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,