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Kim Tomsic

Friday, February 6, 2015

Children's Book Writing Workshop with Andrea Brown Literary Agency


May 22-24, 2015
Chautauqua Park in Boulder, CO
Update:  SOLD OUT

On this page:  (1) Why take this workshop (2) Faculty (3) Link for additional info (4) Registration Form

Why join us for this workshop?

For the past seventeen years, writers have gone to the Big Sur Writing Workshops in California for an intensive weekend of working on manuscripts with publishing professionals who are dedicated to helping new writers. Literary Agent and Executive Director of the Big Sur Writing Workshops Andrea Brown and RMC-SCBWI are bringing that workshop to Boulder, Colorado.

The workshops are designed for writers who have a finished or partially finished manuscript that needs critiquing, revisions, editorial help, and guidance. Our workshop provides tools needed to prepare one’s work for publication as manuscripts must be totally polished to sell in this tight market. The format of the weekend program is different from other conferences and workshops. Writers meet and work closely with faculty members throughout the weekend, from agents to editors to authors. The ratio of faculty to writers is mostly six to one or better.

No two writers have the same experience, and it is the unique nature of our workshops that have made them so popular that a large number of attendees return year after year. The number of writers is limited so there is an intimate feel to the weekend and writers get many opportunities to talk, share information and work with each other, as well as the faculty. The weekend is filled every moment with small critique groups, panels, rewriting time, and delicious meals. The faculty are all established book professionals and wonderful people who know how to target weak spots and help writers polish their works because they care about giving back.

We are proud of our over 20+ success stories (see http://bigsurwriting.wordpress.com/faqs/).  Add the magical setting of beautiful Chautauqua Park at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, and we know you will have an unforgettable, rewarding experience. Our goal is to have writers leave on Sunday with the knowledge needed to see their works published.

What makes the Big Sur Children's Writing Workshops unique?

, the format of the weekend is different from other conferences and workshops.  Ratio of faculty to writers is mostly six to one or better.

Second, the weekend is limited to 70 writers -- just enough people to share valuable information and not too many so each writer feels special.

Third, the weekend is packed with critique groups, rewriting time, panel discussions, delicious meals, and much sharing of information. Writers devote the entire time to focusing only on their writing.

Fourth, the faculty are all children's book professionals and wonderful people who know how to target the weak spots and help writers polish their manuscripts.

May 22-24, 2015 FACULTY

MELISSA MANLOVE  is an Editor at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. She has been with Chronicle for 10 years. Her acquisitions tend to be all ages in nonfiction; ages 0-8 for fiction. When acquiring, she looks for fresh takes on familiar topics as well as the new and unusual. An effective approach and strong, graceful writing are important to her. She has 17 years of children’s bookselling experience. P.S. Chronicle reads all unagented submissions as a matter of course, but conference attendees will be able to bypass the slush pile and submit directly to Melissa. More information on that will be given to each attendee.

NICK HEALY is a senior managing editor for Capstone, a children’s publisher with headquarters in North Mankato, Minnesota, and offices in Minneapolis, Chicago, and Oxford, England. He has been with Capstone for ten years. For much of that time he was the editorial director for imprints primarily sold into school libraries, but as Capstone’s trade business grew in recent years, his focus shifted. Nick has helped launch two new imprints, Capstone Young Readers (picture books and middle grade fiction and nonfiction) and Switch Press (YA fiction and nonfiction), and he now works exclusively on trade projects. He is also the author of It Takes You Over, a short-story collection that received a 2013 Friends of American Writers Literary Award, and an adjunct faculty member in creative writing at Minnesota State University.    


is the President of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Inc.  Founded in New York City in 1981, it was the first literary agency to represent both children's book authors and illustrators. Prior to opening her own firm, Andrea was an editor at Alfred A. Knopf, and worked in the editorial departments of Random House and Dell. In 1990, she moved her literary agency to Northern California. Her literary agency has sold over 2,000 books to just about every publisher, from toddler board books to serious, award-winning young adult.  Several have been New York Times bestsellers in the top ten list of children’s books.  Author of Writers’ and Artists’ Hideouts: Great Getaways for Seducing the Muse, Andrea has published numerous articles for Writer’s Digest and other publications.  She is the executive director of the Big Sur Writing Workshops.

