Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2017 Conference FAQ

Got questions about the Austin SCBWI 2017 Writers & Illustrators Working Conference? We try to answer them below. Click here to register for the conference. And click here for the schedule.

Where is the conference being held?

The Austin SCBWI 2017 Writers & Illustrators Working Conference is being held at the Crowne Plaza Austin, 6121 North IH-35, Austin, TX 78752. Complimentary parking is available around the hotel.

I'm coming from out of town. Where should I stay?

Austin SCBWI has a block of discounted rooms at the Crowne Plaza Austin priced at $139 a night. Go here to book a room. At the hotel's reservation page, choose your dates then click BOOK and you'll see the discounted rate applied. The room rate is available for stay during the conference as well as three days prior and three days after the conference, and the rate includes complimentary wi-fi and parking, but it does not include breakfast. The last day to book rooms at the discount price is April 28, 2017.

How much does the conference cost?

The Austin SCBWI 2017 Writers & Illustrators Working Conference has tiered pricing so that even those on a budget can afford a part of it. The full conference runs Saturday, May 20, 2017, from 7:30am to 6:45pm and Sunday, May 21, 2017, from 8:30am to 3pm. You can choose to come either day or come both days for a 20% discount. Get a bigger discount with early-bird pricing if you register before April 1, 2017. The price for each day includes lunch.

Prices are:

Early Bird (By April 1, 2017)

  Members Students Non-Members*
Saturday Only $150 $160 $200
Sunday Only $100 $110 $150
Full Conference (20% discount) $205 $216 $270





From April 2, 2017 until the conference date

  Members Students Non-Members*
Saturday Only $180 $190 $230
Sunday Only $130 $140 $180
Full Conference (20% discount) $248 $264 $312





*The difference between the non-member ticket price and the member price is equivalent to roughly half a year's membership. If you would like to become a member before registering, you can do so at

Is lunch included?

Yes, lunch is included in the Saturday and Sunday prices. Coffee and water also will be provided, as well as an afternoon snack on Saturday. Breakfast is not provided.

What are my payment options?

You may pay via credit card with PayPal or you may choose Pay Offline and mail us a check. If you're paying with check, complete the registration form, then mail your check to: Samantha Clark, Austin SCBWI Conference Registration, P.O. Box 170312, Austin TX 78717. Please make sure your check is mailed in enough time for it to be at the post office box well in advance of the conference.

If you sign up for manuscript and/or dummy critiques, your payment must be received by the critique submission deadline of April 16, 2017.

What if I have to cancel?

We understand that situations change and things come up. If you have to cancel your reservation for the conference after you're registered, you may get a full refund up to April 10, 2017. After that, you may receive a 50% refund. No refunds will be issued for manuscript or dummy critiques after April 16, 2017. If you cancel a manuscript or dummy critique prior to April 16, 2017, you will get a refund ONLY if your spot is filled before the submission deadline of April 16, 2017. Portfolio reviews, pitches and legal consultations will be refunded in full ONLY if the spot is filled prior to May 19, 2017. No refunds will be issued for critiques, reviews, pitches or consultations that were missed during the conference, unless the faculty member performing them has to cancel.

What's the difference between the Saturday and Sunday sessions?

Saturday will have a full day of critiques, inspirational keynotes and craft-based breakout sessions. During the breakout periods, you may choose from four sessions, including one for illustrators, one for professional development and two for writing craft. There is no additional charge for breakout sessions. All critiques are held on Saturday.

Sunday offers agent/editor pitches and two craft-focused intensive sessions (three hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon) in three tracks: Novels, Picture Books and Illustrators. You must pick your sessions at registration. All pitches are held on Sunday.

Is there other social time?

The lunches and cookie break on Saturday are great networking opportunities. Also, Saturday will end with book signings and an open bar. For more, you can hang out with the conference faculty and attendees at a pre-paid dinner on Saturday at 7pm. The cost is $30. Please choose that option when you register.

What should I do if I have special dietary needs?

Austin SCBWI is not responsible for providing special meals, however our registration form allows you to let us know if you are a vegetarian or need gluten-free food. We provide the hotel with this information and will do what we can to accommodate you. If you have more stringent dietary needs, feel free to bring your own lunch and snacks. 

