Marketing & Publishing Classes

Children's Picture Book Writers & Illustrators Conference - Day 1 (Corte Madera)

Saturday, January 23, 2016 - 9:00am
Children's Picture Book Writers & Illustrators Conference
Sat., Jan. 23 • 9:00 am - 7:00 pm & Sun., Jan. 24 • 9:00 am - 4:30 pm • $335

Online registration is no longer available. Walk-ins welcome! Please call or stop by for more details ($335 for full weekend, $200 for one-day registration). Thank you!

About the Writing Weekend
This unique and exciting conference covers all aspects of creating books for children, from developing ideas to honing your skills to finding a publisher. Conference participants will spend the weekend writing, illustrating, workshopping, networking, and perfecting their craft. Our celebrated faculty of award-winning authors, illustrators, agents, and editors will offer inspiration and guidance in a collegial and intimate setting. Participants will work closely with other writers and illustrators in a particular area of emphasis, such as writing for picture books or illustration; and have the opportunity to get feedback from experts in a workshop setting. Writing sessions will be offered where participants can workshop something they have been working on in a group with a faculty facilitator. The writing sessions will focus on craft, style and structure. Expert panels feature topics of common interest, such as finding an agent, how to work with your editor, marketing and promotion, and more. There will be many opportunities for faculty and participants to talk, laugh, and exchange ideas in workshops, lunches, and at evening events.

Open to new, established and aspiring writers and illustrators, the conference takes place in beautiful Marin County, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco and adjacent to Northern California’s wine country.


What else will be covered?
When participants are not writing and critiquing their work, they will participate in panels and discussions about a variety of key topics for authors. The topics will include:
• How to find an agent       
• Query letters and pitches
• Trends in the Picture Book market  
• Working with an editor
• Creativity and inspiration        
• Working with a writing group    
• Developing empathetic characters
In addition to these structured sessions, participants will have plenty of time to network and interact. The Weekend Workshop will include lunch on both days and a dinner on Saturday, during which the faculty and participants are encouraged to mingle.


The Weekend Schedule


9:00 – 9:15 am               Conference Check In

9:15  – 9:30 am              Conference Kick-off/Welcome + Introductions

9:30 – 10:30 am              Against All Odds with Salina Yoon

10:35 – 11:00 am            A Librarian’s Perspective with Jane Ritter

11:10 am – 12:00 pm      KEYNOTE: Why is Where the Wild Things so Wonderful? Deconstructing Three Classic Picture Books with Jon Agee

12:10 – 1:10 pm             Editor Panel featuring Katie Carella and Allison Moore

1:10 – 2:15 pm              Lunch

2:15 – 3:15 pm             The Graphic Novel & Experience Publishing/Promoting with Ian Lendler

3:15 – 4:15 pm             Raising Social Awareness Through Picture Books with Kathryn Otoshi

2:15 – 4:15 pm             TRACK 1: Critique Group Session for Illustrators with Julie Downing

                                     TRACK 2: Critique Group Session for Writers with Amy Novesky

                                     TRACK 3: Critique Group Session for Writers with Katie Carella

                                     TRACK 4: Critique Group Session for Writers with Eve Porinchak

                                     TRACK 5: Critique Group Session for Writers with Andrea Alban

4:25 – 5:50 pm              Agent Panel featuring Eve Porinchak, Abigail Samoun, & Amy Rennert

5:50 – 7:00 pm              Dinner & Networking Consultations



9:00 – 10:30 am               A Query Letter Workshop with Eve Porinchak, Abigail Samoun, & Amy Rennert

10:40 am – 12:00 pm       Picture This: Creating a captivating story in 750 words or less with Andrea Alban

                                        Beginning to End, Creating the Art for Picture Books with Julie Downing

12:10  – 1:10 pm            Lunch

1:10 – 2:10 pm              The Writer and the Illustrator: How They Work Together with Amy Novesky & Julie Downing

                                      Telling Stories with Words and Pictures: How to create more compelling picture books with Bethanie Murguia

2:20 – 3:20 pm             Publishing Panel with Amy Novesky & Simon Stahl

3:30 – 4:30 pm             Collaboration Magic: A conversation between the author of Desiree’s Night Flight and her writing mentor with Andrea Alban & Jacquie Faber

4:30 pm                       Conference Wrap-up & Goodbyes


Who will be there?

