Got questions about the Austin SCBWI 2023 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 2023 Writers & Illustrators Working Conference is being held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Austin, 6505 N I35, Austin, TX 78752. We are paying for parking for our attendees.
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 Lindsay Leslie, or Illustrator Coordinator Laura Fisk, and they will help.
What is your COVID policy?
You click here to read SCBWI’s Covid policy.
I’m coming from out of town. Where should I stay?
Austin SCBWI has a block of discounted rooms at the DoubleTree by Hilton Austin priced at $189 a night, not including tax and fees. Go here to book a room. You can also book via phone at 800.866.3126 and make sure you tell them you’re coming for the Austin SCBWI Conference. The room rate includes complimentary wi-fi and parking. The last day to book rooms at the discount price is April 7, 2023. After April 7, rooms will be available at this rate depending on availability.
How much does the conference cost?
The Austin SCBWI 2023 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, April 29, 2023, from 7:00am to 7:00pm and Sunday, April 30, 2023, from 8:00am to 2pm. You can choose to come either day, or come both days for a discount. Get a bigger discount with early-bird pricing if you register by March 18, 2023. The price for each day includes lunch.
Early Bird (By March 18, 2023); Zoom prices are the same no matter the date
|Discounted Full Conference||$245||$325||$100||$180|
From March 19, 2023 until the conference date; Zoom prices are the same no matter the date
|Discounted Full Conference||$295||$375||$100||$180|
*The difference between the non-member ticket price and the member price is equivalent to roughly half or more a year’s membership. If you would like to become a member before registering, you can do so at SCBWI.org.
These prices are higher that pre-pandemic. Why is that?
Yes, this is true. For the first time in 10 years we have had to raise our fees for the main conference tickets, although the critiques/portfolio reviews and pitches remain the same. The increase in the main conference ticket prices is for a number of reasons, including a necessary change in venue. We searched for the most cost-effective venue that could hold our conference, and the DoubleTree was the best option, but their costs are considerably higher than our previous venue. Still, we’ve only raised member ticket prices by around 20%. If you find that this is a hardship for you financially right now, please email Regional Advisor Samantha M Clark at email@example.com to see if there are any available scholarships. Any requests will remain completely private.
Is food included at the in-person conference?
Yes! Lunch is included in the Saturday and Sunday prices. There will be gluten-free and vegetarian options available at the lunches, but if you have very specific dietary needs, you may eat lunch elsewhere.
Breakfast is NOT provided, and we’re sad to say that we’ve had to let go of our traditional Saturday afternoon cookie break in order to keep costs low. If you’d like to have a snack in the afternoon, feel free to bring one with you.
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 7532, Round Rock TX 78683. 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 25, 2023.
What if my online payment didn’t go through?
Payment instructions are in your registration confirmation email. If you can’t find your email, you may mail a check via the instructions in the question above, or you may pay with credit card using PayPal’s Send Money option. Send the correct payment to the account at the email address firstname.lastname@example.org and put your name and “For Austin SCBWI 2023 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 2023 Writers & Illustrators Working Conference to view 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 2023 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.
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 March 15, 2023. After that, you may receive a 50% refund. No refunds will be issued for manuscript or dummy critiques after March 25, 2023. Portfolio reviews and pitches will be refunded in full ONLY if the spot is filled prior to April 25, 2023. No refunds will be issued for critiques, reviews or pitches that were missed during the conference.
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 are great networking opportunities. Also, Saturday will end with book signings with our faculty.
What should I do if I have special dietary needs?
Austin SCBWI wants you to be as healthy and comfortable as possible, however we can not be responsible for providing special meals. We do our best to accommodate dietary issues, however. Our registration form allows you to let us know if you are a vegetarian or need gluten-free food, and we provide the hotel with the number of attendees needing this food. 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 $50 for a 10-minute one-on-one manuscript or picture book dummy critique. To be fair to all our attendees, critiques are curated by a committee. The deadline to submit your pages is March 25, 2023. Please read our Conference Critique FAQ page for more details and to submit.
Please note: If you sign up for a critique, 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 times may not be changed on the day. If you miss your critique 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. Refunds will not be given if you miss your 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 award-winning author Varian Johnson. If you would prefer not to be included in the award, please note that when you register.
Read this article by author Erin Heger about Why Author Critiques Can Be a Career-Maker.
How do portfolio reviews work?
You must be registered for Saturday to sign up for a portfolio review.
Portfolio reviews are for illustrators. The cost $50 and involves a 10-minute one-on-one meeting with a faculty member giving you feedback on your images and portfolio. Bring your portfolio on the day of the conference to show your reviewer. For more information on general portfolio guidelines, visit the Portfolio Showcase page.
Please note: If you sign up for a portfolio 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. Review times may not be changed on the day. If you miss your 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. Refunds will not be given if you miss your review time.
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.)
Agent/editor pitch sessions cost $15 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.
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 five (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 $10 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 Austin.SCBWI.org 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 15″ 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.
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 Laura Fisk by April 13, 2023. 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?
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.
The Saturday of our annual conference includes a Silent Auction with items that you can bid on.
Items that you win at the conference MUST be claimed and paid for by end of day Saturday, April 29, 2023. 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.
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. Look at our Silent Auction page for more information.
I’m published. How can I get my book in the conference bookstore?
Our bookstore information will be coming soon.
Are weapons allowed at the conference?
It is the policy of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators to maintain an environment that is safe for all persons. To achieve this objective, it is the SCBWI’s policy to maintain a firearms and weapons free environment at all of our events and prohibit the possession of firearms and weapons regardless of any license or permit that an individual may have which would otherwise authorize the individual to carry firearms or weapons. Weapons are defined as anything that is intended to cause harm to another person.
Can I blog about and/or record parts of the conference?
By registering for this conference, you acknowledge that audio taping, video-taping and/or transmitting or aiding in any of the foregoing of any part of the conference (including, but not limited to, presentations, individual sessions, and networking events) is prohibited. Additionally, the material in all handouts and presentations is copyrighted and may not be reprinted, blogged, written, orally transmitted, and/or reproduced without written permission of the copyright holder only. If you are found in violation of the above, SCBWI reserves the right to remove you from the conference and bar you from attending future conferences.
While we love when bloggers share thoughts about their overall experience, offer a personal anecdote, and/or briefly talk about something that resonated with them, it is equally important that bloggers not give away that which is not theirs to give. The fair use policy issued by SCBWI above refers to speakers’ rights, authors’ rights, and illustrators’ rights, under any circumstances, and it pertains to the content of our speakers’ talks, workshops, and/or handouts. This falls into the category of protecting intellectual property. Again, personal impressions, a quote that is cited, and/or a general overview would be considerate. However, it would be a breach of copyright law to give away a detailed report of a presenter’s material. Thank you in advance for taking this policy into account. Your professionalism is greatly appreciated.
This does not answer all my questions. Who can I ask for more information?
If you have any other questions, please email Austin SCBWI Regional Advisor Samantha M Clark.
March 18, 2023 – Last day for discounted early-bird pricing
March 15, 2023 – Last day for full refund
March 25, 2023 – Last day to sign up for manuscript and picture book dummy critiques
March 25, 2023 – Payment deadline for manuscript and picture book dummy critiques
March 25, 2023 – Submission deadline for manuscript and picture book dummy critiques
April 7, 2023 – Last day to book hotel for discounted price
April 13, 2023 – Last day that we can receive promotional postcards by SCBWI member illustrators attending the conference
April 28, 2023 – Last day for online registration
April 29-30, 2023 – Conference days
Click here to register for the conference.
We look forward to seeing you in April!