SCBWI Mentorship Winner

I mentioned in a previous post how I attended my first SCBWI conference right before COVID-19 shut everything down. It happened to be a Nonfiction Children’s Book conference. I’d just joined SCBWI, I didn’t know anyone going, and I knew next to nothing about the nonfiction children’s market, but I came home from that one-day conference on fire with ideas.

As the people who know me know, there’s really no stopping me once I get an idea. I dove in and drafted 2 nonfiction children’s manuscripts during the next two months. I love research and writing and kids, so it’s really a perfect match for me!

Last month I submitted a book proposal for one of my manuscripts to the SCBWI Michigan Nonfiction Mentorship Contest. It’s called Becoming an Inventor: Train Your Brain to Invent & Explore Your Creativity.

I can’t tell you how pleased I am to announce that I was just announced as the Winner for the Middle Grade (ages 8-12) Mentorship! Suzanne Lipshaw, who I happened to have lunch with at that conference, won the Nonfiction Picture Book Mentorship. I am so thrilled for her as well!

For the next year I will be under the mentorship of Stephanie Bearce, whose awesome children’s books are right up my alley with her Twisted True Tales from Science series, and her Top Secret Files series about real spies, secrets, and covert missions. If your kids haven’t read any of her books, give them a try!

I would like to extend a huge thank you to the contest coordinator, Ann Finkelstein, all the judges, and to Stephanie for choosing to work with me!

A Vote of Confidence

Interruptions are everywhere this week with doctor appointments and half-days at school, but I am getting words in every chance I get. It is so easy to let a lack of progress raise doubts as to my ability to finish this book.

As luck would have it, my award certificates and prize money from a writing conference I attended last fall finally came in the mail. My kiddos were very impressed, and it has helped me push away the doubts.

It was just the vote of confidence I needed!

I actually attended two writing conferences last fall, before NaNoWriMo. Both of the conferences were extremely helpful. The Rochester Writers Conference was local, but its writing contests are open to all. The other one, SMIAH–Storymakers Midwest Indie Author Hub, was in Kansas City.

SMIAH has a number of mini-writing contests, open only to conference attendees. The prizes were small, but I challenged myself to enter as many as possible. You can’t win if you don’t enter, right? As you can see below, I did very well. The best part was that I learned a ton pushing myself to meet the demands of the contests, and as an added bonus, it gave me a lot of visibility as an author at the conference, which led to invitations to join much-needed critique groups.

SMIAH 2019 prizes & certificates

Another result of my contest winnings was that I have been asked to serve on the SMIAH 2020 Committee, and oversee the contests. I won’t be able to enter their contests this time, but I am excited to be able to help other writers get that same vote of confidence in their writing!

*One fun side note: This was my second time going to SMIAH. I won a number of their contests in 2018, as well. One of which was to help name the keynote speaker, Heather B. Moore’s, next book. I won, and the prize was that she would use my name for one of her characters. At this last conference, I just happened to win that very book, pictured above. So, if you read All for You, look for Sarah Lynne. 🙂