Monday, January 23, 2023

SCBWI NY Conference Excitement: Piranha Pit (applications due today!)

What a wild couple of years it's been, SCBWI-ers! A huge round of applause for the incredible virtual events that have been held by regional and HQ SCBWI these last few years. 

While I'm so thankful we are starting to have opportunities to see our great community in person again at both local and international events, I'm equally as impressed that SCBWI is continuing to offer a virtual version of the 2023 Winter NY Conference for those of us with health, budget, time, location, and/or witness protection program anonymity constraints.

Check out Lee Wind's post for how the two opportunities overlap and differ. There's still time to register for either, click here for in-person or virtual!

If this is your first time at a conference, or if like me you've forgotten how to have conversations with your in-person face, check out Jolie Stekly's post for first-time attendees. 

Please also welcome Justin Campbell to Team Blog! And check out his great post on the wonderful, community building socials that in-person conferences like #scbwiNY23 provide.

A new Winter Conference element I think registered, published attendees should be really excited about: The Piranha Pit! Like Shark Tank but for book marketing plan moolah!

But you've go to get your hustles on! Deadline to apply is 5pm PST today, Today, TODAY! (The bulk of the work will happen at the conference if you are chosen, so you can do eet!). Here are the details:

  • Submit your entry TODAY via email to It may be in written form or on video for a traditionally or independently/self-published book that is a new or backlist title published within the last four years (2018 – March 31, 2023).
  • Six contestants will be pre-selected by the SCBWI staff to present their plans live and have 8–10 minutes to pitch. Pitch should include telling us a little bit about yourself, the elevator pitch of your book, why you think your marketing plan will be effective, why you chose these tactics, and how you will measure success. Marketing plan pitches may use props, costumes, music, instruments, quadratic equations, theremins, small or large exotic animals*––whatever you think will help the piranhas understand your book and your plan.
  • The pit winner will receive $1,000.00 and will be featured on our website, on SCBWI social media, and in Insight, our monthly member newsletter.

Good luck to everyone who enters! Just attending the pit session will provide all sorts of marketing ideas even if you don't win the cash prize, so be sure it's on your itinerary if you're interested in learning more about promoting your books.

And as a reminder, if you aren't able to attend, please join us HERE on the blog. We’ll be sharing posts and summaries of as many of the #scbwiNY23 conference events as we can. 

*SCBWI would like me to mention I'm just trying to be funny and please do not bring any exotic animals of any size, especially piranhas, to the Piranha Pit. 

The Power of Community: Conference Socials and MORE! #scbwiNY23

Hi, I’m Justin and I am joining the SCBWI Team Blog this year, blogging my way through the SCBWI 2023 Winter Conference. A professional dancer and freelance illustrator, I joined SCBWI back in 2020. 

When the pandemic hit and the world stopped, I instead dove into the worlds on my bookshelves. Back at square one, with no creative outlet to perform and dance, I started to read more, draw more and create with more fire than I have in years. With no legroom (I live in New York) to “kick, ball, change”, I rekindled my love with my writing and artwork. 

SCBWI came into my orbit by the recommendation of a good friend, and I found my world open up to amazing new possibilities. I was blown away by the organization. I loved the digital conference and the abundance of resources it provided. There were amazing keynote speakers, awesome panels, and insightful discussions. As a new member, I was definitely intrigued but a bit overwhelmed. But what really stuck with me, and helped me stay grounded was the connections I was able to make along the way.

On one of the first nights, there was an online social that introduced me to so many brilliant people that I am still in touch with today. And being stuck in the house, it was such a gift to have such a colorful community almost materialize before me like magic. Community is vital to the artists’ spirit and to be surrounded by like-minded people who care and inspire you is truly invaluable. 

That is what the conference social events did for me. 

During the virtual conferences, SCBWI did a wonderful job at making sure we were able to connect, whether through Zoom or social media-hosted events. And now, with the opportunity to mix and mingle in person, I look forward to creating even deeper connections with new and old friends.  

On Saturday, February 11th from 7:30-9pm, there will be socials geared to many different communities—LGTBQIA2S+, Equity & Inclusion, GenNext, New Members & First-Time Attendee, Illustrators. Come join in on the fun! I’ll be there, doing a “kick, ball, change” of joy!

Or even come and check out some artwork at the Portfolio Showcase on Friday, February 10th from 8pm-9pm in the Grand Ballroom Foyer! 

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! Jump in, make some new friends and colleagues, network, and CONNECT! 