CARYN WISEMAN is a Senior Agent at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. She has been with the agency since 2003 and has sold over 250 books. She represents children’s books only:  young adult and middle-grade fiction and non-fiction, chapter books, picture books (fiction and non-fiction). No matter the genre, Caryn is looking for books with emotional depth and a strong voice; excellent writing in a tightly-plotted story; and characters that stick with her long after she has closed the book. In YA she gravitates toward books that make her think and toward books that make her cry; in middle grade, chapter books, and picture books, laughter tends to be the common thread. Caryn holds an MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA, and a BS from the University of Virginia. To learn more about Caryn’s taste or about deals she’s recently represented, please visit:  http://www.andreabrownlit.com/agents.html

JENNIFER MATTSON has been an agent with Andrea Brown Literary Agency for six years, and began working in the children's book industry immediately out of college -- including five years as an editor at Dutton Children's Books and five years as a Books for Youth reviewer with Booklist.  She represents authors and author-illustrators, all audiences and genres, and looks for clients who bring a deep professionalism, an open mind, and a distinctive, well-developed point of view to their work.  Recent sales include verse picture book Still a Gorilla by Kim Norman to Scholastic; verse picture books Tucked in Tight and Rise and Shine by Linda Ashman, to Disney*Hyperion; narrative picture book Good Morning, Squirrel!  Good Night, Bat! by author-illustrator Paul Meisel, to Boyds Mills; and two more books in the middle-grade Cupcake Cousins series by Kate Hannigan, to Disney*Hyperion.  To give a further sense of her book personality, her favorite titles by non-clients include Marla Frazee's The Seven Silly Eaters; anything by Russell Hoban, Arnold Lobel, or Beverly Cleary; Chris Barton's Shark vs. Train; Noel Streatfield's Ballet Shoes; Esther Hautzig's true survival story, The Endless Steppe; and Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass. For more about Jennifer recent sales, please visit: http://www.andreabrownlit.com/agents.html


DONNA COONER is a former teacher and school administrator, who now teaches future teachers at Colorado State University. Donna is the author of over twenty picture books. She has also written children's television shows for PBS and textbooks for future teachers. Donna’s debut novel, SKINNY, was named an ALA's Best Young Adult Fiction Award, BEA's Young Adult Buzz Book, and a Bankstreet College's Best Children's Book of the Year. Her new book, CAN'T LOOK AWAY, was released this fall and is a Teen Choice Nominee.

ANNA-MARIA CRUM has published one YA science fiction novel, 19 grade school readers for several educational publishers, and has illustrated over 50 books. She’s a three-time Colorado Book Awards finalist, co-hosts the SCBWI Denver Schmooze, and is a board member for the Picture Book Artists Association. For the past four years she has run Plot Doctors with Hilari Bell because they enjoy helping writers with ailing stories—brainstorming about plot problems is like eating dessert first. Anna-Maria lives in Denver with her dog, Bo, who sometimes sneaks into her illustrations.

LINDSAY ELAND knew she wanted to be a writer ever since the fifth grade, when she won an honorable mention for her book What Can You Learn From A Giflyaroo. Now, twenty-plus years later, she is the author of two middle grade novels, SCONES AND SENSIBILITY (Egmont USA) and A SUMMER OF SUNDAYS (Egmont USA) which was a finalist of the 2014 Colorado Book Award and The Hoosier Award. A true romantic, an avid espresso drinker, and a lover of all that can make her laugh, Lindsay lives in Breckenridge, Colorado, with her husband, their four kids, three dogs, one chameleon, one bearded dragon, and the various bears and foxes that venture into their yard. Her next book, SIX TIMES REVENGE (Greenwillow) will release in Summer 2016.

