Diamond Valley Writers' Guild

Home » Guild News and Info » Summary of June 26, 2021 Meeting with Dennis Conrad

Summary of June 26, 2021 Meeting with Dennis Conrad


Dennis Conrad
June 26, 2021


There’s a vibrant and growing market for children’s books. Dennis Conrad met with us recently to share tips, tricks, and strategies for writing and marketing your works. Read on for more information.


Presidential Pitch



Just a reminder from Jim Hitt, Guild president, that his position, as well as that of Treasurer, will be available to fill at regular elections this October. If you’re a member and you’re interested, be ready to throw your hat in the ring at our October meeting. The board meets six times a year for two hours to plan programs, handle routine business, and generally talk about writing. If you’d like to talk with someone about it, please feel welcome to contact Jim, JoLynne, Michelle, or Lynne at DVWritersGuild@gmail.com for more information.

Writer’s Corner

Stepping in for Sandy Schuster, Jim Hitt talked about the difference between different viewpoints and the pros and cons of each. It was helpful and informative. 

Straitjackets Magazine

Cheryl McGuire, Editor of Straitjackets Magazine, let us know that the submission deadline for your short story, poem, or article has been moved to July 15. For submission guidelines, click on the link.




Michelle Bassett, the Guild’s Vice President for Membership, told us there are now sixty paid members in the Guild. While membership isn’t a requirement for attending meetings, it helps us keep the lights on. For twenty dollars per calendar year, you’ll receive these benefits among others:

  • eligibility to submit your writing for consideration to Straitjackets Magazine.
  • Have your book(s) listed on our Member Books Page, with links to the purchase location.
  • Enjoy a 10% discount off the list price of new books at Cameron Books in Hemet, California.
  • Eligibility to vote for and hold board positions.
  • Know that you are supporting one of the few local writers’ groups in the area

Two Ways to Join:

  • Using PayPal (click on the Home tab at the top of this page, and find the Buy Now button on the left margin), or
  • Send your check to PO Box 1154, Hemet CA 92546.


This Month’s Speaker


dennis-conradOur speaker, Dennis Conrad, spoke about children’s books, covering the gamut from idea to publishing to marketing. Here are some of the areas he addressed:

  • The need to appeal, with your children’s book, to parents and other adults including those in the publishing industry. Dennis talked about various forms of word usage, including onomatopoeia, antithesis and illusion, personification, repetition, understatement, and irony.
  • A current issue in the children’s book genre is the debate over whether animals or people are better for depicting human issues. Using animals with a certain age group allows for distancing.
  • Dennis recommends joining the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
  • Dennis did a lot of research and had a very interesting visual presentation with excellent, informative graphics. One of the most helpful was a chart depicting age groups within the genre, sorted by number of pages and other elements considered optimal for each age group, with examples of popular titles. 
  • He reminded us to publish for the seasonal market (e.g. Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc.) Did a fine job of covering a wide example of popular and noteworthy children’s books, with examples.
  • Advised us that one central tenet of book writing structure is to make sure the parents don’t swoop in and solve problems for kids. (This tenet parallels the adult market, in that main characters are required to solve their own problems, rather than “send in the cavalry.”)
  • He also spoke with a good number of professionals in the genre, as well as parents and children.
  • As a bonus, Dennis spoke about poetry as it relates to children, reminding us that it’s good to write in such a way that kids will get involved. He talked about “found poetry,” and recognized the efforts of several poets in the Guild. He also provided this link for poetry ideas.
  • Dennis reminded us of the excellent book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. His point was if one writes for children, the issue should always be urgent and important. 

In summary, Dennis says:

  • Know the specifications of writing for children, 

  • Read the genre, 

  • Spend time with kids, 

  • Utilize children as your beta readers

  • Recommended the “Children’s Writer’s Word Book” by Alijandra Mogilner

To access Dennis Conrad’s notes and further resources regarding this meeting, click here.

The video recording of this meeting can be accessed here. Go to the 17-minute mark to skip housekeeping.


For more about the Guild, including frequent tips and interactions with fellow writers, check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/diamondvalleywritersguild/


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