I love meeting writers around the world and really enjoy speaking at conferences. Here are the events I’ll be attending in the near future. I’ll post more as I book ‘em.



Friday, January 20th to Sunday, January 22nd:

Writer’s Digest Conference
New York, NY


Friday, February 17th to Sunday, February 19th:

San Francisco Writers Conference
San Francisco, CA

Friday, February 24th to Sunday, February 26th:

SCBWI Southern Breeze Conference
Atlanta, GA


Friday, March 2nd to Sunday, March 4th:

Big Sur Writers Workshop
Monterey, CA
(Even though I’m not on the website for March, I will be there!)

Saturday, March 10th:

Workshop for SCBWI France
Paris, France


Thursday, April 19th to Saturday, April 21st:

Las Vegas Writer’s Conference
Las Vegas, NV

Friday, April 27th to Sunday, April 29th:

Central California Writers Conference
Yosemite, CA


If you don’t see me coming to a conference near you, you might be able to change that!

First, find out if there is a regional SCBWI chapter (to find your regional chapter and see their events, click here) or a writers conference that caters to people who write for kids (doesn’t have to be an ALL kidlit conference) in your area.

Second, find out who the SCBWI regional adviser (RA) or the conference organizer is and send them an email way ahead of time of the event date. Faculty is usually assembled six to nine months in advance, so you can tell the person in charge of the conference that you’d like to see me on faculty. They just might get in touch with me with an invitation! Believe it or not, this is how I was invited to speak in Japan and Hong Kong. (Thanks, Adam!)


Critiques and Workshops

Whenever I go to a conference, I love doing critiques, one-on-one meetings with writers and giving workshops. Don’t be shy, I’d love to meet you. Sign up for a critique with me or come to one of my workshops. Here’s what people have said about my critiques and workshops in the past:


“Mary provided the best professional feedback I’ve honestly ever received on my manuscript. She has a superb editorial eye. Her comments were spot on and thorough without feeling like jabs through my sensitive writer’s skin. Thank you, Mary!” — Jackee

“My agent, Mary Kole, first worked with me as a freelance editor. She edited my debut YA novel several times prior to submission, and each time the work became impressively stronger. She also acted as a cheerleader throughout the revision process, encouraging me when I needed it most. Then, while marketing my manuscript, she demonstrated a commanding knowledge of current YA fiction. In only a short time, Mary has become such an important part of my writing life that I can’t imagine crafting a novel without her guidance.” — Patricia Netzley, author of 45+ nonfiction children’s books


Most of these notes have come unsolicited from attendees of various workshops and conferences. I got them from organizers and evaluation forms.

“Mary Kole was articulate and excellent. My favorite.” — Redwood Writers Conference Attendee

“Mary gave me the best writing advice I have ever received.” — Big Sur Writers Workshop Attendee

“I particularly enjoyed working with Mary Kole. Her incisive critiques, humor, copy edits, passion for literature, time management, positive feedback for each writers’ strengths… while keeping a strong focus on the realities of what makes a successful manuscript, created a productive, informative… kick your butt in a good way workshop. It was was inspiring.” — Big Sur Writers Workshop Attendee

“If you can go to a conference with Mary, you should do it! I attended Big Sur in December 2009, and Mary gave me some of the best writing advice I’ve ever gotten. Not only was she able to hone in on and articulate the specific problem, she told me how to FIX it.” — Talia Vance, Big Sur Writers Workshop Attendee

Nice Words

Other nice things people have said about me!

“Mary Kole is a passionate and knowledgeable advocate of literature for younger people.  She has much to offer students of this genre; her enthusiasm is infectious.” — Lewis Buzbee, author of STEINBECK’S GHOST (Feiwel and Friends), friend and mentor

“I worked with Mary when she interned in our editorial department. Mary is a gifted reader and critique-giver. Her approach to writers’ work is very perceptive, as well as feeling and compassionate. She’s extraordinarily perceptive about books and writing, and a very energetic advocate for her authors. I also see a bright future for her as an agent. She’s selling good projects in smart ways. I have no qualms about recommending her to an author for representation.” — Melissa Manlove, Editor, Chronicle Books Children’s Group


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    Regina Sokas on January 14, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    For those on a limited budget, are there any conferences or workshops that, in your opinion, stand out as being the best for the investment? Thanks!

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    Darlene Beck jacobson on January 18, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    I am excited to find a real live member of the publishing industry willing to provide a critique and feedback for writers trying to break in. Do you have any plans to do a workshop for the NJSCBWI? We’d love to have you.

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    Mary on January 18, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Darlene — I’m going to be on the east coast a lot more after this summer, so do send an email my way if you know the NJSCBWI fall/winter needs.