DAVID MEISSNER is an author, educator, and consultant who has developed creative educational programs, written twenty books for the school market, and interviewed dozens of children’s book authors and illustrators for Reading Rockets. David’s first trade book, Call of the Klondike, won SCBWI’s 2014 Golden Kite Award for Nonfiction and was nominated for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction. His website provides a free educators’ guide and tells the story behind the book, including his research trip and historical hike from Alaska to Canada. After seven years in DC and NYC, David is now happily settled in Boulder, Colorado, where he teaches Spanish and is the director of International Programs at the Alexander Dawson School.

JEANNIE MOBLEY writes middle grade and YA fiction. Her debut novel, KATERINA'S WISH (Margaret K. McElderry Books), won the 2013 Colorado Book Award, is on the 2014-2015 William Allen White Award Master List, and represented Colorado at the 2013 National Book Festival.  Her second novel, SEARCHING FOR SILVERHEELS released September 2, 2014, and has been nominated to the Amelia Bloomer List for Feminist Literature. When not writing or reading fiction, Jeannie is a mother, wife, lover of critters, and an anthropology professor at Front Range Community College, where she teaches a variety of classes on cultures past and present.

JEAN REIDY is a children’s author and two-time winner of the Colorado Book Award. She’s written six picture books  -- Too Purpley!, Too Pickley!, Too Princessy!, Time Out for Monsters!, All Through My Town and Light Up the Night.  Jean is a frequent presenter on the topics of literacy, picture books and picture book revision. She writes from her home in Colorado and is represented by Erin Murphy of Erin Murphy Literary Agency. You can visit Jean at www.jeanreidy.com.

DENISE VEGA is the award-winning author of six books for kids, from toddler to teen, including her “blog” books: Click Here (to find out how i survived seventh grade) – a Colorado Book Award winner – and Access Denied (and other eighth grade error messages) as well as Fact of Life #31 (Colorado Book Award winner) and Rock On. Her picture books include Build a Burrito, and the award-winning Grandmother, Have the Angels Come? and her latest: If Your Monster Won't Go to Bed (Knopf/Random House, 2017). Denise is on faculty at Lighthouse Writers Workshop, teaching a range of classes on children's books and is a former Co-Regional Advisor of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of SCBWI. She lives in Denver with her family, and can’t stand cheese so hey, no cheese, please. Find out more at www.denisevega.com.

LINDA ARMS WHITE has written 11 published books, fiction and non-fiction, which have won many awards.  Her book I Could Do That: Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote won the prestigious Christopher Award bestowed on media that “affirm the highest values of the human spirit.”   Through SCBWI and Children’s Authors Bootcamp, White has taught hundreds of writers how to write for children.   Her books include Too Many Pumpkins, Comes A Wind, and Cooking on a Stick.


• Registration is
$485.00 for SCBWI members and $535.00 for non-members. This includes the entire workshop, plus dinners and lunches from Friday dinner through Sunday lunch. (Breakfasts are on your own). 

Conference cancellation policy: 75% REGISTRATION REFUND IF CANCELED THREE WEEKS PRIOR TO STARTING DATE.  After that, no refund.

• Registration does not include lodging. Want to stay overnight? Cottages on the grounds of Chautauqua Park may be booked for the weekend through Chautauqua’s Lodging Office. Make your reservation directly at
lodging@chautauqua.com or call 303-952-1611. It’s a holiday weekend, so I advising making your reservation soon.  Four sizes of cottages (efficiency, one-, two-, and three-bedroom) are available starting from $185 per cottage per night, plus 12.3% lodging tax.  All cottages have fully equipped kitchens. For more information, see http://www.chautauqua.com/lodging/reservations/ Book early and mention you are with the RMC-SCBWI workshop.

Chautauqua cottage cancellation policy: Please verify on your own with Chautauqua lodging for updates on prices and cancellation policy.
• If you would like to bring a guest for dinner on Friday evening, extra dinner tickets are $55 per person.  For Saturday evening, extra tickets are $35 per person.



