Frequently Asked Questions
Kindling Words is a retreat designed for children’s book professionals. We cultivate a warm, supportive, non-competitive environment, where everyone feels part of the group. Below are some answers to questions that have been asked by prior attendees.
Even if you have come to KW many times, it may be helpful to review this list. Kindling Words East 2021 will be virtual, so you’ll have to wait for a non-pandemic world for some of these wonderful things to happen.
[accordion-item title=”1. What is the format of Kindling Words East?”]
Our retreat is kicked off by a 5 pm cocktail hour on Thursday afternoon. We have all our meals together, from Thursday dinner through Sunday lunch. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings are scheduled talks, and afternoons are designated for SparkSpace. There are evening activities, and we have a large salon room for gathering as late as people would like.[/accordion-item]
[accordion-item title=”2. What is SparkSpace?”]
SparkSpace is a true Kindling Words tradition. We have a board available throughout the weekend, on which people post ideas for afternoon sessions. Some topics have been: a picture book critique session, discuss agents or contracts, brainstorm effective book promotion techniques… really, it can be any subject you like, as long as it isn’t self promotion. Post your idea and list a time and place to gather and voila: an impromptu break-out session is born.[/accordion-item]
[accordion-item title=”3. How do I know if I am eligible to attend Kindling Words?”]
Kindling Words is a retreat for professional writers, editors, and illustrators in the children’s book industry. As the publishing world changes, we’ve found that we need to be more specific about what we define as the “industry.”
If you are an author or illustrator you must have at least one book published or under contract with a publisher that meets all of these criteria (check list below) If you are an editor you must currently work for a publishing house that meets all of these criteria.
- the publisher pays authors/ illustrators an advance against royalties
- the publisher’s books are published in print format (not only on demand or digital)
- the publisher has editorial, marketing and distributing processes in place
- the publisher must have at least one prior list in print
- the publisher must publish multiple authors / illustrators each season
Authors and illustrators are eligible to attend if they have at least one book in print or under contract with a publisher that meets all five points. Editors are eligible if they are employed by such a publisher. [/accordion-item]
[accordion-item title=”4. How does the registration lottery work?”]
In 2021, we are not holding a lottery. The virtual retreat will be able to accommodate far more people. We are looking forward to having everyone able to come!
Each year people sign up for a lottery during a 12-hour window, usually early in September. If you want to get the reminder note, please sign up for the email list.
People on our email list will receive lottery sign-up instructions the day before the lottery opens. Once you have submitted the lottery sign-up form, your name will go into the lottery and you will be notified the following week as to whether your name has been selected, or if you are on the waiting list.
Those who get in are sent a registration form to complete. Everyone else is put on a wait list. People get off the waitlist as soon as a spot opens, and are then sent a registration form. We will let you know approximately how high you are on the waitlist so you know whether to keep the date free.
[accordion-item title=”5. How do I know whether to register as an editor, writer, or illustrator if I have done work in all categories?”]
Please choose the one category that corresponds with how you primarily make your living in our industry. That means, for example, if you are primarily a writer, but have illustrated one of your books, that you should register as a writer, and come to both sessions. If your day-job is as an editor, but you have also written a few books, register as an editor, and also come to the author sessions. [/accordion-item]
[accordion-item title=”6. I will be out of town or out of reach of Internet during the registration process. Can someone else send my name into the lottery?”]
Yes, you may ask someone to submit your name for you. They will need to know your eligibility information (how many books do you have out by a publisher that meets all five eligibility points; and the title, publisher and date of your most recent or best known book.) Please make sure they provide us with your email address for a reply, as well as what strand you are registering for.[/accordion-item]
[accordion-item title=”7. There are a lot of editors at Kindling Words. Can I take this opportunity to share my book idea with an editor I meet?”]
No, Kindling Words has a strict no-pitch policy. Editors are there to retreat, too. One of the great things about KW is the familial environment in which everyone, editors included, can relax and enjoy each other without being ‘on’.[/accordion-item]
[accordion-item title=”8. Will attending the retreat give me a ‘get out of jail free’ card to submit to editors after the event?”]
