Frequently Asked Questions

Kindling Words is a retreat designed for published children’s book professionals. We cultivate a warm, supportive, non-competitive environment, where everyone feels part of the group. The village of Kindling Words is working hard to welcome all published creators to our intentionally diverse community of children’s book professionals. Below are some answers to questions that have been asked by prior attendees.

1. 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, or if you are currently an editor whose prior work history matches these criteria, you are also eligible (and please check all five boxes on the email signup form).

  1. The publisher pays authors/ illustrators an advance against royalties
  2. The publisher’s books are published in print format (not only on demand or digital)
  3. The publisher has editorial, marketing and distributing processes in place
  4. The publisher must have at least one prior list in print
  5. The publisher must publish multiple authors / illustrators each season
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.
3. How do I know whether to enter the lottery to 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.
4. 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’.
5. 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 #4. 😉
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.

9. 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 spark-space discussions. The workshops are the wrapping on the package, but the gift is being there, with your colleagues, for the whole weekend.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. 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.
14. I need to drop out; can I have a refund?

For Kindling Words East, if you drop out before the 12/1 deadline, you will be able to receive a full refund. Due to our commitments for the costs of running the event, we are not able to make refunds after that date. If you drop out after 12/1, your fees will be redirected to our scholarship fund and you will receive a receipt for a charitable donation.


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.

15. 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.


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Eligibility 1
If you are an author or illustrator you must have at least one book published or under contract that meets ALL of these criteria. If you are an editor you must currently work for a publishing house that meets ALL of these criteria, or if you are currently an editor whose prior work history matches these criteria, you are also eligible (and please check all five boxes below).
Eligibility 2
Eligibility 3
Eligibility 4
Eligibility 5
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