SCBWI Brazos Valley News

New monthly meeting time
Membership perk: The Book
Equity & Inclusion team
Call for guest speakers

We're very excited to announce a change to our monthly meeting day. As of August, our monthly meetings will be held via Zoom on the LAST SATURDAY of every month. We hope this new meeting time will allow us to engage with members that previously were unable to attend our weekday meetings. We will continue with the same schedule, starting with a meet and greet from 9:30 - 10am, the guest speaker/meeting topic from 10 - 11am (more or less) and then ending with some more time to chat and discuss. Our meetings are free and open to the public so please help us spread the news of our new meeting time among your friends and colleagues!
Brazos Valley Events
Brazos Valley Book Report
Thursday August 13th, 7:30pm - via Zoom
Brazos Valley Book Report is a new way to connect with and learn from our Brazos Valley SCBWI members. Come prepared to discuss a children’s book (PB, MG, YA) you’ve read recently. 

August Monthly Meeting

Reviewing Resources:
Book Reviewing without Breaking the Bank
with Adriana M. Martínez Figueroa

SATURDAY, August 29 - via Zoom
9:30-10am Meet & Greet
10-11am Main meeting

What, who, where, why reviews?
--Tools for reviewing (without breaking the bank)
--NetGalley and Edelweiss
--Physical ARCs

Our speaker is Adriana M. Martínez Figueroa, a book reviewer who also offers her expertise for sensitivity reads, editing, and Spanish-proofing manuscripts. She created the Twitter hashtag #ReadLatinx in June 2018 as a way to promote books written and/or illustrated by Latinx. It was generally used to uplift voices that don’t get much-needed promotion from publishers, but has become a way for Latinx creatives to find a bigger audience through social media. #ReadLatinx promotes upcoming releases with posts on social media and masterposts detailing which books come out during a certain period of time.

A Puerto Rican writer, Adriana holds a B.A. from Iowa State University in Women and Gender Studies with a minor in US Latinx Studies. Her words can be found on her WordPress blog (Boricua Reads) as well ass Bustle,, inQluded, and Boricua en la Luna (ed. Elena M. Aponte). She lives in Vega Baja, PR.

Register for free here. Login information will also be posted in the SCBWI Brazos Valley private Facebook group (not our public page).

Can’t make the meeting? Don’t worry! A replay will be provided for all registrants after the meeting.

Plotting with Sam Pittman II REPLAY
Available till August 29th!

This meeting with Sam Pittman II included lots of great information about how to approach plotting for short stories (much of it applicable to novels and picture books). Access the replay here through July 29, 2020.
Membership perk alert!
THE BOOK contains new and essential articles such as:
– maximizing social media
– creating book trailers
– best practices in independent publishing, and grassroots promotion 
– up-to-the-minute Market Survey, which includes a comprehensive house by house listing of editors, art directors and key personnel.
– Other directories include: The International Market Survey, The Book Reviewers Directory, The Agents Directory, and a unique feature called Edited By, in which editors have been personally surveyed to provide a history of their recent acquisitions.

– Key resources include: an annotated bibliography of essential reference books for any aspiring children’s book author or illustrator, as well as a current listing of bloggers, reviewers, grants, and awards.

Be our Guest Speaker!
Is there a corner of the kid-lit industry you’re passionate about? Something you’ve wanted an excuse to research? Need to practice your presentation skills with a supportive audience? We’re here to help! We’re always on the look-out for new guest speakers. Presenting at our monthly meetings is a low-stakes way to get some speaking practice in, share information and get to know our wonderful community of kid lit creators. Our speakers receive a $50 honorarium for an hour presentation (currently via Zoom). We’re happy to work with you to develop your presentation and help if you are technology averse or nervous about speaking in public.

