I’m the new SCBWI Co-Regional Advisor for SCBWI Wisconsin!

I’m excited to be the new Co-Regional Advisor for SCBWI Wisconsin, working together with author Miranda Paul. Big thanks to Michael Kress-Russick for co-leading our chapter for the last five years!

Miranda and I, along with Illustrator Coordinator Deb Gross, are busy planning the Wisconsin Fall Conference, which takes place October 21-23. Check out our stellar lineup HERE.

I had a great time at the Wild Wild Midwest this past weekend, meeting other state RA’s and gleaning so much from the amazing faculty. In addition to all the learning, we took a break Friday night for a Roaring 20’s costume party. Here’s a picture of Miranda and me in our aviator costumes inspired by Amelia Earhart.

Miranda & Andrea_WWMW


Picture Book Halloween

My favorite holiday gets a little bit better when my family and I dress up as characters from pictures books. Last year my daughters Evey and Celia got to have all the fun, but this year Michael and I, our nephew, and my brother and sister-in-law got to join in as the creatures from Maurice Sendak’s book Where the Wild Things Are.

WILD THINGS! Costume picture

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Recap of SCBWI Wisconsin Fall Conference

Great times at SCBWI’s Wisconsin Fall Conference. My top five favorite memories:

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FUN: Hung out with my LITtle Ladies critique group—Sheri Roloff, Rachelle Lisiecki, and Rochelle Groskreutz, and my “conference wife” Amy Ward.

FACT: Presented The School Visit Toolbox and shared what to do if you’re presenting to a class and have sharp pencils thrown in your direction.

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FUN: Learned from Dan Santat that font is important, and unless you’re an artisanal goat cheese restaurant in NYC, Helvetica might not be the best choice.

FACT: His advice—pick design over execution, meaning you can have a great painting/illustration, but it won’t matter if the design isn’t considered.


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FUN: Crashed a formal fundraiser with Katherine Harrison and Sheri Roloff.

FACT:  Circumstances can change and be imagined, but write what you know emotionally says Katherine in regards to voice and character.

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FUN: Embarrassed by my tear-streaked faced during Pat Zietlow Miller’s closing keynote, until I looked around and realized I was not the only one.

FACT: Writing success takes Talent, Luck, and most importantly, Tenacity says Pat.

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FUN: Found out why you should never leave a bird’s nest close to your house (i.e. bird mites are the new bed bugs) from Bruce Coville over a BLT at Roots Cafe.

FACT: “Craft without inspiration leads to basket weaving, inspiration without craft leads to contemporary art.” —Bruce Coville

SCBWI SE Wisconsin Meet up with Deb Gross & Jessica Salyer

Please join us for the SE Area Meet-up at the Wauwatosa Library.

DebraGross12October 1st from 10-3pm @ Wauwatosa Library
10-12pm Creating A Picture Book Dummy with Illustrator Deb Gross

Creating book dummies isn’t just for illustrators. All creators benefit from laying out their text in a page-turning format. In this presentation Deb Gross will cover the purpose and general construction of a picture book dummy. I will talk about how to layout a storyboard, create simple sketches, organize a book dummy package and submit to publishers.

Deb Gross has enjoyed working in children’s publishing for the past 16 years. She works in pencil, pen & ink, watercolor, and colored pencil. She also creates illustrations in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator alone or in combination with conventional methods. Her clients include Barron’s Educational Series, Harcourt Educational, McGraw Hill, National Geographic School Publishing & Compass Publishing.
Deb serves as the SCBWI-WI Illustrator Coordinator.

jessicaOctober 1st from 10-3pm @ Wauwatosa Library 1-3pm
Using Scrivener
w/ Jessica Salyer

Ever wonder why people use Scrivener? Come learn the basics and the unique elements that make Scrivener an Author’s tool box essential.

Jessica Salyer is the co-author of Secret Catch, a modern day Romeo and Juliet retelling with a happy ending. She can be found furiously typing on her laptop when her kids go to bed, but she probably won’t hear you because of her earbuds and loud music. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, or her website where she will hear you.


Our Next Meet-up is December 3, 2015 @ 6:30pm – 8:30pm at the Wauwatosa Library Children’s Storyroom. Youth librarian Anne Kissinger will present How Picturebooks Work

tosa libraryJoin children’s librarian Anne Kissinger as she discusses how picturebooks work– peritextual elements (endpapers, covers, book jackets) design elements (fonts, orientation of the book, borders, etc.) visual grammar (offer and demand, color, composition), mindful literacy (What does the text say? What does the text mean?), adult-directed & child-directed books (read by an adult to a child or child reads independently), appropriate age and classifications for writing, close reading (writing), how the library handles acquisitions and gaps in the current collection, and how to effectively communicate with your librarian.

Following the presentation there will be time for discussion with an opportunity to peruse the collection and check out books. The library closes at 9:00pm. Wauwatosa Public Library 7635 W. North Avenue 53213 wauwatosalibrary.org (414) 471-8486 anne.kissinger@mcfls.org

Join me at the SCBWI Wisconsin Fall Conference!


Join me at the SCBWI Fall Conference October 16-18th in Oconomowoc, WI. I’ll be presenting on school visits. There’s still time to register. Check out the details below.

School visits can help authors and illustrators connect directly with their market audience—children and teachers. They can also help produce additional income. To discover what schools are looking for when booking a visit, and to find out what to do after you’ve gotten the gig, join Andrea Skyberg as she addresses some of the following questions:

  • What’s the best way to connect with schools to book visits?
  • When is the best time to send out promotional materials? And what is the best medium to use?
  • What do you charge?
  • Should you have a contract?
  • Where can schools find funding?
  • How many children should you work with at a time?
  • How do you handle a Skype visit?
  • How do you incorporate appropriate material for each age-range?
  • How does your program relate to the schools curriculum and standards?
  • What classroom management techniques can you employ?
  • Should you talk about your writing, yourself, or how your books were made?
  • How much time should you make each presentation?
  • What performance strategies can you use to help engage the audience?