Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

PAL Career Day Faculty & Sessions

So you want to do a Comic Con?

If you’ve ever dreamed of dressing up in costume and selling your own books at a comic con, this session is for you. All comic cons and book festivals are not created equally, and there are tips and tricks to help you make the most of your time, money, and energy. From booking the show and purchasing your own books to setting up the booth and counting cash, we’ll cover it. Bring questions and ideas. No costumes required.

P. J. (Tricia) Hoover wanted to be a Jedi, but when that didn’t work out, she became an electrical engineer instead. After a fifteen year bout designing computer chips for a living, P. J. started creating worlds of her own. She’s the award-winning author of The Hidden Code, a Da Vinci Code-style young adult adventure with a kick-butt heroine, and Tut: The Story of My Immortal Life, featuring a fourteen-year-old King Tut who’s stuck in middle school. When not writing, P. J. spends time practicing kung fu, fixing things around the house, and solving Rubik’s cubes. For more information about P. J. (Tricia) Hoover, please visit her website

Surprisingly Simple Ways to Make Your Book More Appealing to Educators

Librarians and teachers buy a lot of books. Susan Kralovansky, former librarians and authors of 16 books, will give ideas and solutions to make your book more desirable to the school market. You will learn to create a trailer, a teacher’s guide, a reader’s theater script, and promotional posters that will make educators love you, and your books.

Susan Kralovansky started writing for the children’s magazine market and published stories and poems in places such as Cat Fancy, Our Magic Window, Instructor, and Humpty Dumpty. Her first book, There Was a Tall Texan Who Swallowed a Flea, was released in 2013 from Pelican Publishing. Her first nonfiction series, Library Resources, with Abdo Publishing was released the same year. Susan has written twelve nonfiction books and five fiction picture books, two of which she illustrated. She is the author/illustrator of a forthcoming original tall tale, How Fire Ants Got Their Fire, with Pelican Publishing to be released in 2020.

Every Clause Of Your Author Contract, Explained

Author and editor Leila Sales takes you through each clause in a publishing agreement and explains what they mean, what the industry standards are, and what your agent and editor are considering as they negotiate the terms. We’ll cover advances, royalties, payouts, subsidiary rights, option clauses, and more, as well as any specific contract questions you have.

Leila Sales is the author of seven critically acclaimed middle grade and young adult novels with Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, Chronicle, and Abrams. Her books have been included on many state lists, translated into a dozen languages, and optioned for stage and screen. Leila spent the past eleven years as a children’s book editor at Penguin Random House, where she edited books by New York Times bestselling authors Max Brallier, Gayle Forman, and Ame Dyckman; award-winning actors Viola Davis and Bob Balaban; National Book Award Finalist Elizabeth Partridge; MacArthur Fellow Xu Bing; and many more. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @LeilaSalesBooks.

Panel Discussion on Connecting with Librarians and Booksellers

You’d like to do school visits or set up a signings with books stores, but where do you start? Our panel of librarians and booksellers will let you know what they’re looking for from author visits, the best times to get in touch and what they like to see in presentations.

Becky Calzada is a school librarian in the Leander School District.

Jennifer Coleman is a Texas-certified  teacher for grades Pre-K-8th grade and taught in the classroom prior to obtaining her Masters in Library Science from the University of North Texas.  Serving as a certified elementary school librarian for 23 years, she has spent the last 8 in a large public school in Pflugerville ISD.  A member of Austin-SCBWI, Coleman is also the author of The Texas Nutcracker and Ready, Set, Motivate! How to Capture Young Readers with Visual Aids.

Jane Estes is an owner of Lark & Owl Booksellers, an independent bookstore located in Georgetown.

Cracking Conferences: Tips for Writing Proposals That Get Accepted

Speaking at conferences can be a wonderful way to promote your books and school visits. But getting accepted can be tricky. In this session, Samantha will go over why you should be pitching conferences and tips to get them accepted.

Samantha M Clark is the award-winning author of THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST. She has always loved stories about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. After all, if four ordinary brothers and sisters can find a magical world at the back of a wardrobe, why can’t she? While she looks for her real-life Narnia, she writes about other ordinary children and teens who’ve stumbled into a wardrobe of their own. In a past life, Samantha was a photojournalist and managing editor for newspapers and magazines. She lives with her husband and two kooky dogs in Austin, Texas. Samantha is the Regional Advisor for the Austin chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, and explores wardrobes every chance she gets. Sign up for news and giveaways at Follow her on Twitter @samclarkwritesInstagram @samanthamclarkbooksFacebook at SamanthaMClarkAuthor, and Pinterest at SamClarkWrites.

Connecting with Book Bloggers and Other Media Outlets

Now that you’ve got a book, how do you let people know about it? This presentation will offer tips and insight on sharing your story with the world.

Since 2016, Gayleen Rabakukk has worked with Cynthia Leitich Smith as a Cynsations intern since 2016. Cynsations is one of the longest running blogs focusing on children’s publishing and averages 70,000 page views during active publishing months. Gayleen previously worked as an editor for a daily newspaper and monthly specialty publications.  She serves as assistant regional advisor for the Austin chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and is represented by Andrea Cascardi of Transatlantic Literary Agency.