1.  Print and fill out the Registration Form at the end of this brochure.
Make your check payable to “RMC-SCBWI” and send with registration form to: "Big Sur in the Rockies Children's Writing Workshop"  c/o Jerilyn Patterson, 1610 Pace Street, Suite 900 BOX #315, Longmont, CO 80504. Your manuscript submission will not be considered until payment has been received.

2.  Submit the first two pages of one manuscript (maximum 500 words) to:
ktomsic@gmail.com with “Big Sur workshop submission” in the Subject line.  Send the submission in the body of the email, not as an attachment.  If sent as an attachment, it will not be read. You will receive notification that your document has been received. If you do not receive notification that your document has been received and is under consideration, please double check email address and resend.

Deadline for submission is April 2015 (specific deadline date coming)

Note: Works may not be accepted if the content falls outside the faculty area of expertise, or if the executive director feels the work and writer would not benefit from attending the workshop. You will be notified as soon as possible, with a full refund of registration fee, should your work not be approved. Notification of acceptance or non-acceptance is via email.  If you have not heard by close of registration, please contact the registrar. 

QUESTIONS: write to  Registrar@RMCSCBWI.ORG

Register early.  Space is limited so we can keep the workshop small for personal attention.


You will meet with two different faculty members, one leading a first critique group and the other leading a second critique group.  Each critique group will meet twice.  Each critique group meeting will last two hours. 

  • 7 copies of a short manuscript or chapter to work on in your first critique group.  There may be time to work on more than one project, so feel free to bring another manuscript or a different section of the first manuscript. (Think in terms of sections that can be discussed productively in 20-25 minutes; up to five pages usually works well.)

  • 7 copies of a short manuscript or chapter to work on in your second critique group.

  • 5 copies of a query letter, cover letter, first pages or pitch to work on in panel sessions. Check back for more details.

  • Plan to write, so bring works-in-progress and writing equipment.    
Note:  For printing and photocopying, a FedEx Office is located at 2616 Baseline Road, one mile away (east) in the shopping center at the corner of Baseline Road and Broadway Street.

  • A flashlight (for walking at night) and comfortable shoes.  Nearby trails lead into The Flatirons foothills.   

Big Sur in the Rockies Children’s Writing Workshop
May 22-24, 2015

Name __________________________________________________________________
City  ____________________________________  State ___________Zip____________
E-mail address __________________________  (for confirmation and other information)
Phone ( _____ ) _________________________

I am a:   q  RMC-SCBWI member  (Colorado and Wyoming)  q  other SCBWI region’s member  
q  not yet an SCBWI member

$_____ SCBWI member  $485.00             
$_____ Non-SCBWI member  $535.00
$_____ Extra Friday dinner ticket(s) for guest(s) @$55                                   # ___ Friday
$_____ Extra Saturday dinner ticket(s) for guest(s) @$35             #___ Saturday 
$ _____ TOTAL

q  Please include vegetarian entree options for me.
q  Please include lactose-free entree options for me.
q  Please include gluten-free entree options for me.

I’d prefer a critique group with writers of (check a maximum of two, i.e., 1 for each of your 2 groups):
      q  Picture books
      q  Early readers and Chapter books
      q  Middle-grade novels
      q  Young Adult novels
      q  Nonfiction
      q  Combination
[PLEASE NOTE:  we’ll do our best, but we’ll be limited by the distribution of workshop attendees.]

q  I have fellow critique group members also attending this workshop.  If possible, please put us in
       different groups.  Names of fellow members: ____________________________________________

REGISTRATION:  Print and fill out this registration form.  Make your check payable to “RMC-SCBWI” and send with registration form to:  “Big Sur in the Rockies,” c/o Jerilyn Patterson, 1610 Pace Street, Suite 900 BOX #315, Longmont, CO 80504


Stacy S. Jensen said...

Thanks for sharing the details Kim. I've shared it around. Wish I could attend again. It was a very helpful experience.

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing the details..
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Kim Tomsic said...

Stacy! I wish you could attend, too.

Susie Weber said...

Is this still open? I'd love to attend!

Kim Tomsic said...

Darn it, Susie. Next time!

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