Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Faculty Spotlight: Ashley Hearn

Welcome to our series of blog posts spotlighting faculty at our 2023 Spring Mingle Conference.

Next up, Ashley Hearn. She will be leading breakout sessions and also offering paid critiques.

Ashley Hearn is an acquisitions editor at Peachtree Publishing. Her authors have earned starred reviews in Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, School Library Journal, Shelf Awareness, and Book Page, and have received numerous commercial and literary recognitions including a William Morris Award nomination and inclusion on TIME’s list of “Best Fantasy Novels of All Time” for Woven in Moonlight. Former mentees and clients include #1 New York Times bestselling author Tomi Adeyemi (Children of Blood and Bone), New York Times bestselling author Adalyn Grace (All the Stars and Teeth), and Alexis Henderson (The Year of the Witching). When she steps away from her desk, she can be found wandering the North Georgia mountains, armchair-quarterbacking for the Green Bay Packers, or haunting a local coffee shop.

In an interview with SCBWI Wisconsin, Ashley offered the following advice to people trying to break into publishing:

Whether you’re trying to break in as an author, editor, agent, bookseller, marketing and sales professional (there are so many layers to publishing!), it’s important to read as many frontlist titles as you can. Frontlist titles are books that have gone on sale within the last twelve months vs. backlist titles which are older. Reading frontlist titles helps you stay up-to-date on what readers are currently buying, what editors are acquiring, and where publicity dollars are being thrown. Knowing this can then help you examine trends, find holes in what’s selling, and learn how to better pitch and market your own books—something you’ll have to do no matter what angle you’re approaching the industry from.”

At Spring Mingle, Ashley will be presenting two breakout sessions:

What’s Your Type?: Using the Enneagram to Unlock Your Character’s Personality. This workshop introduces writers to the Enneagram personality typing system which maps out nine different patterns of behavior based on how people interpret the world and manage their emotions. By delving deeper into their characters’ psychology writers can more effectively understand their characters’ core motivations and fears to develop more compelling characters.

Four Act Structure Plotting: How to Avoid the “Saggy Middle”. This workshop introduces writers to a narrative modeling method which emphasizes the midpoint turning point. By dividing the traditional Three-Act structure into four acts, writers can more effectively avoid a second-act slump and craft more consistently paced stories.

Registration for Spring Mingle is open until March 15th. We hope to see you there!

Fun fact: Before establishing herself as an editor, Ashley wrote lots and lots of fan fiction! Check out this old guest blog post from her days as a publishing intern about how writing fan fiction helped her as an author.