SCBWI Fall Conference, Indiana Superstars!

Come enjoy a fantastic line-up of some of our very own Indiana SCBWI Superstars! Our sessions will include learning opportunities for both authors and illustrators, with faculty sharing about Picture Book writing and illustrating, Young Adult writing, Platform Building, School Visits, Poetry writing, Christian Market writing, and more!

Superstars Conference Bonus: This conference is packed full of breakout sessions and critique slots!  Critiques are available for anyone who wants one, and if you are getting a critique, you will have the opportunity to have your critique and also attend 5 break-out sessions! If you do not do a critique, then you can squeeze in 6 break-out sessions!
We are also offering professional headshot photo sessions throughout the day and a conference book store.

Early bird registration opens August 1st!

Regular registration begins September 1st and closes October 10th.

Click here to register.

Location Info:
Brooks Elementary School
12451 Brooks School Road
Fishers, Indiana

Price list:
$90 – early bird member
$115 – early bird nonmember
$115 – regular registration member
$140 – regular registration non-member
$25 – Portfolio and Manuscript Critiques (15 minutes)


Indiana Superstars Fall Schedule*:

8:30-9:00 Registration (coffee and refresments provided)

9:00-9:15 Welcome and opening remarks

9:15-10:00 – Break out sessions

10:10-10:50 – Break out sessions

11:00-11:45 – Break out sessions

11:45-12:45 – Lunch (included in cost)

12:45-1:30 – Break out sessions

1:40-2:25 – Break out sessions

2:35-3:20 – Break out sessions

3:30-4:15 – Closing remarks, door prizes, faculty book signing
*Schedule subject to change

Bookstore – Hosted by Kids Ink
The bookstore will be open Saturday during the conference to purchase books by our speakers and PAL members. If you are a PAL (Published And Listed) member of SCBWI attending the conference, you may submit one PAL book title for sale at our conference bookstore. Please email your PAL title and its ISBN# by September 1st to: Sharon Vargo at with “ SCBWI Summer PAL Title” in the subject line.

Manuscript Critques
A limited number of manuscript critiques are available from conference faculty for $25 each. They will be 20 minute one-on-one sessions with written comments included.
If you have registered and paid for a critique:

• For picture books, attach the entire manuscript, for MG and YA, please send 10 pages and a one page synopsis. 
​(Do not include photos or illustrations.)

• Use 12-point font, Times New Roman, doublespaced, 1-inch margins

• Number and include your name on each page.

• Include the specific genre on the first page at the top.

• Manuscripts must be received by September 1st via email with “INSCBWI Manuscript (last name)” in the subject line to:

• Late submissions will not be accepted.

*Keep in mind that critiques are usually in high demand and the slots may fill up quickly.

Portfolio Critiques
A limited number of one-on-one 20 minute portfolio critiques will be available on a first come basis. 
Simply register for a portfolio critique and we will let you know the exact time of your consultation at registration. A total of 10 images will be reviewed. Please keep the 10 images you would like reviewed in the front pages of your portfolio to make the best use of your critique time.

*Keep in mind that critiques are usually in high demand and the slots may fill up quickly.

Portfolio Display
No added charge. Drop off your portfolio on the table marked, “Portfolio Display” during registration on Saturday morning. 
You may also bring promotional postcards as handouts. Please pick up your portfolio before the end of the day. 
We are not responsible for your portfolio. Have your name on each page of your portfolio.  No original
artwork, framed art, easels or props are permitted. Have high-quality color copies of your illustrations that are appropriate for children’s books. 



Superstar Lineup:

Brian Ballenger

Bryan Ballinger:
Bryan graduated from the Columbus College of Art and Design in 1990 with a degree in Illustration. He also has a master’s degree in Writing for Children from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. After moving to Seattle in 1991 and doing freelance work for companies such as Nintendo Power magazine, he started working at Microsoft as an illustrator.  He was lead illustrator for the first version of the award-winning Encarta CD-ROM encyclopedia as well as the Explorapedia children’s encyclopedia series.  Bryan was the 3D Design Lead for 5 years at Big Idea Productions, the producers of the VeggieTales children’s videos. Bryan is also a professor of Digital Media Arts at Huntington University in Indiana. Bryan does illustration for children’s books, websites, games, videos, ads, etc.  He is also the author and illustrator of Animal Gas, a quirky scratch and sniff children’s picture book.