And, for those of you who prefer assignments, here are a few topics we’d love to cover in the future:

  • An overview of industry news sources (School Library Journal, Horn Book, Publisher’s Weekly)
  • The Big Five
  • Publishers vs. Distributors
  • How do kids & teens talk? An overview of current slang
  • The business of kid lit: author financials
  • Work for hire: what is it and how to get started

Interested? Email to get started! Feel free to email your own meeting topic ideas or share on our private Facebook group.
Join our Equity & Inclusion Team!
Help our writing community look more like our Brazos Valley community! We can use your help in reaching out to community writing programs, teacher education programs at Blinn, Texas A&M and other educational institutions, and more. All members will receive special training from SCBWI's cheif Equity & Inclusion Officer, April Powers. She is excellent in coaching members in a welcoming, constructive and non-judgemental fashion.
If you are interested in joining the SCBWI Brazos Valley Equity & Inclusion committee please email
Two digital workshops are still available in the archive at

“Straight Through the Heart: How to Make Readers Fall in Love with Your Characters” with Henry Holt editor Tiffany Liao is available until 3pm CDT on Sunday, Aug. 9.

"Sticks and Stones and the Stories We Tell: Children’s Book Creators on Channeling Random Acts of Racism" features ten BIPOC authors and illustrators discussing how they’ve used the negative experience of racism to fuel their artistic expression.This video is available until August 16 at 3pm CDT.
Look for news about Fall Workshops later this month.
Upcoming Events--a sampling of online offerings

September 29, 2020, at 7:00 p.m.-8:15 p.m. Central Time
SCBWI Members $20. Non-members $30.

Author Meg Medina, 2019 Newbery Medalist for her middle-grade book, Merci Suárez Changes Gears, will offer practical tips on setting goals and developing daily practices and exercises to nurture your artistic voice as a writer and/or illustrator and to keep you growing in both the art and business of publishing. Her work examines how cultures intersect, as seen through the eyes of young people. Find out how to access and develop a strong artistic voice. Study the probable rough spots in production (or editorial mores) that threaten innovation. Hosted by SCBWI Southwest Texas

October 1-4, 2020
SCBWI Members $75. Non-members $100.

Registration for Houston's virtual conference opens on August 10th (pre-registration is currently open to Houston members). Learn craft from editors, agents and illustrators all at a fabulous price. There are also two critique options available.

Megan Abbate  Assistant Editor, Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan 
Sara Sargent    Senior Executive Editor, Random House Books for Young Readers
Elizabeth Law   Senior Editor and Backlist Editor, Holiday House
Jacqui Lipton   Literary Agent and Attorney, Raven Quill Literary Agency
Tanusri Prasanna   Agent, Foundry Literary + Media
Kevin Lewis   Author, Editor, Agent, Erin Murphy Literary Agency
Zeke Peña   Illustrator and Art Director, Cinco Puntos Press
K.L. Going    Author and Freelance Editor
Don Tate   Author/Illustrator
Pat Z. Miller   Author
Ann Whitford Paul   Author
Crystal Allen   Author
Varsha Bajaj   Author
Dana Chidiac   Editor, Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House
Melissa Warten   Associate Editor, Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers
Sasha Henriquez  Associate Editor, Random House Books for Young Readers
Megan & Jorge Lacera  Author and Illustrator
Jemiscoe Chambers-Black   Agent, Andrea Brown Literary Agency

Conference Attendees may register for one (1) of the following:
ONE (1) Virtual Critique ($40 per critique)
Zoom critiques include review of the first 10 pages of manuscript and a 12-minute face-to-face critique at an assigned time slot to take place via Zoom on the mornings of Saturday October, 3rd or Sunday, October 4th.
ONE (1) Extended Virtual Critique ($80 per critique)
Extended Zoom critiques include review of the first 25 pages of a manuscript, and include a 20-minute face-to-face critique at an assigned time slot to take place during the evening of Monday October, 5th. Extended Zoom critiques are limited to manuscripts

The 2021 SCBWI Winter Conference will be held via Zoom on Feb. 21-22. With a New York theme, the event will hone in on the publishing industry.
If you are having problems with Zoom or with registering for a Brazos Valley SCBWI event, please contact Please note, unless otherwise stated, all Brazos Valley SCBWI events are free of cost. We are currently requiring registration in order to keep our events private and safe from hackers. Your event login information will be emailed to the email address on file in your SCBWI account.