Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Writers’ Day 2019 – A Creative Life for Me

Date(s) - 10/12/2019
9:00 am - 4:30 pm

California Lutheran University, Preus-Brandt Forum
60 W. Olsen Road - Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Registration opens August 1, 2019

Saturday, October 12, 2019 9:00 am – 4:30 pm

Doors Open at 8:00 am

Featuring Speakers:

Amanda Ramirez Kari Sutherland
Amanda Ramirez

Assistant Editor at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

“Bad Writing Habits and How to Break Them”

Kari Sutherland

Literary Agent at Bradford Literary Agency

“You’re Done! Now the Work Can Begin: How to Self Edit and Get Your Project Ready for Querying”

Charlotte Wenger

Charlotte Wenger

Literary Agent at Prospect Agency

“Don’t Shy Away: Tackling Tough Topics in Picture Books”

Rachael Stein

Editor at Sterling Publishing

“One Piece of the Pie: How Picture Book Writers Fit into the Bigger Picture of Their Books”

Spotlighting Local Talent

Nikki Barthelmess Mary Hershey Karen Jameson Karol Silverstein
Nikki Barthelmess Mary Hershey Karen Jameson Karol Silverstein

Additional Critique-Only Faculty: 

Heather Cashman, associate agent with Storm Literary  (pb, mg, ya, fiction & nonfiction)

Terry Pierce, author & UCLA writing instructor  (pb fiction & nonfiction)

Click here for all speaker bios and critique preferences

Free Follow Up Webinar

Heather Cashman, associate agent with Storm Literary and former managing director of #PitchWars, #PitMad, and #PitchMadness, will present a 90 minute webinar Saturday, October 26 at 10:00am Pacific time  titled “Polishing your Pitch: Tweets, Queries & Live” which will help you understand how to pitch in various forms including Twitter pitch contests to showcase your manuscript in front of the publishing industry’s top agents and editors. This webinar is FREE to registered attendees of CenCal’s Writers’ Day. Heather is also offering paid written critiques as part of Writers’ Day, and accepting submissions following her webinar, but will NOT be attending Writers’ Day. You do not have to register separately for this webinar and you’ll be sent an email after Writers’ Day with the link to join the webinar. You may attend the webinar live or view the recording for up to two weeks following the webinar.  

*NEW* FREE Portfolio Mentorship 

Illustrators may provide a link to their online portfolio to be considered for a FREE portfolio mentorship with Carol Heyer! This opportunity is only available to illustrators who attend Writers’ Day. Send the link to your online portfolio no later than Wednesday Sept. 4th, 2019 to Contact Illustrator Coordinator, Laura-Susan Thomas at with questions. One mentee will be chosen and announced at end of Writers’ Day.


FREE Writing Contest

Enter up to two unpublished submissions (must be two different categories: picture book, middle grade or young adult) via email. Fill out the 2019 CONTEST SUBMISSION FORM  and email it along with your entry (2 attachments) to no later than end of day Wednesday, September 4th, 2019. In the subject line give your last name and category (PB, MG, or YA). If you’re entering two manuscripts send them separately, each with the contest form attached. Your name should only appear on the contest submission form-it must be removed from your manuscript including page headers/footers-or your entry will be disqualified. Please send as a PDF (preferred) or word document.

Contest Categories:

Picture book: 

Send whole, double-spaced manuscript (text only, no dummies or pictures) 12 point font.

Middle grade or young adult: 

Send up to 10 double-spaced pages in 12 point font with one single-spaced synopsis pasted as the 11th page.

Note: Regardless of whether your entry is fiction, non-fiction or poetry, please decide which age group it belongs in (PB, MG, or YA). Judges reserve the right NOT to give awards. You must be pre-registered and present to win. Contest manuscripts will NOT be returned. If you have questions about the contest please contact

FREE Illustrator Portfolio Showcase

Illustrators: You are invited to display a 16″ x 20″ vertical, self-standing “gallery” of your work. No handouts on the table. Brochures and “gallery” must be contained in the same display. Indicate your participation at the time of registration and bring the gallery with you to Writers’ Day. Contact Illustrator Coordinator Laura-Susan Thomas at with questions.

FREE Editors’ Panel and First Pages

Anonymous first pages will be randomly selected and read aloud to the audience, followed by comments from guest speakers. Bring FIVE (5) copies of the opening page of ONE (1) manuscript for our First Pages Panel (double-spaced, 12 point font, begin 1/3 down the page) paper-clipped together. Identify your genre (PB, MG, or YA) but DO NOT INCLUDE YOUR NAME. Drop off at the registration table.

