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

Local fires have not affected the Thousand Oaks area.Writer’s Day is WILL go on as planned.

Please check back for any updates. 

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. 


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.

This event is fully booked.