Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Meet Our 2021 Conference Faculty: Pat Zietlow Miller

Meet the faculty of the 2021 Austin SCBWI Writers & Illustrators Working Conference. We’ve asked all our faculty members to answer 4 quick questions so we can get to know them better.

Pat Zietlow Miller, Author

Pat Zietlow Miller knew she wanted to be a writer ever since her seventh-grade English teacher read her paper about square-dancing skirts out loud in class and said: “This is the first time anything a student has written has given me chills.” (Thanks, Mrs. Mueller! You rock!) Pat started out as a newspaper reporter and wrote about everything from dartball and deer-hunting to diets and decoupage. Then, she joined an insurance company and edited its newsletter and magazine. Now, she writes insurance information by day and children’s books by night. She has 11 picture books currently available and 11 more coming out over the next few years. Her picture book BE KIND was on the New York Times bestseller list for 10 weeks, and SOPHIE’S SQUASH won a Golden Kite Award, an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor and a Charlotte Zolotow Honor. Pat has one wonderful husband, two delightful daughters and two pampered cats. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin. You can follow Pat on Twitter at @PatZMiller or on Instagram at @patzmill. She also blogs about children’s books with other kidlit creators at Picture Book Builders (

Pat Zietlow Miller
Author Pat Zietlow Miller

What attracted you to children’s books?

I loved children’s books as a kid and kept loving them as an adult. I think children’s books — and picture books especially — are full of truth and beauty. And, truth and beauty are something you never outgrow.

What’s the best part of your job?

I love revising after getting spot-on feedback from a fellow author, my agent or an editor. There’s nothing more exciting than when feedback really resonates with me and I can wait to dig in and get started and make the story better.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

The uncertainty. Will I sell another book? When? What if I don’t? How will this book that I’ve worked so hard on and love so much be perceived by others? Will they like it? Buy it? Share it?

What’s the best piece of advice you were given that helped drive your career?

It came from my mom, who simply said: “You’ve done hard things before.” And, that sentence reminded me that … well … I had. And, that trying to get published was just one more hard thing that I could work toward like any other goal if I focused on the small steps instead of the bigger picture.

Come see Pat Zietlow Miller at the 2021 Austin SCBWI conference, May 1-2, 2021.