How do the critiques work?

You must be registered for Saturday to sign up for a critique. Critiques cost $45 for a 10-minute one-on-one manuscript or picture book dummy critiques or portfolio reviews. View the faculty bios and their critique styles here. We highly recommend that you research the critiquers before you register for a critique. While agents and editors sell out fast, don't underestimate the benefits of getting a critique by an author. Read this article by author Erin Heger about Why Author Critiques Can Be a Career-Maker.

For illustrator portfolio reviews, bring your portfolio on the day of the conference. For more information on general portfolio guidelines, visit the Portfolio Showcase page.

For manuscript and picture book dummy critiques, read the instructions on our Critiques Submission page. The deadline to submit your pages is April 16, 2017. If you have to cancel a critique, see the "What if I have to cancel?" section of this FAQ.

Please note: If you sign up for a critique or review, you will miss some of the breakout session or keynote going on at that time. Unfortunately, that is unavoidable due to a very busy schedule. Critique/review times may not be changed on the day. If you miss your critique/review time, we cannot guarantee that you will be able to get another 10 minutes, so please keep an eye on the time. Aim to be in the critique area at least 5 minutes before your scheduled critique time.

Manuscript critiques will be eligible for Austin SCBWI's Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Award, with the chance to win a year's mentorship with author Bethany Hegedus. If you would prefer not to be included in the award, please note that when you register.

What are the legal consultations with Jacqueline Lipton?

Author and law professor Jacqueline Lipton has offered to do 10-minute one-on-one consultations with attendees. This is an opportunity for you to ask legal questions about the publishing industry. This is NOT an opportunity to get your work critiqued; Jacqueline is doing manuscript critiques separately. This is also NOT a substitute for legal advice. Jacqueline will only be able to answer general questions about publishing, contracts, rights, etc.

You must be registered for Saturday to do a consultation with Jacqueline. If you miss your consultation time, we cannot guarantee that you will be able to get another 10 minutes, so please keep an eye on the time. Aim to be in the consultation area at least 5 minutes before your scheduled timeslot.

Consultations can be purchased until the day of the conference. If they're sold out, you can join the waitlist and we will email you if a spot opens up.

How does an agent/editor pitch/consultation work?

You must be registered for Sunday to sign up for an agent/editor pitch/consultation. (Please note: These are with agents and editors. Legal consultations with Jacqueline Lipton are separate and listed above.)

Agent/editor pitch sessions cost $20 and are 3-minute timeslots when you may either pitch your story to the agent or editor, or simply ask questions about the industry or their agency or publishing house. The session allows you guaranteed time with that person. A pitch is not a guarantee of acceptance of your manuscript, so make sure you are practiced and ready to go.

NOTE: Your pitch should be practiced and brief, one to three sentences that you can say in 60 seconds or less without rushing. It is a teaser, not a synopsis. Author Nathan Bransford talks about writing pitches on his blog, but you can find numerous other posts on the topic online. Also, do NOT bring your manuscript to the pitch. The pitch is verbal only. If the agent or editor requests to see your manuscript, they will tell you how to get it to them AFTER the conference.

Pitch times may not be changed on the day and cannot be rescheduled if you miss your slot. Aim to be in the pitch area 5 minutes before your scheduled timeslot.

Agent/editor pitch/consultations can be purchased until the day of the conference. If they're sold out, you can join the waitlist  and we will email you if a spot opens up.

I'm an illustrator. How can I have my portfolio in the Portfolio Showcase and be included in the judging?

To be included in the Portfolio Showcase, you must sign up for it when you register for the conference (must be attending Saturday). There is a $5 fee. When you sign up, you are automatically entered into the judging for the showcase winners. If you do NOT want to be included in the judging, please check that box in your registration.

The Grand Prize winner of the showcase will have the opportunity to design a header for the Austin SCBWI website. That illustration will be on display on for the following year and included in a gallery of past headers going forward. The illustrator will be promoted along with their artwork, including links to their website.

Maximum size for standard portfolio: up to 14" width (unopened) and height. For liability reasons, no electronic portfolios, such as iPads, will be allowed as part of the showcase. If you only bring an electronic portfolio, it will not be displayed and your reservation fee will not be refunded.

