Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2018 Houston SCBWI Conference FAQ’s

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Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the conference being held? The conference will be at HOUSTON MARRIOT WESTCHASE at 2900 Briarpark Drive, Houston TX 77042.This is the same hotel where the conference was held last year. The hotel is located near Westheimer Rd, Beltway 8 West and I-10 in Houston, TX. Parking is free around the hotel.

Are there hotel rooms booked for this conference?

Rooms at the MARRIOT Westchase Houston have been reserved at a reduced rate. The conference rate is $89 for one king bed or two queen beds, including full breakfast for two. To book a room, use the Hotel Link on the Hotel page, or call 713-978-7400 and ask for “Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators 2018.” This rate is available until September 22, 2018.

This conference has two full days. Can I attend only one day?

Yes. The Saturday conference will be from 8:00 AM through book signings at 6:00 PM, followed by an optional dinner at the hotel. All speakers from out of town will present and participate on panels. Keynote addresses, portfolio and manuscript critiques, as well as craft sessions in Picture Book, Novel, Illustration, and Professional Development will be on Saturday. The Portfolio Showcase, First Pages First Look Panel, manuscript critiques, and sale of books from Blue Willow Bookstore will be on Saturday only.

Sunday conference will be your choice of a morning and an afternoon intensive session in Picture Books, Novels, or Illustration. The morning session will be from 9 AM until noon and the afternoon session will be from 1PM until 3PM. There will be no critiques held on Sunday. Select your preference for sessions when you register.

Will lunch be served?

Yes. Both days will have lunch as a part of the registration fee. Saturday afternoon will feature our famous cookie break. Coffee, tea, and water will be available both days. No breakfast will be served.

What are the fees to attend the Houston SCBWI Conference this year?

This year we will have a full day conference on Saturday September 29, plus morning and afternoon intensives on Sunday September 30. You can attend either day or come for both days and save on fees. Even more savings come from Early Bird Registration that ends at midnight on Sunday, August 5, 2018. You can become a member at before you register.

You can pay as you register using a PayPal account, a personal credit card processed through the PayPal website, or a personal check mailed to Vicki Sansum, 10038 Ella Lee Lane, Houston TX 77042. If you send a check, it must arrive before the conference or critique deadline if that is a part of your registration. All of these options are on the Payment page of registration.

Parking is free. Lunch is included both days. Coffee, tea and water will be available all day.

Fees are:

Early Bird Registration Fees (By midnight, August 5, 2018)

Members Non-Members** Students*
Saturday Only $165 $215 $175
Sunday Only $115 $165 $125
Full Conference $225 $290 $235


Regular Registration Fees (August 6, 2018 through the day of the conference)

Members Non-Members** Students*
Saturday Only $180 $190 $230
Sunday Only $130 $140 $180
Full Conference $248 $264 $312

*Students need to present a current school ID

**You can become a member using before registering.

We hope you can attend and participate in a critique session as well.

How do manuscript critiques work?

You must register for the Saturday conference before you can sign up for a face-to-face critique. You may sign up for an e-critique if you are attending Sunday only. Before you start the registration process, look at the list of people who are offering critiques and the genres they accept. PLEASE match the critique of your manuscript(s) with the person who will review it. It is best to sign up for your critiques as you register as the spots fill rapidly. You may have one manuscript reviewed by several people and you may have different manuscripts reviewed by different people. BUT, one person may only review one manuscript for you.

You may sign up for ONE manuscript with a speaker agent or editor, as many local author critiques that match your genre, as many e-critiques as match your manuscript, and ONE portfolio critique with the art director or author/illustrator who also accepts picture book dummies. All of the illustration-related works are to be brought the day of the conference, not sent ahead of time.

For sending manuscripts, go to the conference link Manuscript Critiques for further information.

The send date for all manuscripts is midnight, August 25, 2018, for all emailed submissions and postmarked August 25, 2018, for the two local authors who want printed submissions.


The Joan Lowery Nixon Memorial Award was established to honor the writer who so generously shared her time and talents with our members. For many years, Joan volunteered to mentor a writer whose manuscript submitted for the SCBWI-Houston conference was deemed nearest publication. While this is slated to assist someone who is not published, an author who is writing in a new genre and wants to compete is allowed to submit for the award.

Following Joan’s death in 2003, Kathi Appelt, graciously took over the role of mentor until 2013. This year Houston’s own Joy Preble will be our mentor to a middle grade or young adult author. If a picture book is chosen, Kelly Bennett will mentor the author. At the conference for 2018, each person doing one-on-one critiques on Saturday will choose one manuscript that they think is closest to publication. This wonderful opportunity is geared to writers who are not currently published in the genre of their critiqued manuscript.

To learn more about Joy Preble, visit   To learn more about Kelly Bennett, go to
If you want your submitted manuscript to be considered for the Joan Lowery Nixon Award, read about the award. This is not for the e-critique manuscripts.
Request consideration in the body of your email for email manuscripts and write on a separate piece of paper requesting consideration for mailed PAPER manuscripts. If you do not make the request, you will not be considered. Your submission should be in standard manuscript format. Formatting guidelines for members can be found at under the Resource Library tab where you’ll find the From Keyboard to Printed Page article. Non-members can use or


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). When you sign up, you are automatically entered into the judging for the showcase winners.

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 postcard 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 gift baskets. Postcards must be a maximum of 6 inches by 8 inches and must be received by Illustrator Coordinator Diandra Mae by September 2, 2018. Illustrators will receive information about how to submit their postcards after they register.

What do I need to know about the Silent Auction?

Our annual conference includes a Silent Auction with items that you can bid on. Some of the items are signed books and art work. Some of the items are vacations or consultations. Please bring cash or your checkbook. To donate an item for the Silent Auction, please email auction coordinator Carmela Simmons.

If you wish to submit an original piece of art for the auction, mark that box on the registration page. Diandra Mae will contact you.

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 must be made by cash or check or credit card.


Cancellations for the conference on or after August 1, 2018 will be subject to a $25 cancellation fee. Cancellations for the conference after September 1, 2018 will not be refunded. Contact Vicki Sansum. If you cannot send your manuscript, CONTACT immediately. If another person can fill the critique, a refund will be given. There can be no refunds after August 25.

How can I get my book in the conference bookstore?

Blue Willow Bookstore will again set up our conference bookstore on September 29, 2018. 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 September 10, 2018 are eligible to have one of their books for sale in the conference bookstore. For further information and forms to submit to Blue Willow Bookstore, visit the Logistics & Social link.

An Author Table will also be available where authors may sell their own books, either traditionally published or self-published, on Saturday, September 29. Contact Sydney Dunlap for additional regulations.

I’m registered, but I can’t remember my critique. How can I access my registration?

After you have logged in to the 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 Houston SCBWI 2018 Annual Conference to view your registration details.

After I’m registered, how can I add to or change my registration?

If you’d like to add a critique, the Saturday dinner or other addition to your registration, please email Bruce Foster, the Houston Registrar. You will have to send a check to Vicki Sansum to cover additional items.

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

If you have any other questions, please email Vicki Sansum at

Click here to register for the conference.