Abigail Samoun
Was an in-house children’s book editor for over ten years, working on a wide range of projects, from board books to young adult novels. Her books received such honors as the CCBC Charlotte Zolotow award, the New York Public Library Ezra Jack Keats award, and the Pura Belpre. In 2011, Abigail made the transition from editing to agenting, co-founding Red Fox Literary with Karen Grencik. She is the author of three children’s books, What’s In Your Purse? (Chronicle Books, 2014) and the Little Traveler board book series published by Sterling Publishing. 

Andrea Alban
Author of nine books, including The Happiness Tree and Anya’s War. She edits manuscripts and coaches writers in how to prepare submissions to editors and agents. 

Amy Novesky
Award-winning children’s book editor and author. Her books include Me, FridaGeorgia in HawaiiImogen, The Mother of Modernism and Three BoysMister and Lady Day, and the forthcoming Cloth Lullaby. She lives in Marin.  

Jon Agee
Illustrator of a large collection of children's picture books, such as Little SantaThe Other Side of Town, Nothing, and most notably the National Book Award-nominated Mean Margaret. He lives in San Francisco with his wife.

Ian Lendler
Author of a series of graphic novels titled, The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue (First Second). In addition, he has written two children’s picture books: An Undone Fairy Tale and the upcoming Saturday (Roaring Brook, 2016). Plus, after the children have gone to bed, he has a book for adults titled, Alcoholica Esoterica (Penguin), a non-fiction history of alcohol. He started life as a journalist for the San Francisco, and Mental_Floss magazine.

Bethanie Murguia
Bethanie Murguia earned an MFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts. She has created numerous picture books including Zoe Gets Ready, I Feel Five, and the forthcoming, Cockatoo, Too. Her illustrations and books have received many accolades, including Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Best Book Awards, Bank Street College Best Books of the Year, and a variety of SCBWI awards.

Katie Carella
Senior Editor, oversees Scholastic’s early chapter book line, Branches, as well as the fiction leveled reader line. Her career began on the adult side of publishing in marketing and publicity. She then earned her master’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania and taught elementary school--all before entering children's editorial in 2007. She has edited many early chapter book series, including The Notebook of Doom and Owl Diaries. She has also edited leveled readers such as The Long Dog. Katie is focused on creating great books for newly-independent readers! 

Allison Moore
Associate Editor at Little Brown Books for Young Readers who works on a wide range of books from illustrated titles to middle grade and young adult novels. She has worked picture books by Todd Parr, Sujean Rim, Nancy Tafuri, Eric Litwin, Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, Todd Tarpley, John Rocco, Bob Staake, Marc Brown and RL Stine, among others. Allison is particularly interested in clever picture books with fresh art styles and stories that appeal to all ages; character-driven chapter books with original premises and a strong sense of voice; and middle grade and YA novels that encourage readers to open their minds and consider unexpected points of view and perspectives. Before joining LBYR in 2010, Allison interned at Bloomsbury & Walker Books for Young Readers, Barefoot Books, the Kneerim & Williams agency, and Simon & Schuster UK; worked as a bookseller and at her hometown library; and graduated from Boston University and the Columbia Publishing Course.

Eve Porinchak
A true omnivore (both literarily and gastronomically), Eve has eclectic tastes in children's literature, with favorites ranging from THE STUPIDS STEP OUT to Walter Dean Meyers’ edgy YA masterpiece, MONSTER. Eve represents everything from picture books to adult novels. A former early childhood educator, Eve is a lover of laugh-out-loud picture books like I WANT MY HAT BACKBAD KITTY, and NO, DAVID! but also adores classics like THE GIVING TREETHE POKEY LITTLE PUPPY, and IF YOU GIVE A PIG A PANCAKE. A world traveler and lover of fresh adventures, Eve will travel anywhere, read anything, and eat anything (except frog legs - EWH!).

Salina Yoon
An award-winning author/illustrator of nearly 200 books for children, including Penguin and PineconePenguin on Vacation, Penguin in LovePenguin and PumpkinPenguin's Big AdventureFound, Stormy Night, and the forthcoming Be a Friend. She studied art and design at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and now lives in San Diego with her family. Visit her online at

Simon Stahl
Art director at Creston Books, a small children's book press in Berkeley. He has lectured at Pixar and is the recipient of a Publishing Professionals Network award for book design. More importantly, he is a recent winner of the Zachary's Pizza Art Contest.

