Banner artwork by Vanessa Thompson
We are down to our last few portfolio review spots for our fall conference.


*Portfolio Review Submissions due by August 29th, 2021 11:59 pm EDT*

  • Ellice Lee, Art Director of Philomel Books at Penguin Random House
  • Jasmin Rubero, Associate Art Director of Kokila at Penguin Random House.

Carolinas self-published authors of children's books: we are extending the bookstore deadline so we can add your titles to our fall conference bookstore! Please fill out the bookstore form so we can determine if our book seller is able to carry your title. If the book seller is unable to carry your title, we will add your book and contact info to our conference website so buyers can contact you directly. We're excited to see recent programming being added by SCBWI to support our independently publishing members!
Spaces Available for
Mike Curato's Illustrator Intensive

Mike Curato (Flamer, Little Elliot series, Worm Loves Worm) will give a behind-the-scenes look at his process. He will share what goes into comprehensive and thorough visual research. To illustrate it, he created a comp in photoshop to serve as a reference.
He'll do a deep dive into combining traditional and digital media. As part of that, he'll include a segment on digital prepress best practices.
Mike is a prolific author/illustrator of everything from picture books to graphic novels!
*This intensive is limited to 20 participants. Click here to sign up.  If you have already registered for the conference and would like to add Mike's intensive, please email Erica Wood at [email protected]. 
Important Upcoming Conference Dates!
Your Low-Residency MFA Questions Answered!
Curious about whether a low-residency MFA is right for you? I was, and I had lots of questions. Could I do this while working full-time? What was the value? Listening to graduates' experiences helped me make the decision that was right for me. This month, it's your turn. If you have a question send it to me at [email protected] by August 23rd and look for answers here, next month in the September newsletter. I will also be featured in the September Pen & Palette Blog.

Mary Jane Nirdlinger writes historical fiction and mysteries. She graduated from VCFA's low residency MFA in January 2020. She lives in Chapel Hill with her family. Visit to learn more.
SCBWI Carolinas members are invited to Ignite the Spark by writing—and drawing—MicroFiction. Fast, furious fun and inspiration...all within one hour! 

Hosted by our very own
John Strong Linda Gerber!

Ignite the Spark is held every third Tuesday. The next meeting will be
August 17th @ 7:30 pm EDT

For more information:

To sign up:
The purpose of this program is to support our PAL members by getting more of their books out into the Carolinas communities.

Each month, our membership will be notified of new PAL member releases and asked to help out by contacting their local library systems, local bookstores, local schools, and other specialty locations that might be interested in a particular title. 

Email PAL Coordinator Derick Wilder with any questions! 
AUGUST Participants Include:

Shannon Hitchcock
She Sang for the Mountains:
The Story of Jean Ritchie--Singer, Songwriter, Activist
Illustrator: Sophie Page
ISBN: 978-1478874072
Publisher: Reycraft
Release Date: August 18, 2021
Illustrator Opportunities!
New Critique Group!
Portfolio review for the WIN!
VBL Update 
Now that conditions are gradually improving and people are returning to pre-pandemic activities, our Virtual Book Launch program is coming to an end (we did not have anyone sign up to participate in August). We’ve had a blast, but the intent of this program was to celebrate our PAL members’ new books online during a time when holding in-person events was impossible, and as things have slowly improved we’ve seen a decrease in overall participation. 

This being said, we’ve enjoyed every moment of our VBLs, and we want to encourage and support members who’d like to hold their own online book launches moving forward. VBLs are simple to plan and execute--as long as you stay organized--and with a few steps, authors and illustrators can organize and host their own. We’ve also seen some of our authors and illustrators expand these into their own critique and debut groups with great success. Once you have planned your event, please remember to tag us on the following social media so we can share it!

  • Twitter: @SCBWICarolinas
  • Instagram: @scbwi_carolinas
  • Facebook: @SCBWI-Carolinas Group; @SCBWI-Carolinas PAL Group; @SCBWI-Carolinas Working Illustrators Network (WIN)

Tips for Planning Your Own Virtual Book Launch  

  • Decide what platform you’d like to use and create a meeting link. We have had great success with Zoom. We *highly* recommend that you use a sign-up service like SignUp Genius to have attendees sign up for your Virtual Book Launch, and then send your meeting link to them (a free version of SignUp Genius is available). 
  • Schedule a date and begin advertising your VBL several weeks out on your social media platforms and via email. 
  • Enlist your friends, family, and writers/illustrators groups to help promote your event.
  • Tag us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and we will help promote your event, too!
  • Plan the timeline of your VBL, including when you will end the event. 

Decide ahead of time what activities you will do during your VBL.
Here are some ideas:  

  • Ask a friend to host your event and then provide questions for your friend to ask you.
  • Choose passages ahead of time to read aloud to attendees.
  • If you are an illustrator, share your illustrations at different points of development.
  • Discuss your creative process.
  • End your event with a book giveaway! (There are several online generators that will allow you to insert the number of attendees--from 1 to 20, for example--to randomly select a winner. Then simply count to find that attendee on your screen, list, etc.)’
  • Schedule a Q&A time towards the end of your VBL for attendees to ask questions. This part is often the most fun!
  • Make sure to be online at least 15 minutes before your event begins to work out any technical issues. 
HAVE FUN! This is what these events are all about! :-) 
Featured illustrator, Vanessa Thompson: I have been a member of SCBWI since 2019. I have been drawing recognizable things since I first picked up a crayon as a toddler, according to my older sister. Later, I obtained a BFA in illustration from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. I work as a freelance illustrator creating visuals for children's books by self-published authors. I also dabble in drawing caricature commissions. My plans are to eventually beef up my portfolio and find an agent or representative to help further propel my career! I do not have an agent or rep at this time but hope to change that in the future...

My website is and you can find me on both Facebook and Instagram @outrageouslyvanessa.

We want to blast your good news throughout our social media, so please send it our way!
Check out the details at Hurrahs!

Send news of agency signings, contracts and awards to
A warm welcome to all of our new members—we are so glad you've joined us! If you have any questions, please let me know! —Megan Hoyt


You MUST be a member to join the WIN Facebook page and/or the new PAL FB group. You can check your membership expiration on your profile page at You can also renew online if necessary.
Unless otherwise specified, questions about the contents of this newsletter should be directed to one of the following members of the SCBWI-Carolinas Regional Team: Erica Wood (Regional Advisor); Elizabeth Rawls (Assistant Regional Advisor); Becky Shillington (Co-Assistant Regional Advisor); or Ashley Belote (Illustrator Coordinator).

Copyright © SCBWI Carolinas, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
P.O. Box 805, Mount Holly, NC 28120

Want to change how you receive these emails?