Are there other promotional opportunities for illustrators?

Yes! All illustrator attendees who are members of SCBWI may send us promotional postcards of their work to be included in the faculty gifts. Postcards must be a maximum of 6 inches by 8 inches and must be received by Illustrator Coordinator C.S. Jennings by May 5, 2017. Illustrators will receive information about how to submit their postcards after they register.

How can I be considered for the Emerging Voice Illustrator Mentorship?

Portfolio Showcase entrants can choose during registration to be considered for the year-long mentorship with this year's mentor, illustrator Jeff Crosby. Get more information here.

What do I need to know about the Silent Auction and Austin SCBWI store?

Austin SCBWI is completely volunteer run, and the fees we charge are used to pay for our events, including the costs of bringing in qualified speakers, food, printing and more. We try to keep costs low for attendees, and to that end, we have other opportunities that enable us to raise funds, while you get something fun as well.

Our annual conference includes a Silent Auction with items that you can bid on. Check out the list of items here. Please bring cash or your checkbook. To donate an item for the Silent Auction, please email auction coordinator Sandy Powers. Look at our Silent Auction page for more information.

Items that you win at the conference MUST be claimed and paid for at the conference. We will not mail any items to winning bidders after the conference. If you are not available to pay for your item, it will go to the next bidder.

Payments can be made by cash, check or credit card.

Austin SCBWI also has mugs, notebooks and t-shirts available with the gorgeous artwork designed by local illustrator Caitlin B. Alexander. Visit our shop at

I'm published. How can I get my book in the conference bookstore?

A big thank you to the Barnes & Noble in Round Rock, who will be servicing our conference bookstore on Saturday, May 20, 2017. The bookstore will include books by and recommended by our faculty, as well as some of our attendees' books.

Published SCBWI members who are registered for the conference by March 24, 2017, are eligible to have one of their books for sale in the conference bookstore on Saturday, May 20. Choose the "I am published" option when you register and you'll see a followup option to submit a book title for the bookstore. NOTE: You must be logged into our website to get this option. After you register, you will get an email with more details.

Registering for the conference bookstore is NOT a guarantee that your books will be sold by Barnes & Noble at our conference. The Round Rock Barnes & Noble retains the right to choose the books it will sell and will not sell any books on consignment. If you send in a title for consideration by Barnes & Noble and the bookstore will be unable to sell your book, you will be notified after April 16, 2017.

An Author Table will also be available where authors may sell their own books, either traditionally published or self-published, on Saturday, May 20. More details will be sent via email to attendees who choose the bookstore option during registration.

I'm registered. How can I access my registration?

After you have logged in to our website, you can access your registration details by clicking on the My Home button in the top right corner, then clicking Event History in the menu on the left side of the page. A list with all the SCBWI events that you have registered for in the past 2 years will appear. Choose the Austin SCBWI 2017 Writers & Illustrators Working Conference to view your registration details.

I'm registered. How can I add to or change my registration?

If you'd like to add a critique, pitch, the Saturday dinner or other addition to your registration, please email Austin SCBWI Regional Advisor Samantha Clark.

This does not answer all my questions. Who can I ask for more information?

If you have any other questions, please email Austin SCBWI Assistant Regional Advisor P.J. Hoover.

Important dates:

March 24, 2017 – Last day for published SCBWI members to register for the conference and submit their book titles for the conference bookstore

April 1, 2017 – Last day for discounted early-bird pricing

April 10, 2017 – Last day for full refund

April 16, 2017 – Last day to sign up for manuscript and picture book dummy critiques

April 16, 2017 – Payment deadline for manuscript and picture book dummy critiques

April 16, 2017 – Submission deadline for manuscript and picture book dummy critiques

April 28, 2017 – Last day to book hotel for discounted price, and last day to send in submissions for the First Impressions Panel

May 5, 2017 – Last day that we can receive promotional postcards by SCBWI member illustrators attending the conference

May 19, 2017 – Last day for online registration

May 20-21, 2017 – Conference days

Click here to register for the conference.

We look forward to seeing you in May!