Julie Downing
Has written and or illustrated over 45 books for children, and has worked with major publishers including Harper Collins, Simon and Schuster, Scholastic Press and Houghton Mifflin. Downing has won many awards for her work, including a Parent's Choice Award, the New York Public Library Best Books Award, Chicago Tribune Best Books of the Year and Bank Street Children's Book Award. She was selected to appear in Talking with Artists Too, a book about 12 of the nation’s best Children’s’ Book Illustrators. Downing is most noted for her rich, jewel like watercolor illustrations. Her work has been exhibited in galleries throughout the United States and England. She currently teaches watercolor and Children's Book Illustration at the Academy of Art University and UC Berkeley Extension.

Kathryn Otoshi
A multi-award winning author, illustrator and speaker, best known for her character-building number/color book series: ZeroOne, and Two. She goes across the country to encourage kids to develop strong character assets and help teachers find creative methods to connect with their students through the power of reading, art, and literature. 

Amy Rennert
Represents several New York Times bestselling authors and illustrators including Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Eric Litwin, the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes and Tom Lichtenheld, the illustrator for Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site which has sold one million copies and been on the list for four years.


Private Consultations
Optional 30-minute private consultations are available for $95. You may use that time to either discuss a concept or proposal, or have a faculty member give you feedback on a portion of work or portfolio you have submitted. Faculty members offering consultations: Amy Novesky, Andrea Alban, Bethanie Murguia, Eve Porinchak, Julie Downing, Ian Lendler, Simon Stahl, and Katie Carella.

Add a Consultation


Recommended Local Hotels:
The following is a list of local Marin area accommodations. Please choose based on your own needs:

*Within walking distance. **Within walking distance and offer a discount to Book Passage Children's Picture Book Writers & Illustrators Conference participants. Please call hotels for discount, as discounted rates are not available via online registration.
51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Laurie Fox & Andy Ross - Literary Agent Intensive

Saturday, October 31, 2015 - 9:30am

Sat., Oct. 31 • 9:30 am - 12:30 pm • $75

Two Bay Area agents with extensive experience take writers through the process of finding a literary agent. This class will teach authors how to write a pitch-perfect letter that can generate interest and how to choose an agent who is best for your specific book project. Please bring your own query letter to be workshopped.

Laurie Fox has been an agent for over 28 years, with 25 years at the Linda Chester Literary Agency. Andy Ross is a literary agent and former owner of Cody’s Books.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Ken Sherman - The Business of Writing for Screen, Television, and the Book Industries

Sunday, August 23, 2015 - 10:00am to 1:00pm

Sun., Aug. 23 • 10:00-1:00 pm • $75

We'll dissect who's who in a production company, a studio, and a publishing house, to hopefully demystify these very real people who you'll come in contact with as you sell your work. 

Ken Sherman is President of Ken Sherman & Associates, a Los Angeles based literary agency. The company handles film, television, and book writers, as well as selling film and television rights for books and life-rights. An agent for more than twenty years, Ken is also a popular and accomplished speaker. 

He has taught and lectured extensively at venues including UCLA, USC, Loyola Marymount University, both in New Orleans and Los Angeles, The Santa Barbara Writers’ conference, the American Film Institute, The San Francisco Writers Conference, The Maui Writers Conference, The University of Oklahoma, Sherwood Oaks Experiment College, The Santa Fe Writers Conference, The Novelists, Inc. Conference in San Diego, The Aspen Institute, the Aspen Summers Words Writers Conference and The Eugene International Film Festival where he just received a lifetime achievement award.

A few of Ken's clients include David Guterson ("Snow Falling On Cedars"), Anne Perry (80 books in print to date), Tawni O'Dell (Oprah Book Club Book), Willa Cather (Estate), Anjanette Delgado, Louis Begley  ("About Schmidt"), Luis Bunuel (Estate), John Updike for 33 years), etc.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Ken Sherman - Moving Your Book to Film and Television

Saturday, August 22, 2015 - 9:00am to 12:00pm

Sat., Aug. 22 • 9:00-12:00 pm • $75

Once you've written your book or stageplay, there's always the chance it will transfer well to film and television. We'll discuss specific projects with this history and then discuss some of yours, with the idea of taking it out of the theoretical and into the real. 

