Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2021 Conference FAQ

Austin SCBWI Writers & Illustrators Working Conference 2021


Got questions about the Austin SCBWI 2021 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! In an effort to make sure all our faculty and attendees are safe during COVID-19, we’re keeping this conference online. Attendees will receive Zoom links in the week prior to the conference.

I’m not sure I’ll be able to make all of the sessions. Will they be recorded so I can watch them later?

Yes! All the conference sessions except one will be recorded and available for two weeks after the conference. However, we recommend attending live so you can get your questions answered. Look at our schedule here so you can plan ahead.

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 Rivkah LaFille, and they will help.

How much does the conference cost?

The Austin SCBWI 2021 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 $75 $120
Intensives Only $50 $95
Full Conference $100 $160




*The difference between the non-member ticket price and the member price is equivalent to roughly three-quarters of 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 when you complete the registration form.

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 2021 conference” in the message. Once it’s received, your payment will be entered manually into our registration system. Please allow 72 hours for your payment to be recorded by our volunteer leadership team.

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 2021 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 2021 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, 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 April 25, 2021, for the conference ticket.

However, no refunds will be issued for manuscript or dummy critiques after March 24, 2021. If you are sick and cannot make the online conference after you have submitted your critique materials, we will send you written notes from your critiquer(s).

What are the intensives?

We offer two craft-focused intensive sessions (one for three hours and another for two hours) 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. Intensives will be held on Sunday afternoon. View our schedule here.

Is there social time?

We will have a chat room available throughout the conference hours. You will be able to go into the chat room anytime you like. We especially recommend breaks and lunches.

How do the manuscript and dummy 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 may be critiqued during a portfolio review. Portfolio reviews are done during a one-on-one online meeting with the illustrator and faculty member. Portfolio reviews are not curated, so you can purchase your portfolio review when you register. We highly recommend that you research the faculty members BEFORE you register for a review. View the faculty bios here.

During a portfolio review, you will show your reviewer your portfolio illustrations by sharing your screen on Zoom. Have your portfolio pieces open on your computer before your review. More instructions will be sent to you by email before the conference.

Portfolio reviews cost $50 for a 10-minute one-on-one with your critiquing faculty member. Please note: The one-on-one-meeting critique time will be outside of conference days. Critique times cannot be changed. It you miss your critique time, it can not be rescheduled.

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. Please note: The one-on-one-meeting pitch time will be outside of conference time.

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

Will attendees be able to submit their work to the editors and agents on faculty?

Yes! We are gathering their submission guidelines and every attendee will have access to them.

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.

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

Are there other promotional opportunities for illustrators?

Yes! Though we cannot do postcards this year, a link to your website will be provided in the Portfolio Showcase online gallery Landing Page along with three images over your name linking to your personal gallery. All illustrator showcase attendees must send a link to their website along with three images to Illustrator Coordinator Rivkah LaFille by April 25, 2021.

Landing Page images should be three images selected from your personal gallery and resized to 200 pixels tall. Horizontal images may be wider, but no taller.

How do I upload my portfolio for the Portfolio Showcase?

Instructions will be emailed to all illustrator attendees one month before the Conference. If you do not receive instructions by April 1, 2021, please email Illustrator Coordinator Rivkah LaFille.

Is there a deadline for uploading images to the Portfolio Showcase?

The deadline for uploading your images to the Portfolio Showcase is April 28, 2021.

Will I be able to attach a Book Dummy for the Portfolio Showcase? And will that link be private?

Yes. And no. You may send us a LINK to a Book Dummy in PDF format, no larger than 25mb. Book Dummies will be hosted on Google Docs and linked through the Portfolio Showcase Landing Page where anybody can access them. Book dummies can be seen by anybody for the duration of the conference.

However, in order to address illustrator attendees concerns about the privacy of their book dummies, ALL BOOK DUMMIES will be removed after the conference while links to the portfolios will stay live. If you wish to have your portfolio taken down after the conference as well, please email Illustrator Coordinator Rivkah LaFille, and we will take it down.

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. 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 here. Look at our Silent Auction page for more information.

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

BookPeople will be conducting our conference bookstore with a dedicated page on their website. When you register, check the “I am published” option to have your name sent to BookPeople for consideration. BookPeople will decide which books to include in the bookstore. Please do not contact BookPeople about submitting your book for consideration. Only books submitted through us will be considered for the bookstore.

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 Lindsay Leslie.


March 24, 2021 – Last day to sign up for manuscript and picture book dummy critiques

March 24, 2021 – Payment deadline for manuscript and picture book dummy critiques

March 24, 2021 – Submission deadline for manuscript and picture book dummy critiques

April 15, 2021 – Last day for published members to register and have their books considered for sale in the conference bookstore

April 15, 2021 – Last day to send questions for the Your Publishing Questions Answered panel through the form sent to attendees on email

April 15, 2021 – Last day to send questions for LeUyen Pham’s keynote through the form sent to attendees on email

April 25, 2021 – Last day for full refund

April 25, 2021 – Last day that we can receive links to illustrator websites, portfolio gallery landing page images, and book dummies being used in the Portfolio Showcase

April 28, 2021 – Last day to upload images to your personal gallery for the Portfolio Showcase

April 30, 2021 – Last day for online registration

May 1-2, 2021 – Conference days

Click here to register for the conference.

We look forward to seeing you in May!