PAID Manuscript and Dummy Critiques

Terry Pierce (PB fiction/nonfiction)

Charlotte Wenger

Charlotte Wenger (PB & PB Dummy fiction/nonfiction)

Amanda Ramirez

Amanda Ramirez (MG & YA fiction only)

Kari Sutherland

Kari Sutherland (MG & YA fiction/nonfiction)

Rachael Stein (PB, MG, YA fiction/nonfiction)

Heather Cashman (PB, MG, YA, fiction/nonfiction)

Please read very carefully. CenCal sells written manuscript critiques. These are not in-person meetings. You may pick up your written critique at the end of the day. Each critiquer has personal preferences about which categories they will read and slots are limited. Critiques MUST be purchased when you register. There will be no add-ons or changes accepted later. It is up to you to read carefully what type of manuscripts each person will accept. PB stands for picture books. MG stands for middle grade. YA stands for young adult. Only send in a dummy if you are both the author and illustrator. Only one reviewer is accepting dummies. Some reviewers will accept non-fiction while others will not. Written critiques are $45 and available for SCBWI members only. They will be distributed at the end of the day.

Send the full picture book manuscript or dummy, OR up to 10 pages plus the synopsis pasted at the end as the 11th page of a middle grade or young adult manuscript. This offer is available only to registered Writers’ Day participants who attend the event and is limited to one critique per person. You must pay for your critique at the time of registration-you can NOT add it on later. There are no refunds on critiques. Fill out the 2019 CRITIQUE SUBMISSION FORM and paperclip it to your manuscript. Critique entries must be postmarked by Wednesday, Sept. 4th, or they will be disqualified. Do not send via registered mail or any method that requires a signature. If you have any questions about critiques please contact Greg Trine at

Member Book Display

Members are invited to bring one recently published book for display as well as promotional materials such as postcards. SCBWI CenCal is not responsible for any lost items.


Lunch is included in the price of admission for those who register before October 1. Morning coffee & pastries also provided.


Click here for Cal Lutheran map. Look for Preus-Brandt Forum.


SCBWI events are not open to minors under 18 years of age. By registering you confirm you are at least 18 years of age. 

Refund Policy

Registrations cancelled before September 30th will receive a refund less $25 service charge. No refunds given for cancellations after September 30th. No refunds given or changes accepted on critiques at any time. No refunds given on the free webinar. 


Early bird registration price is $112 for SCBWI members. For general questions about Writers’ Day contact Regional Advisor Rebecca Langston-George at

To receive the SCBWI Member price and all options make sure you are logged into the SCBWI site prior to registering.

Are you a member of SCBWI?

Did you know that SCBWI members always receive a discount on events?

Whether Regional events or the International Conference, all members receive a discount.

Are you a member of SCBWI?  

If so, please log in before continuing with your event registration.

If not, please consider becoming a member.  Click here to learn about membership benefits.

Thank you,

Event Registration

General Information Required Fields*

Ticket Information

Early Bird Non-Members - $140.00

Early Bird SCBWI Member - $112.00

This price is only available for SCBWI members.

Event Extras

Free Writing Contest

    The SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy
    To register for an SCBWI event, you are required to acknowledge our Anti-Harassment Policy.
    Scroll to the bottom to read the policy.

    You will then be able to click the checkbox indicating that you have read our policy.


    The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is dedicated to providing a safe and harassment-free environment for all of its members and will take any and all necessary steps to address and prevent harassment at events associated with SCBWI. Harassment under this policy may include verbal comments, written comments, displayed images, or behaviors such as intimidation, stalking, body policing, unwelcome photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, unwelcome sexual attention or advances, and bullying or coercion.


    The SCBWI Member Anti-Harassment Policy applies to all situations of harassment or intimidation at any SCBWI Event. An “SCBWI Event” is any event, meeting or activity that is authorized by an SCBWI Regional Manager to be sponsored by, or affiliated with, SCBWI. SCBWI events may include, if properly authorized by an SCBWI Regional Manager, the Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles, the Annual Winter Conference in New York, regional conferences, meetings and meet-ups. This SCBWI Member Anti-Harassment Policy also applies to “SCBWI On-Line Interactions,” which include communications and content posted on, or directed towards, SCBWI’s Social Media accounts or sent through any of the communication tools available on SCBWI’s website, SCBWI’s Social Media accounts under this policy include the official SCBWI accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and LinkedIn.