Ken Sherman is President of Ken Sherman & Associates, a Los Angeles based literary agency. The company handles film, television, and book writers, as well as selling film and television rights for books and life-rights. An agent for more than twenty years, Ken is also a popular and accomplished speaker.

He has taught and lectured extensively at venues including UCLA, USC, Loyola Marymount University, both in New Orleans and Los Angeles, The Santa Barbara Writers’ conference, the American Film Institute, The San Francisco Writers Conference, The Maui Writers Conference, The University of Oklahoma, Sherwood Oaks Experiment College, The Santa Fe Writers Conference, The Novelists, Inc. Conference in San Diego, The Aspen Institute, the Aspen Summers Words Writers Conference and The Eugene International Film Festival where he just received a lifetime achievement award.

Some of Ken's clients include: David Guterson  ("Snow Falling on Cedars"), Tawni O'Dell ("Back Roads" - Oprah Book Club Selection and about to go into production as a feature), Willa Cather Estate (two books in development as features), Luis Bunuel Estate, Anne Perry (two series of her books in development as features and television series), worked with John Updike for 33 years, John Kerr's "A Dangerous Method" on which David Cronenberg's film is based, etc


51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Alan Rinzler - Top Ten Things: What every writer should do before submitting to an agent or self-publishing

Saturday, August 1, 2015 - 9:00am to 11:30am

Sat., Aug. 1 * 9:00-11:30 am * $55

Specific tips and techniques to help authors improve their chances of success in this age of tremendous change in the business of publishing.  How can they navigate the difficult choices now available beyond the essential art and craft of writing. What should they do to take advantage of the new opportunities to reach their readers directly, without gatekeepers, regardless of whether they want an agent or intend to self-publish. 

Alan Rinzler had held executive editorial positions at Simon and Schuster, Bantam Books, Grove Press, Rolling Stone, and Macmillan, working with such authors as Toni Morrison, Tom Robbins, Hunter Thompson, Robert Ludlum, Clive Cussler, Jerzy Kosinski, Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan, Shirley MacLaine and others.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Carl Gosline - InDesign Intensive Part I (Corte Madera)

Sunday, May 29, 2016 - 9:00am
Sunday, May 29 • 9:00am - 12:00pm • $150

Beginner to Intermediate skill levels

Morning: basics/workspace/tools/palettes/options/layers/color space/styles

visit for more course content details

Popular teacher Carl Gosline presents a new course on Adobe InDesign, which he has been using since version 1 was released in 1999. Carl delivers content in a style that is easy to grasp and will arm you with expert level skills. The morning session will focus on the basics, from understanding the tools and workspace optimization, and the afternoon session will focus on more complicated document handling techniques. After attending these sessions you will be able to confidently create any kind of document, from business cards to billboards and anything in between…including laying out that book you plan to self-publish. Join us knowing that you will come away with new skills that you can put to use immediately.
51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Path to Publishing Workshop - Completing the First Draft: Making Your Book a Reality

Sunday, October 11, 2015 - 1:00pm to 4:00pm
Sunday, October 11, 2015 • 1:00 - 4:00pm

$50 (Path to Publishing Members) or $100 (General Public)

Calling All Writers!

Path to Publishing works with recognized authors, publishers, editors and mentors to assist writers at the key junctures of getting a book to press. In particular, our Path to Publishing Mentors, a group of well-known authors/experts representing all genres, play an important role in guiding new writers. Path to Publishing helps fiction writers explore ideas through character or plot, and assist non-fiction writers with the concept of an outline and creating a book proposal. 

12:30 – 1:00       

1:00 – 1:10
Welcome & Introduction – Sam Barry, Director, Path to Publishing
1:10 – 2:00
You Have An Idea. Now What? What’s the best way to approach writing a book—outline? Dive in? Are there techniques for building a better story or more well-organized nonfiction book?
2:00 – 2:45
Just Do It—But How?  How to stay motivated and complete a manuscript. Should you have readers along the way?
2:45 – 3:00

3:00 -  4:00 

More Than Writing: Laying the Groundwork for Success. Writing a good book isn’t enough. Building a platform, finding your fan base, and developing a public profile.  

