answer, please let me know!)

BTW, Jen is definitely the "fun fairy" for this conference.  Besides offering an incredible slate of speakers, she's determined that we enjoy what Hill City has to offer. 

More on that in my next entry!

Jean Patrick
Regional Advisor - Dakotas
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

Monday, October 12, 2009

Illustrators! Black Hills Conference

If you are an illustrator and are coming to the Black Hills conference, Teri Skrdla asks you to bring the following:

*Samples of your artwork (if you have some).  If not, that's okay.
*Two of your favorite picture books.
*Plain white paper.
*Pens/pencils for sketching purposes.  No paint or color will be needed.

(Teri is the Illustrator Coordinator for SCBWI-Dakotas and will be leading the sessions for illustrators.)

See you November 6-7!  Registration information is available at

Jean Patrick
Regional Advisor, Dakotas
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

Manuscript critiques - Q&A

I just returned yesterday afternoon from the University of North Dakota's Children's Writers Conference.  Great conference!!

Now it's full steam ahead to the SCBWI Black Hills conference in Hill City, SD, on Nov 9-10. 

Questions are coming in about the critiques.  I'll do my best to answer some of the main ones.

Q:  Do I have to submit a manuscript for critique?
A:  No.  It's totally up to you.

Q:  What does the critique include?
A:  You will receive a 15-minute meeting with the person who critiqued your manuscript as well as a written critique.

Q:  Do I have to attend the conference to get a critique?
A:  Yes.  You must be a paid registrant of the conference.  

Q:  When do I have to submit my manuscript to receive a critique?
A:  Postmark deadline is October 20. (Please note the change.)  However, critique spots are limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.  Please submit now.  (After Oct. 20, please contact me: Jean Patrick.

Let me know if you have more questions!


Jean Patrick
Regional Advisor, Dakotas
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Questions about critiques

The submissions are coming in for the Black Hills SCBWI conference!  When I picked up my mail today, I received two more manuscripts for critiques.

Questions also have been pouring in. . . .

Many of you are wondering if you need to send anything with your manuscript.  Good question.  I recommend that you include a one-page cover letter that contains a brief summary of your piece and background about yourself as a writer.

If you are submitting a chapter from a novel, you may send a synopsis.  (Please make sure it is brief -- not more than one page).

BTW - The postmark deadline for critiques is October 17.

As always, let me know if you have questions.

All best,

Jean Patrick
Regional Advisor-Dakotas
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Conference speakers


Here are a few more details about the upcoming Black Hills conference on November 6-7.  As you know from yesterday's post, Teri Skrdla will be leading sessions for artists and illustrators

Writers will also have plenty of sessions.  They will be led by Alexandra Penfold, Associate Editor at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Marilyn Kratz, author of more than 500 published stories and magazines articles; and Jean Patrick (that's me), author of eight books for young people (seven of them nonfiction). 

Stay tuned for details about these presentations.

Meanwhile, we've been updating the website with details about the speakers, critiques, and the registration process.  Take a look at

See you soon!


Friday, October 2, 2009

Attention Illustrators!

Hi Everyone!

Here's an update about the Black Hills SCBWI conference on Nov. 6 (evening) and Nov. 7.

Teri Skrdla will be leading two sessions for artists and illustrators:

Making Your Art Marketable: Portfolio Tips for Illustrators

Dummies for Dummies:  How (and Why) to Make a Picture Book Dummy

You are welcome to bring your portfolio.

Jean Patrick
Regional Advisor - Dakotas
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators