June 2016
This months big SCBWI news is the release of the Summer Reading List.
Spread the word broadly to your community to support your fellow members.

SCBWI Exclusive with . . .
Kate McKean, Agent, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency
Kate McKean joined the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency in 2006. She earned her Master's degree in Fiction Writing at the University of Southern Mississippi and began her publishing career at the University Press of Florida. She is proud to work with New York Times best-selling authors in a wide variety of genres including Mallory Ortberg's Texts From Jane Eyre, Madeleine Roux's YA horror series Asylum, and Brittany Gibbons' memoir Fat Girl Walking. 
What path led you to becoming an agent?
I started, like many, as an English major. My genius sister suggested I get an internship at the university press at my school, and I did and that lead to a full time job as an editorial assistant after graduation. After working there a year, I went to graduate school for my MA in Fiction Writing and after having just about all I could take of being a student, I packed my things and drove to New York to become a literary agent. I knew it would suit my outgoing personality. That was almost thirteen years ago. 
On the Shelves   
Elliott Bay Books 

Amazon recently released its annual list of "most well-read cities in the U.S." with Seattle claiming the top spot. Holly Myers, Children's Book Buyer at Elliott Bay Books, in Seattle, Washington, gives insight as to the why the city is a literary haven.

What's trending at Elliott Bay Books right now? 
I have noticed more and more established, grown-up authors are being published and writing for children and young adults. I find this to be a bit of a double-edged sword. I have often said that some of the best writing ever published is in the YA department, so it pleases me that these books are reaching a larger audience. At the same time, however, it worries me that publishers aren't looking for new talent. It is hard enough to get your first book published just competing against other first time authors, but imagine how much harder it becomes to compete against authors already established in another genre.

What makes Elliott Bay Books a hot spot for author and illustrator visits?  
We have been fortunate to have dedicated space here in the bookstore for author visits in our new location (we moved from Pioneer Square to Capitol Hill in 2010), and we are working to cultivate relationships with local schools in the hopes of being able to schedule larger events. Authors, illustrators, and schools are welcome to contact me directly. It's probably best to contact us through email: [email protected] or [email protected]. That said, it may take a day or two to reply!
Illustrator Info 
Portfolio Tips from SCBWI Mentorship Winners
For all the members who are signed up to participate in our Los Angeles Summer Conference Portfolio Showcase, as well as all the members who are working on their portfolios in general, we asked some past recipients of the Mentorship award (www.scbwi.org/awards/grants/portfolio-awards/) for their best tips for assembling/developing/improving/critiquing/editing your own portfolio. Read on for super helpful tips and advice!
Brooke Boynton Hughes
During a critique with an art director several years ago, the art director basically said, "Your work is nice, but that's about it."  After digesting her words I realized that most of the images in my portfolio weren't created from a place of excitement or love, but rather were created based on what I thought other people would like.  

Up to that point I'd been nervous to include the images that I secretly loved, which were sort of dark and a little scary, because I didn't think anyone else would like them, and also because those images felt personal and a little vulnerable. However, once I started including more personal images in my portfolio, the images that were based on my childhood feelings and memories and the images that I was really excited to create, people started responding more positively, and excitedly, to my portfolio.  
Tribe Share  
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New addition to the office #Read

Portrait of Richard Peck, timelessly cool, by Sonya Sones.

Special Projects Director Kim Turrisi reads through every manuscript for the #LA16SCBWI Manuscript Consultations.