No., see answer to question #7. ;-)[/accordion-item]
[accordion-item title=”9. Do I talk while my photos are showing during the Thursday evening introductory Slide Show?”]
Nope. Nobody does. There’s lovely music. Each slide is shown for about ten seconds, and it’s a visual getting-to-know you. Some people add words to their photos and keep it short. But you don’t have to. Up to you! [/accordion-item]
[accordion-item title=”10. How do I get a ride, find someone to carpool with, or get a roommate?”]
About two weeks after registration closes, once things have settled down a bit with waitlist folks getting registered, we’ll send a survey out to gather info about people who need a roommate or who want to carpool. Then we’ll send those who respond the list and you find each other. We don’t have the capacity to match up roommates or carpool buddies, but we help facilitate you finding each other.[/accordion-item]
[accordion-item title=”11. Can I see a list of who is attending first, so I can decide if I should come?”]
At Kindling Words, everybody is cool. We work hard to develop a safe atmosphere where there are no cliques or fans. During the retreat, we share a bio book so you can get to know your cool colleagues. And we’ll share an email list of people who want to car-pool. But if you won’t come unless someone you admire is coming, you should give your spot to someone who better understands the nature of the retreat.[/accordion-item]
[accordion-item title=”12. If I have food allergies, what should I do?”]
Please contact the hotel to let them know your restrictions. Following up with that person by email would be appreciated.[/accordion-item]
[accordion-item title=”13. What are the compensations to participants if the faculty on hand differs from that which was advertised?”]
None. Rosters of speakers are published in good faith, and courtesies are extended to faculty who may at the last minute be unable to meet their obligations.
That said, the workshops are only 90 minutes out of each day. The real wonder of attending Kindling Words is the deep intimate time we have getting to know each other and joining in white-space discussions. The workshops are the wrapping on the package, but the gift is being there, with your colleagues, for the whole weekend.[/accordion-item]
[accordion-item title=”14. What is the library display and what should I bring?”]
We set up a library space at Kindling Words for everyone to share their newest (or favorite) work. Please feel free to bring a copy of your latest book to share. Editors should also bring a book they have recently worked on (and please remember to add a note including your name, so we know who edited it)!
You are welcome to take your book back home with you at the end of the weekend, but if you would rather leave it behind, it will be donated to a local library or literature organization.
Please do not bring promotional materials.[/accordion-item]
[accordion-item title=”15. My friend/spouse is on the waiting list. Can they be bumped up if we become roommates?”]
We’re sorry, but that is not possible as it would be unfair to the other people who have registered through the lottery.[/accordion-item]
[accordion-item title=”16. Do spouses get entered into the lottery together if both are eligible?”]
No, we’re sorry, but every person must register for the lottery separately so that we ensure a fair process for all registrants.[/accordion-item]
[accordion-item title=”17. Where am I on the waiting list?”]
Our registrar has so many details to keep track of throughout our process that we are unable to update people as to their status on the waiting list. In the initial email, we let you know if you have a strong chance of getting in. Then as time goes on, if you are within the next 3 or 4 slots that might open up, we will alert you.[/accordion-item]
[accordion-item title=”18. I need to drop out; can I have a refund?”]
For the virtual retreat in 2021:
If you have to drop out before 1/10/21, you can choose to donate your tuition to the scholarship fund, or you may receive a full refund. After January 10th, tuition is non-refundable, but becomes a contribution to the scholarship. If you have to cancel due to you or someone in your family contracting Covid-19, we will fully refund your payment.
If you drop out before the 11/1 deadline, you will be able to receive a tuition refund. If you drop out after that date, your tuition will be redirected to our scholarship fund and you will receive a receipt for a charitable donation. Before November 1st, any refund will incur a $25 processing fee.
For Kindling Words West, the tuition, room and board deposits are not refundable, but can be transferred to another person, and they can reimburse you.[/accordion-item]
[accordion-item title=”19. I have an emergency and have to drop out. Can I reserve a spot for next year?”]
We understand that last minute crises can arise. Unfortunately we are unable to reserve spots for future years when someone needs to cancel.[/accordion-item]
If you have a question that you have not seen on this FAQ list, please do email us at firstname.lastname@example.org