    Code of Conduct

    All participants in SCBWI Events and SCBWI On-Line Interactions, including faculty, staff, and attendees, are required to comply with the following anti-harassment code of conduct. The SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy prohibits harassment, including but not limited to the following behaviors:

    • intimidation, stalking, or following.
    • Sustained disruption of talks or other events.
    • Inappropriate physical contact.
    • Unwelcome sexual attention.
    • Abusive verbal comments.
    • Quid pro quo– sexual harassment that occurs when one in an authority position requests sex or a sexual relationship in exchange for professional consideration or favors.
    • Harassment does not include respectful disagreement or reasonable and respectful critique made in good faith. SCBWI continues to welcome and appreciate presentation of appropriate controversial ideas, free speech, and creative artistic expression. SCBWI encourages members to hold one another accountable to the Code of Conduct as stated in this part of the Policy and to take the perspectives of others seriously when a disagreement arises.


    Reporting Procedures

    Any person who believes there has been a violation of the SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy can report the offense in one or all of the following ways:

    • Certain SCBWI Events, including the Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles and the Annual Winter Conference in New York, will designate one or more Safety Team Members who will be available during the conference to provide a safe space for members to report an incident. The Safety Team Member will report directly to the conference director or regional advisor in charge.
    • A complainant may submit a complaint under this policy to the Director of Community Marketing and Engagement, the Director of Illustration and Artist Programs and/or your Regional Manager.
    • SCBWI has a dedicated email address for reporting any potential incident of harassment under this policy. Anyone who chooses to report an incident can find the Anti-Harassment Report Form on the SCBWI website (About > Anti-Harassment) or use the following link: Reports should include the substance of the complaint, date, and whenever possible, a list of witnesses or a reference to the relevant URLs, if the offense occurred through an SCWBI On-Line Interaction.


    SCBWI will investigate all complaints subject to the SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy. If the policy applies, SCBWI will investigate the matter and take whatever action is necessary and appropriate to prevent a recurrence and protect the environment at SCWBI Events. If a complaint is made anonymously, please note that SCBWI will not be able to follow up on an anonymous report with the complainant directly, as SCBWI will not have contact information for the anonymous complainant. Moreover, anonymous complaints may hinder SCBWI’s ability to investigate the complaint.  SCBWI will take steps to protect the confidentiality of the complaint, to the extent possible.  However, complete confidentiality may not be possible in all circumstances.  SCBWI will make every attempt to respond to a named complainant in a timely fashion.

    If appropriate, SCBWI may report the incident to local authorities.



    The SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy prohibits retaliation against a member of the SCBWI community for reporting harassment, intimidation or discrimination, or for participating in an investigation relating to any complaint made under this policy. The sanctions for retaliation are the same sanctions available to address any other violation of the SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy.



    SCBWI takes all allegations of harassment seriously. Complaints will be investigated by SCWBI if they fall within the scope of SCWBI’s Anti-Harassment Policy. Depending on the results of the investigation, SCWBI will determine whether a sanction is appropriate.


    Sanctions for faculty, speakers, staff or board members may include any of the following:


    • warning the party involved that the particular behavior is inappropriate and must be ceased;
    • immediate removal from a particular event;
    • denial of access to SCBWI spaces and venues on a temporary or permanent basis;
    • withholding of a contracted honorarium;
    • prohibition from future speaking engagements;
    • prohibition from future faculty appointments;
    • expulsion from SCBWI; and/or
    • removal from the Board of Advisors or Board of Directors, when appropriate.


    Sanctions for attendees, members, and guests can include any of the following:

    • warning the party involved that specified behavior is inappropriate and must be ceased;
    • immediate removal from a particular event, without refund;
    • denial of access to SCBWI spaces and venues on a permanent or temporary basis;
    • termination of SCBWI membership, without refund; and/or
    • prohibition of future SCBWI membership.


    If the conduct at issue involves one of SCBWI’s employees, SCBWI will handle utilize whatever corrective action is appropriate based on the result of the investigation and subject to SCBWI employment policies and practices.



    SCBWI will make every reasonable effort to conduct all investigations into allegations of harassment, intimidation, or discrimination in a manner that will protect the confidentiality of all parties and witnesses. Notwithstanding the above, confidentiality is not absolute, and those with a legitimate business reason to know and be informed of the allegations will be so informed. Parties to the complaint should treat the matter under investigation with discretion and respect the reputation of all parties involved.



    If you wish to file a complaint or an anonymous complaint, CLICK HERE to access the Anti-harassment Report Form.


    If you have questions regarding this policy, you may send an email to Please include the words "anti-harassment policy" in the subject line.

    I have read and accepted the SCBWI Anti-Harassment policy.