Session Description:
Anatomy of a Gassy Kickstarter
Going from crowdfunded self-publishing to traditional publishing.
Author/Illustrator Bryan Ballinger will discuss how he kickstarted his book picture book Animal Gas. He will go over in detail his entire hilarious campaign from start to finish, including all the promotional materials and media, how the Kickstarter was structured, and how it led to the book eventually being published by Sterling Press (and imprint of Barnes and Noble).



Nathan Clement:
Nathan Clement is the author and illustrator of four books published by Boyds Mills Press, with one more currently in process.
When crafting a book, Nathan keeps the young reader top of mind and focusses on the coolness factor to captivate young minds. Shininess, immensity, power, and unusual views are what engage two to five year-olds. Simple text holds their attention and pulls in the early and reluctant reader. Nathan received a BFA in fine art and creative writing from Indiana Wesleyan University and works full time as an author/illustrator.

Session Description:
In this presentation, Nathan will talk about his start in picture books as well as show his process using storyboarding and early drawings. You’ll see how Nathan’s writing process is closely related to sketching and hear about the back and forth interaction with his editor and art director. Also get some insight to his digitally-created artwork.


Shirley Mullin

Shirley Mullin
Shirley Mullin created Kids Ink Children’s Bookstore thirty-one years ago after working as a teacher and librarian.  Her passion has always been bringing children and quality books together.

With a Masters in Librarianship from the University of Denver, Shirley has taught Kindergarten and has served as a librarian in school libraries as well as the library at IUPUI.  She also developed the Riley Family Library at Riley Hospital.  For many years she was an adjunct professor teaching children’s literature at IUPUI as well as a Reading Consultant for Lilly Endowment.

She has three grown children who love to read and six grandchildren who are all avid readers and listeners!

Session Description:
A Bookseller Prospective
Shirley Mullin will reflect on her impressions of trends in publishing, changes she sees in the past months and some examples of what is being published this fall and winter.



Katie Mitschelen:
Katie Mitschelen is a children’s author, elementary reading intervention teacher, and a life-long Hoosier. She presents at schools and libraries around the state. Her four-book series, INDIANA, MY STATE, was published by State Standards Publishing in 2015. Other writing credits include a picture book for a city in Columbus, Indiana, and magazine articles for Humpty Dumpty, Scholastic Instructor, and Back Home. She is represented by Alyssa Henkin from Trident Media Group. Katie lives in La Porte with her superstar husband and daughter, and a menagerie of pets. Learn more at

Session Description:
Superstar School Visits
Ready to jump into the world of school visits? Maybe you’re already a presenter, but you’re looking for more ideas to engage your audience. This session will cover the basics of a school visit – like age-appropriate activities, keeping students’ attention, and handling disruptions – and the business side of visits – like fees, contracts, and author packets. Learn how to be a superstar presenter and make your school visit super successful!



Michelle Medlock Adams:
Michelle Medlock Adams is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author, earning top honors from the Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Hoosier State Press Association. Author of over 70 books, Michelle’s latest release, Love & Care For The One and Only You (Worthy) was recently featured on the “Praise The Lord” program on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Since graduating with a journalism degree from Indiana University, Michelle has written more than 1,000 articles for newspapers, magazines and websites; acted as a stringer for the Associated Press; written for a worldwide ministry; helped pen a New York Times Bestseller; served as a blogger for Guideposts for two years; and successfully run her own freelance writing business for 16 years.

Michelle is married to her high school sweetheart, Jeff, and they have two college-aged daughters, Abby and Allyson, as well as a miniature dachshund and four cats. When not writing or teaching writing, Michelle enjoys leading fitness classes at Priority Fitness, and cheering on the Indiana University Basketball team, the Indiana Pacers, the Indianapolis Colts, the Chicago Cubbies, and the LA Kings.

