Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Get to Know Our Writer – Scott Sussman

How long have you been a member of SCBWI? What’s the most impactful thing you have learned from being in SCBWI?

I’ve been an SCBWI member since 2009. The most impactful thing I’ve learned is, literally, everything, including query letter do’s and don’ts, submission formatting, and that two-thirds of networking is king.

What genres do you write?

I write picture books, poetry, and middle grade masterpieces. (For MG I also write short stories.)

What is your writing process like?

I empty my pockets, remove my shoes, sit on the beanbag in the corner of my living room and write. Every day. Minimum two hours. Average three.

How long have you been writing? How did you first get into writing for children?

In second grade, I used to fold in half five or six pieces of blank, white paper, staple the fold for a binding, draw a cover, count the pages, and then divide my story up. I’d add words, draw pictures, and sell the books for 25 cents a copy to my classmates. Considering my current age, that means I’ve been writing for about 3,187 years.

I started writing for children when I realized that anything’s possible in a child’s mind. Tables can walk and talk. French fries can refuse to be eaten. Your socks can complain that your feet stink. For me, that’s fun.

Did you go to school for writing or take classes?

In college, I majored in creative writing. I figured I was already writing so getting my degree would be easy.

Do you have a dedicated writing space?

My most productive writing time takes place in a bean bag in the corner of my living room where nobody can look over my shoulder. That’s what I worry about. Traitors.

What would be your dream book to write and get published?

My dream book to write and get published would be Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, but J.K. Rowling beat me to it. I’d love to have written Flowers for Algernon or A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but again = beat to it.

Are you working on any fun projects now?

Nope. Never. Writing should be rough, rigorous, and cause calluses. That’s why I’m writing about a duck that lands a job as a rodeo clown, runs for mayor, wins, and then outlaws owls.

Do you illustrate as well or have any plans to do so?

I illustrated my first three picture books: Silly the Seed, Weird the Beard, and Lerky the Handturkey.

Any tips for writers that are starting out?

Write every day. Write because you love to. Because you have to. And read in the genre you hope to make your mark in. Start with the classics, award winners, best sellers.

Have you won any writing awards?

My picture book Fred and the Monster (illustrated by Yves Margarita) won an Independent Publisher Award in 2015.

List 3 to 5 interesting things about yourself. 

I play blues harmonica. 

I’ve lived in four countries on four continents (U.S., Italy, Israel, and Chile). 

I climbed Stromboli barefoot with a bottle of wine in my backpack. 

I used to do stand-up comedy. 

I have a white belt in karate.

Where can people find you?

Though currently in cocoon, I’m trackable at:


TWITTER: @scottsussman

INSTAGRAM: scott.sussman


To see our Previous Get to Know Our Writers, click here.