If you haven’t registered, and you’d like to join, register HERE! There will be the NY Conference on February 10th-12th and the virtual conference on February 25th

Stay connected with this AWESOME community, with #scbwiNY23 on Twitter @scbwi & Instagram @scbwi

P:S: Regional chapter events are another great way to stay connected! Monday nights on Discord, my regional chapter comes together and writes! 

Check out your regional chapter and see how you can continue to build up your community—YOUR ECOSYSTEM! 

Regional Chapter News

Regional Virtual Events:

Thursday, January 19, 2023


I'm so excited to be back in NYC--back to in-person conferencing with SCBWI!

But first, if we haven’t met, Hi! I’m Jolie Stekly. I’m part of SCBWI Team Blog and I’ve also hosted the first-time attendee orientations at the Los Angeles conferences, as well as the several summer and winter online conferences that have been happening since 2020. (Perhaps we’ve met there!)

For many, this might be your first conference. There are many ways to first. Perhaps it's your first time attending any SCBWI conference. Maybe it's your first time attending an SCBWI conference in NYC. Or, it could be your first in-person conference because you've been attending them online these past few years. 

If it’s a first of any sort, I hope you’ll join me, along with Christopher Cheng, on Saturday night, 2/11 at 7:30 for the First-time Attendee/ New Member Social. 

I love the structure of this year’s winter conference, and I think it’s really nice for those attending for the first time. Rather than floating from session to session, in what can feel like a sea of strangers, taking a deep dive with the same group of people through three sessions will make creating new connections easier. 

That said…

Let’s be honest…not even that is easy. I realize that for many of us that requires a whole lot of getting out of one's comfort zone. But you can do it, especially if you know you’re not alone in feeling that way. I promise, you’re not. 

If there’s something I would want you to know, it’s that. If you feel like you’re the only one here for the first time, know there are hundreds more. Here's proof!

That's a room FILLED with first-time attendees!

So! Some tips for the those new or not-so new: 

⭐️ Make connections ⭐️

Now that you know that you're not the only one, meeting others is the best part of being in-person. Your Creative Lab will be a great place to start. You'll very likely meet others also attending for the first time, or you'll meet someone who remembers what it was like for them. 

⭐️ Make a few achievable goals ⭐️

We can often put pressure on ourselves to achieve goals that are not in our control while attending (for example, finding an agent for your book). There are many ways to focus your attention that will have you feeling like it was a successful conference.  It might be: learning more about agents who might be a fit for your work; seeking out others looking for a critique group; finding a takeaway that can make your work stronger; of those goals might be to meet a few people. 


Finding your one thing is my solution to conference overwhelm. Conferences can be both inspiring and informative, but that can later turn into overwhelm. Seek out the one thing you know you were meant to hear/experience/learn. It doesn’t mean that you won’t have other takeaways, but identifying that one key element that you know was the reason you needed to be at this conference (maybe to hear that bit of inspiration, or note on craft, or meeting someone you wouldn’t have otherwise…there are so many possibilities.)

Still thinking about joining us? It's not too late!  There’s still time to register

If you wish you could, but it’s not possible this time, please join us HERE on the blog. We’ll be sharing posts about the many happenings. Also on social media platforms, follow #scbwiNY23

And a reminder that if being in NY isn't possible this time, there will be a virtual conference on February 25. Check it out here

Saturday, January 7, 2023

#scbwiNY23 - Two Amazing Options for the SCBWI Winter Conference this February 2023

 It's a new year, and the in-person SCBWI Winter Conference is back, February 10-12, 2023! 

logo for In-Person 2023 SCBWI Conference, showing children playing in park with cityscape behind them

There's a brand-new format, with really in-depth craft workshops for authors and illustrators (7.5 hours over two days!) so check out all twelve "Creative Lab" options here

And of course there are inspiring keynotes (Marla Frazee, Caldecott Honor winning author/illustrator and Aisha Saeed, New York Times bestselling author), an agent, editor, and art director panel (with Regina Brooks, Founder and President, Serendipity Literary Agency; Linda Camacho, Agent, Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency; Kate Egan, Executive Editor, Pixel + Ink Books; Arthur A. Levine, Founder and Publisher, Levine Querido, and Patricia Ocampo, Senior Editor, Kids Can Press.)

There's a live marketing plan pitch-off, socials, portfolio showcase, and much more!

We hope you'll join us in-person! Get all the details and register here.

