Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2020 Conference FAQ

Austin SCBWI Writers & Illustrators Working Conference


Got questions about the Austin SCBWI 2020 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?

ONLINE! Attendees will receive links in the week prior to the conference.

Is there an anti-harassment policy for the conference?

Yes! SCBWI has an anti-harassment policy that ALL attendees, volunteers, and faculty must agree to before they can attend. The anti-harassment policy is given in the registration form, and you can read it here. Additionally, if you have any issues during the conference, please see Regional Advisor Samantha M Clark, Assistant Regional Advisor Gayleen Rabakukk, or Illustrator Coordinator C.S. Jennings, and they will help.

I booked a room. How can I cancel it?

Contact the Holiday Inn Austin Midtown to cancel your hotel room booking as soon as possible. Let them know you are cancelling due to COVID-19 and this conference’s subsequent cancellation. If you have any problems with hotel reservations, please contact Angie Mitschke at the Holiday Inn Austin Midtown, 512-206-3031.

How much does the conference cost?

The Austin SCBWI 2020 Writers & Illustrators Working Conference has tiered pricing so that even those on a budget can afford a part of it.

Prices are:

Members Non-Members*
Keynotes and Breakouts Only $100 $150
Intensives Only $60 $110
Full Conference $150 $200





*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

Students take note! If you are a Student SCBWI member, you can login to the website and get a discount that’s lower than the Member rate. For more information about Student member, go to

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 midnight March 30, 2020.

What if my online payment didn’t go through?

You may pay with credit card using PayPal’s Send Money option. Send the correct payment to the account at the email address and put your name and “For Austin SCBWI 2020 conference” in the message.

If you’re not sure of your payment amount, log in to our website, click on the My Home button in the top right corner, then click 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 2020 Writers & Illustrators Working Conference to view your registration details. Depending on how you signed up, you may see an option to pay via Paypal in your registration details.

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 2020 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 M Clark.

What if I have to cancel?

During this difficult time, we are offering full cancellations up to the week of our conference for the conference ticket.

However, no refunds will be issued for manuscript or dummy critiques after March 30, 2020. If you are sick and cannot make the online conference after you have submitted your critique materials, we will send you written notes for your critiquer(s).

What are the intensives?

We offer 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. These are craft-oriented and allow you to dig deeper within your work.

Is there other social time?

We are working on allowing online social time.

How do the critiques work?

Please read our Conference Critique FAQ page for more details.

How do portfolio reviews work?

Portfolio reviews are for illustrator portfolios, i.e. the artwork of the illustrator. No text manuscripts will be critiqued during a portfolio review.

Cost is $45 for a 10-minute one-on-one with a critiquing faculty member. You can purchase your portfolio review when you register. View the faculty bios and their critique styles here. We highly recommend that you research the critiquers BEFORE you register for a review.

How does an agent/editor pitch/consultation work?

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. It’s a chance to make an impression, get comfortable meeting with agents or editors, and learn. 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 send it to them AFTER the conference.

Your pitch time will be emailed to you the week prior to the conference. Pitch times may not be changed on the day and cannot be rescheduled if you miss your slot.

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 contest. 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, enewsletter and Facebook Community Water Cooler. 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.

PLEASE NOTE: We are working on how to run the Portfolio Showcase online for our conference.

For full information about the Portfolio Showcase, go to this informational web page.

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 April 1, 2020. 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 are automatically entered for consideration for the Emerging Voice Illustrator Mentorship.

If you do NOT want to be considered, choose that option during registration.

What do I need to know about the Silent Auction?

PLEASE NOTE: We are working on how to run the silent auction online.

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.

For more information about our Silent Auction and what will be available to buy, view the dedicated web page.

How can I donate to the Silent Auction?

First, THANK YOU! Donations help us have a robust Silent Auction for bidders and is a wonderful way to support your Austin SCBWI chapter. To donate an item for the Silent Auction, please fill out the form on our Silent Auction page. Look at our Silent Auction page for more information.

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

PLEASE NOTE: We are working on how to run the bookstore online.

The Barnes & Noble Round Rock location is hosting the bookstore at our conference. Books by faculty members as well as published member attendees will be available for sale. To make sure your book is in the conference bookstore, all you need to do is check the “I am published” option on the registration form by April 15, 2020. Your information will be forwarded to our contact at the bookstore. Please do NOT contact the bookstore separately about the conference. If you have any questions, you can email Regional Advisor Samantha M Clark at

If Barnes & Noble Round Rock cannot get your book through their usual distribution channels, they will let you know. You may bring copies of your book to the conference and the Barnes & Noble Round Rock staff will sell them on consignment. They will have the paperwork there.

The conference bookstore is only available on Saturday, May 2. A book signing is scheduled at the end of the day and there will be spots for attendees at the signing tables on a rotating basis. Please bring your own tent card or a copy of your book to stand up so other attendees can find you.

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 Gayleen Rabakukk.


March 15, 2020 – Last day for discounted early-bird pricing

March 30, 2020 – Last day to sign up for manuscript and picture book dummy critiques

March 30, 2020 – Payment deadline for manuscript and picture book dummy critiques (Please note: Check payments must have been received by us by this date. Please mail in time.)

March 30, 2020 – Submission deadline for manuscript and picture book dummy critiques

April 2, 2020 – Submission deadline for artwork for the “Elements of Nonfiction Picture Books” intensive with Lerner Books Art Director Danielle Carnito

April 2, 2020 – Last day that we can receive promotional postcards by SCBWI member illustrators attending the conference

April 15, 2020 – Last day for published members to register and have their books considered for sale in the conference bookstore.

April 30, 2020 – Last day for full refund

May 1, 2020 – Last day for online registration

May 2-3, 2020 – Conference days

Click here to register for the conference.

We look forward to seeing you in May!