Session Description:
Writing for Children: Breaking Into the CBA Market
In this workshop, Best-selling CBA Author Michelle Medlock Adams will share how to break into the world of writing for children in the Christian realm. From writing short stories for Sunday School take-home papers to crafting Vacation Bible School curriculum to writing a best-selling inspirational picture book, Michelle will highlight the various publishing opportunities in the CBA market. As someone who has sold over 3 million books in the CBA market, Michelle will also share tips and tricks for selling to Christian Publishers such as Worthy Kids, Zonderkidz, Concordia and more.
You can learn more about Michelle at


Angie Karcher
Angie Karcher:
Angie is the author of WHERE THE RIVER GRINS, 2012 M.T. Publishing, THE LEGENDARY R.A. COWBOY JONES 2014 M.T. and SANTA’S GIFT 2017 M.T. Publishing. Her poetry is included in the 2016 Indiana Bicentennial Tribute to Poems and Songs.
Angie is the founder of Rhyme Revolution, The Best in Rhyme Award and the Rhyme Revolution Conference. October 2018, New Harmony, Indiana) She is available for school visits, conference presentations and readings. Please see her website for more information.

Session Description:
From Rags to Rewards in 4 Years
Angie’s “You can do it!” attitude has helped her climb from an unknown author to one who hosts an annual children’s book award in New York City. Learn how to network, collaborate, and market yourself so that you are mixing and mingling with amazing authors, agents and editors too. With determination and hard work, the opportunities will begin to present themselves! You must have the courage to say “YES” and then…hang on for the ride!


Rebecca Kai

Rebecca Kai Dotleich:
Rebecca Kai Dotlich grew up in the Midwest exploring trails by the creek, reading comic books, making paper dolls and building snow forts.
She attended Indiana University where she studied creative writing, art history and anthropology while she worked in the student library typing index cards for the card catalog. Rebecca is a children’s poet and picture book author of titles such as What is Science? (an AAAS Subaru SB&F prize finalist), Bella and Bean (an SCBWI Golden Kite Honor), The Knowing Book, and One Day, The End, which was named a Boston Globe Horn Book honor for picture book. She gives poetry workshops, visits classrooms across the country, and speaks at conferences, retreats, libraries and schools to teachers, aspiring writers and students of all ages.
Her books have received the Gold Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award as well as a Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the year, and her work has been featured on Reading Rainbow and the PBS children’s show Between the Lions. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and her four young grandchildren live nearby.
Website: Twitter: @rebeccakai

Session Description:
Looking in the Window of Poetry
In this session Rebecca will share all kinds of stories and tips about poetry, show the making of a few poems from rough draft to finished, share what editors may be looking for, discuss ways to begin a poem, brainstorm ideas for a poem during the session and more.


Mike Mullin

Mike Mullen:
Mike Mullin’s first job was scraping the gum off the undersides of desks at his high school. From there, things went steadily downhill. He almost got fired by the owner of a bookstore due to his poor taste in earrings. He worked at a place that showed slides of poopy diapers during lunch (it did cut down on the cafeteria budget). The hazing process at the next company included eating live termites raised by the resident entomologist, so that didn’t last long either. For a while Mike juggled bottles at a wine shop, sometimes to disastrous effect. Oh, and then there was the job where swarms of wasps occasionally tried to chase him off ladders. So he’s really glad this writing thing seems to be working out.

Mike holds a black belt in Songahm Taekwondo. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and her three cats. His debut novel, Ashfall, was named one of the top five young adult novels of 2011 by National Public Radio, a Best Teen Book of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews, and a New Voices selection by the American Booksellers Association. He is represented by Kate Testerman of kt literary.

Session Description:
Why Is Writing So Hard?
Is writer’s block real? How do you beat it? Why is writing sometimes so difficult? Why are there days the words seem to flow without conscious thought? Is it better to write in the morning or at night? In this session, award-winning young-adult author Mike Mullin will share the work habits of dozens of famous authors, delve into the latest neuroscience and psychological research as it pertains to writing, and suggest concrete strategies you can use immediately to make yourself a more productive writer.