There's also a one-day virtual online version of the conference on February 25, 2023, if traveling to New York isn't something you can do.

the virtual New York Winter 2023 SCBWI conference logo, showing children playing in a snowy park with a skyline of buildings behind them

Check out all the virtual conference offers, along with the Golden Kite Awards presentation here.

Get inspired, improve your skills, lean into the opportunities, and be with your community.
Stay safe,


Sunday, August 7, 2022

Thanks for joining us for #scbwiSummer22

On behalf of all of us on SCBWI Team Blog for the 2022 SCBWI Summer Conference, "Thank you!" for sharing the experience here on the official SCBWI Conference Blog! 

Our hope is this taste of the conference experience helps you on your creative journey, and that the business, inspiration, opportunity, craft, and community that SCBWI offers feels like it's yours -- because it is! SCBWI is here for you, and thank you for helping make this community so wonderful.

And remember, all the conference keynotes and breakout sessions are available as video recordings for those who registered through September 11, 2022 here.

The members of SCBWI Team Blog for the 2022 SCBWI Summer Conference, clockwise from top center: Debbie Ridpath Ohi, Jolie Stekly, Don Tate, Jasmine Paul, Jaime Temairik, and Lee Wind. Screen shot magic by Debbie Ridpath Ohi.

Keep up to date with all the conference bloggers who are also creators of children's, tween, and teen lit:

Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Don Tate

Jaime Temairik

Jasmine Paul

Jolie Stekly

Lee Wind

And stay tuned for information about the Winter 2023 conference which will be in person in New York City! Save the dates: February 11 and 12, 2023.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

From Page to Screen: Hollywood Options and Opportunities for Writers of Kidlit: David Bowles

Have you dreamed of your book on the big screen? David Bowles shares his experience and opportunities for writers of KidLit.

Ever wonder why book adaptations remove some of the scenes from the book? Movies and TV need scenes to keep moving forward. Therefore, not every scene makes it to the bring screen. 

If you desire your book, to become a movie, it must be a good book. Book sales can be indicative of making it to Hollywood. Producers act as investors for the film, so they are looking for a return on their investment. 


Authors and writers should learn the screenplay format. Final Draft is the most commonly used software throughout Hollywood. Practice the software to ensure, you can fulfill the requirements of Hollywood. You can also adapt your book into a screenplay.

 Are you sure the book would make a great movie? David offers some books should remain books.

They Call Her Fregona

David Bowles is the award-winning author and translator of more than two dozen books for children and teens, among them They Call Me G├╝eroMy Two Border Towns, and The Sea-Ringed World. His work has been published in multiple anthologies, plus venues such as the New York Times, School Library Journal, Translation Review, and the Journal of Children’s Literature. In 2019, David co-founded the activist movement Dignidad Literaria to fight for the literary and cultural dignity of Latinx people in US publishing and education. He presently serves as the vice president of the Texas Institute of Letters.

Missed this workshop? Check out the video archives here.

Enjoyed this recap? RT the post on Twitter so others can check it out. 

Illustrated Notes From #scbwiSummer22 (Part 2)

Wow, so many wonderful illustrated notes being posted! If you missed it, check out Part 1 of the SCBWI Summer Conference Illustrated Notes post series.  I've also been posting some in specific session round-ups (do browse the other posts in the SCBWI Conference Blog!) but here is a selection of a few more in Part 2. 

Did I miss yours or did you see a post with illustration session notes you loved? Please post about them in the comments!

From Raissa Figueroa's session:

From the Debut Author Panel with Colleen Paeff, Dustin Thao, Winsome Bingham, Pamela Harris, moderated by Martha Brockenborough:

From Vashti Harrison's session about Picture Book Illustrator's Digital Toolkit:

From TeMika Groom's live-drawing session (see the blog post for more art created by attendees!):

Saturday, August 6, 2022

The LGBTQIA2+ Social, hosted by Lee Wind

For a little over an hour, a group of 30 or so children's literature creators gathered in a safe space on zoom to talk about their book projects, and meet others who identify as Queer or Allies and who want to include Queer characters and themes in their work.

After introductions all around, there was a Q and A where we discussed agents, critique groups, writing outside your own experience, and more. We ended with Queer Kid Lit book recommendations from the group, that are represented in the graphics below!

Book recommendations 1 of 2 shown: I am Not Okay with This, Bye Bye, Binary, My Seventh Grade Life in Tights, This Poison Heart, Be Dazzled, Alan Cole is Not a Coward, The Gender Wheel, Gender Queer, Loveless, Heartstopper.