Wine and Cheese on the Patio

Path to Publishing Faculty

Candice Fuhrman: Founder/owner of her literary agency that represents high-quality literary fiction and a wide range of nonfiction subjects. The agency has represented 12 New York Times bestsellers and 25 San Francisco Chronicle bestsellers. She is a Path to Publishing Mentor.



Nina Schuyler: A teacher of creative writing at the University of San Francisco, her novel The Translator, was shortlisted for the 2014 William Saroyan International Prize and chosen by The San Francisco Chronicle as one of the 100 recommended books of 2013. She is a Path to Publishing Mentor.



Martha Conway: Her novel, Thieving Forest, won the 2014 North American Book Award in Historical Fiction and Silver Medal in Historical Fiction in the Independent Publishers Awards, She teaches creative writing at Stanford University’s Online Writer’s Studio and UC Berkeley Extension. She is also a Path to Publishing member.



Jan Johnson: Publisher emeritus at Red Wheel/Weiser Books/Conari Press and a writer/publishing project management consultant that includes work with middle readers and nonfiction authors. She is a Path to Publishing Mentor.


For questions about the workshop, finding a publishing mentor, scheduling a meeting with Sam, or to learn more about the Path to Publishing program, contact Sam Barry at or call 415-927-0960, ext. 256.

Class: Alice Acheson - Bound-For-Success Book Proposal

Sunday, March 1, 2015 - 10:00am to 1:00pm
Sun., March 1 • 10:00-1:00pm • $60
"I have never heard anyone give so much great information as Alice Acheson." 
-- Kate Wright, who found an agent.
Avoid Book Proposal Agita!  It's time for the first edit of your book -- and time to begin collecting information for your book proposal.  In class we will discuss which elements make a selling proposal and which parts of your book should be highlighted.  Here you will learn how to convince an agent or editor to read your book proposal, how to craft that all-important marketing paragraph, how to avoid pitfalls that stop the reading, the difference between the query letter and the synopsis, and other insights into impressing the reader.

Class: Alice Acheson - Your Book - What's Next?

Saturday, February 28, 2015 - 10:00am to 5:00pm
Sat., Feb. 28 • 10:00-5:00pm • $150
Right!  You love the writing, don't like the marketing.  You don't know when to do what or how to accomplish what is required. Publishing has made a quantum shift, and your head is spinning.  Writers more than ever need to know how to interact with the industry.  Whether self-publishing, print-on-demand or the traditional publisher, a publishing contract doesn't necessarily signal success.  How can you ensure that you and your manuscript receive the deserved recognition?  How do you allot time, energy, and money?  How can you manage the tsunami of marketing tasks?  What about the demands of the digital world?  We begin with a timeline (before the book is published) to guide the entire process. The pre-class assignment is to write a sell sheet, based on instructions received upon registration.  
"Viking/Penguin told me that my author questionnaire [provided in class handouts; explained in class] was one of the best that they received.  I offered to go to New York to make them lunch.  It turned out they do monthly lunch meetings with their big authors, so they slotted me in -- right between Joan Didion and Michael Pollan....As a result of that lunch, the guy who handles the Borders account pestered them to consider me for their "original voices" program, which put my book in the front of all the Borders stores.  I would never have thought of it had it not been for you."    --     Kathleen Flinn: THE SHARPER YOUR KNIFE, THE LESS YOU CRY

Class: Alice Acheson - Publishing Choices

Friday, February 27, 2015 - 2:00pm to 5:00pm
Fri., Feb. 27 • 2:00-5:00pm • $60
What is POD?  How does it differ from self-publishing?  Will either be easier, faster, better than the route to a traditional publisher?
All authors need to investigate the most appropriate method of publication before finishing their books.  You owe it to yourself -- and your pocketbook -- to learn the advantages and pitfalls of each type.  Using decades of working with all three publishing choices, the instructor shares that no method is appropriate for all books and all authors.
For some publishing routes the services provided are quite different; for others the author might pay all the expenses.  Can your book be reviewed and sold in bookstores and will you earn more money with one procedure over the others?  The answers to these crucial questions -- and others -- will determine the appropriate publishing route.
"[Alice Acheson's] knowledge about and reflection upon the reality of the publishing business makes her absolutely credible."
    --     Catherine Conway Honig, Book Passage student


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