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    Mary on January 18, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Regina — I’d start out with your nearest regional SCBWI chapter. The SCBWI puts on great local events.

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    Cassandra on January 20, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    I would love to attend a writing conference or something similar.

    One problem is that I’m not technically an adult…and so I’d stick out like a black rock in a beach with white sand. Plus, I’d probably be the only one there that isn’t an adult.

    It’s so disappointing how few resources out there for young writers.

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    Mary on January 20, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Cassandra — Be careful you’re not limiting yourself with what you might’ve heard. I’ve seen plenty of young writers and teens at conferences. Since you haven’t been, you might not know that they’re not as off-limits as you think! spacer Reach out to organizers via email (usually posted on a conference’s website) and see what kind of opportunities are available. Depending on the conference, most will welcome you with open arms.

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    Sumner Wilson on January 20, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Looking forward to meeting you on May, 15th, at Newport.

    Sumner Wilson

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    Linda on February 16, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    I like your site–it’s very friendly! I’m going to be attending the Big Sur Conference this year, and it will be the first conference I’ve attended. I have two YA novels and a picture book in the polishing/revising stage, so it’s time, but I’m excited and nervous. Any suggestions for making the most of my time there?

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    Mary on February 16, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Linda — I’ll see you there! At Big Sur, we try to make the most supportive and welcoming environment possible. A big part of that is access to instructors and faculty. You’ll have plenty of intimate, small-group meetings with agents, editors and authors, so you’ll have plenty of time to ask questions, get guidance and get feedback on your work. So just go in with an open mind, ready to soak up some information, and the conference will take care of the rest.

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    Linda on February 16, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    Thanks, Mary! Now I’m more excited than nervous. )

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    Rina on February 25, 2010 at 1:49 am

    I cannot find any information on the Newport Beach May 15th conference. I would love to get some information about it. Is it just for agents or is it intended to connect writers and agents?

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    Mary on February 25, 2010 at 5:35 am

    Rina — It’s the So Cal Tri Something-or-Other (Area? Region?) SCBWI Agent’s Day. It is, of course, intended to be a connection between agents and writers, otherwise, I wouldn’t post it here. However, I may have heard that it is sold out. Try and Google “SCBWI Newport Beach” perhaps?

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    Rina on February 25, 2010 at 10:07 am

    Thanks Mary,
    Looked all over it isn’t listed anywhere on SCBWI or Orange county regional. Bummer, I’d want to attend.
    Do you have any idea if there will be something like this in the San Francisco/Bay area this year?

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    Melissa on April 1, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Wish you were going to the Writer’s League of Texas Conference at the end of June! It would be great to meet you!

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    Rebecca on May 17, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Ms. Kole, I was wondering as an aspiring author who is currently writing a novel, would you discriminate against someone who is seventeen years of age and submits a query letter to you for consideration?

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    Mary on May 17, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    Rebecca — I wouldn’t. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some younger writers before. Some would advise you to leave your age off the query, but that is your decision. Maybe state your age for half of your queries and leave if off for half? It wouldn’t bias me but I know it might bias some other agents in the agenting community to hear from someone under 18 — some agents flat-out refuse to review such queries. (I do not, personally.) Good luck!

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    Rebecca on May 18, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Thank you for responding and I greatly appreciate your honest answer.

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    Neveah on June 7, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    What happens if you submit the first couple of chapters to an agent, and that agent copies it?

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    JOEAnn on October 21, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Will you be at the SCBWI writers conference in Orlando FL in January?

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    Dale Ross on January 26, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Hi Mary,
    I made a 40 second Promotional video for the Utah conference in June. You’re in it! Will you post this?

    The best Children’s Book Writing Conference will be in Sandy, Utah June 13-17 2011. Five days a week. Four hours every morning are devoted to your chosen workshop in YA Novel, Picture Book, Middle Grade, Chapter Book, Fantasy and Illustration. Only 13 students allowed in each workshop with one instructor + assistant. Two sections have already filled. Reserve your spot now.

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    Valerie Larson-Howard on May 28, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Hello! I am all set for the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers workshop in Sandy, UT. But, this past Thursday, I broke my elbow running and am having surgery this week. I am still going to try and make the conference, but am not sure if I will be able to. Is there another similiar conference/workshop that is scheduled for the late Summer/early Fall that you would reccommend?

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    Maycleactiste on January 16, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    Ahhhh I can’t contain myself. I think she’s amazing.

    I think her name is Cassi Jamisford and i found her twitter

    What do you think of her?

    I found her dating profile accidentally searching on google


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