Book recommendations 2 of 2 shown: Melissa, Zenobia July, The Marrow Thieves, Too Bright to See, Last Night at the Telegraph Club, I Kissed Shara Wheeler, Alice Austen Lived Here, Adventures with My Daddies, Maiden and Princess, Bunny Bear.

Translators' Zoom Social, hosted by Avery Fischer Udagawa #scbwiSummer22

Did you know that the SCBWI has a member category for Translators? Children deserve to explore their whole planet through books, and translators bring them books written in many languages, in many places. Like writers and illustrators, translators work as independent, creative contractors who benefit from networking, professional development, and a supportive community. 

We had about thirty attendees; the shot above includes those who were okay with turning on their video for the group photo. 

Thanks to the translators for welcoming me to their Translators' Zoom Social tonight even though I'm not a translator. After Avery talked about useful translator resources and translation news, attendees introduced themselves. So many different languages and translation projects going on! Everyone was super-friendly and welcoming.

Sadly, Nanette McGuinness was unable to join us as speaker, but everyone sent her best wishes:

I asked host Avery Fischer Udagawa for resources where people could find out more about translation, and here are just a few:

Translation in SCBWI - "A great place for translators to check out resources and ways to connect."

SCBWI Podcast: The Art Of Translation with Laura Watkinson - "The first episode of the SCBWI Podcast featuring a translator has aired, featuring Laura Watkinson."

"Translators have been among this year’s co-bloggers with Lee Wind at SCBWI The Blog, including myself back in March and Lawrence Schimel in June (here are posts with the label "Translation" on the blog). Regional blogs have also been offering meaty translation content."

Some examples:

A Conversation With Translator Takami Nieda - SCBWI Japan Translation Group

Translation: Claire Storey -Words & Pictures, The SCBWI British Isles Online Magazine

"In industry news, a reminder that the ALSC will now require naming the translator on the cover page, and ideally on the cover, of books considered for the Batchelder Award!"

Batchelder Award Criteria Change: Name The Translator

Revisions to Batchelder Award Aim To Raise Recognition Of Book Translators

"Finally, September, World Kid Lit Month, is a time to celebrate translations for children/teens and is fast approaching! Nanette McGuinness will co-blog with Lee Wind at SCBWI: The Blog during #WorldKidLitMonth."

Avery Fischer Udagawa grew up in Kansas and studied English and Asian Studies at St. Olaf College in Minnesota. She holds an MA in Advanced Japanese Studies from The University of Sheffield. She has studied at Nanzan University, Nagoya, on a Fulbright Fellowship, and at the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies, Yokohama. She writes, translates, and works in international education near Bangkok, where she lives with her bicultural family. She serves as SCBWI and SCBWI Japan Translator Coordinator. Find her on Twitter: @AveryUdagawa.

Wrap Up and Awards!! Congrats—whoo!!!!


Congrats to all winners!!!
(in no particular order)

BIPOC Scholarship Winners: Jasmin Benward, Jennifer Moudahi, Torian Colon, Anita Debro, SB Doro, Jasmine Fang, Duachaka Her, Ellen Huxtable, Anna Lapera, and Sola Oulwande.

General Conference Scholarship: Marianne Blackstone Tabner, Susan Burdorf, Emily Holewczynski, Jennifer Marion, Sydelle Pearl.

Student Illustrator Winners: Rebecca (Sunnu) Choi, Riley's Desk

A. Orr Fantasy Award: Christina Gessler. The A. Orr Grant is a new award for middle grade fantasy and science fiction authors. Sponsor Michele Orr, through her foundation Voice Garden, has been a member of SCBWI for several years and when her sister Alice Orr Sprague passed last year from a short struggle with cancer, Michele wanted to honor her memory.

Emerging Voices Winners: Paul Ruffins, Jhizet Panosian.

Romy Natalia Goldberg: Website ~ Instagram ~ Twitter

Nyrryl Yrrah Entia Cadiz: Website ~ Instagram

Portfolio Showcase Award, Unagented Honor: 

Natalia Zalogina: Website ~ Instagram ~ Twitter

Portfolio Showcase Award, Agented Honor (tie) 

 Sally Walker: Website ~ Instagram ~ Twitter

Lisa Fields: Website ~ Instagram ~ Twitter

Unagented Grand Prize Winner:

Nyrryl Yrrah Entia Cadiz: Website ~ Instagram

Agented Grand Prize Winner:

Rob Sayegh: Website ~ Instagram ~ Twitter

Congrats to all the winners! You can browse the winning portfolios at the SCBWI Portfolio Showcase; winners are now listed at the top of the page.