Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Call For Breakout Proposals – Fall 2021 Conference

We are looking forward to our 2021 fall conference, which we are hopeful will be held in-person in early September at the beautiful Green Lake Conference Center. As we continue with the planning, it’s your time to shine! We would love to hear you speak at the event. Got great advice on writing non-fiction proposals? Want to share your query letter expertise? Our event gets better with great breakout sessions. You may now submit your breakout proposals, the topics you think might make good breakouts at our event. Below is the information you need to apply.

Deadline is February 15, 2021. 

Event dates: Friday, September 10 – Sunday, September 12, 2021

Location: Green Lake Conference Center,  Green Lake, WI

(If you submitted a proposal for the canceled 2020 fall conference and would like it to be considered for this fall’s conference, you must submit again using the Google Application Form.)

The purpose of the breakout session is to offer members of SCBWI an opportunity to hone their speaking/teaching/presentation skills while gaining exposure in the SCBWI Conference platform. Regional Advisors share information with Headquarters (the entire international organization) concerning presentations made at our events, which often leads to further speaking/teaching engagements. All SCBWI PAL, full, and associated members are encouraged to send proposals.

Please note: Breakouts may be scheduled on Friday or Saturday conference days. Break-out session speakers are required to register and attend the whole conference.

Time: 45-60 minutes – may be divided between lecture format, hands-on workshop, Q&A, or however best fits the presentation.

Compensation: FREE conference registration. Does not include hotel cost or optional critique fee. Please note that if you have co-presenters, the compensation amount (one registration fee) will be split between participants. Part of the SCBWI tradition is to give professional writers/illustrators an opportunity to give back to their peer group by supporting the writing/illustrating community in Wisconsin. Your willingness to present at the conference in exchange for the registration fee is greatly appreciated.

Up to three PAL level books by the presenter may be requested to be sold at the bookstore during the conference. The bookstore reserves the right to acquire books as it is able.

TIP: As you create a title/description for your presentation, please target it to our audience: professional adult writers and illustrators working in the children’s publishing industry. If you have used your presentation at conferences for educators/librarians/other professionals, you may benefit from tweaking it to fit the needs of this conference.


If accepted for the fall 2021 conference, you will be asked to supply a professional, publicity headshot for use in the registration materials and a W9.

If accepted, it is your responsibility to register for the conference and make accommodations / reservations for lodging on the campus of the Green Lake Conference center in Green Lake, WI. There will be a group rate for SCBWI-WI. Hotel cost is not covered for breakout speakers. If you would like a critique of your work, there is also an additional fee payable upon registration. Critiques are not included in the registration.

SCBWI-WI will not reimburse you for any travel related expenses. Remember, many out-of-pocket business expenses may be tax deductable. Speak to your tax professional for advice in this area.

As of January 2021, this event is scheduled to be in person. Should that change, we will try to keep the event schedule the same, but we cannot guarantee that breakout speakers accepted for the in-person event will also be asked to speak at a potential replacement virtual event. Further, it is the speaker’s responsibility to cancel hotel reservations, travel plans, etc. SCBWI will not be held responsible for such costs. By applying to be a breakout speaker, you acknowledge that you have read and understand these conditions.

For questions regarding breakout session proposals please contact Silvia Acevedo or Deb Buschman at



Wondering what your presentation should look like? Here’s a SAMPLE PROPOSAL.

Presenter Name: Rochelle Groskreutz

Breakout Title: TO MARKET, TO MARKET: Selling Yourself and Your Work in Our Industry 

Type of session:  Breakout Session (60-minute)

Level of Presentation: (who will most benefit from this session)  All Levels

Target Audience: All Writers/Illustrators

Description of presentation (copy should be ready for use in registration materials, 200 words max)

Being a successful author and/or illustrator in this fiercely competitive industry requires more than craft; it requires marketing savvy.  Apply basic “Marketing 101” principles to your quest for attention, replies and ultimately acceptance. Bring existing pitches, queries and cover letters—you’ll spend most of the time applying what you learn and improving your message on the spot as we cover valuable information on: 

-Creating standout pitches, queries and cover letters for all genres.

-Developing a pitch sheet to promote your work.

-How and where to start submitting.

-Selling yourself at the conference, and determining what workshops are the best fit for your writing/illustrating goals.

-Networking—why “breaking the rules” with follow-up is the right thing to do.

Presenter Bio (200 words max, for use in registration materials)

Rochelle Groskreutz has been selling herself as a freelance copywriter and owner of Words For Sale since 1997. She started her kidlit journey in 2009 as a student at the Institute of Children’s Literature. An SCBWI member since 2012, Rochelle currently serves as our chapter’s Southeast Area Representative. After seven years and 108 rejections, her dedication to the craft and marketing grit turned into that magical yes: Rochelle is currently represented by Gina Maccoby of Gina Maccoby Literary Agency.

Presenter experience: (Please list all applicable presentation/lecture experience. First-time presenters are encouraged to apply along with experienced speakers.)

1)  Your Picture Book Reveal

Led a 2-hour workshop at SCBWI-WI SE Area Meet-Up (May 2015) on getting your PB ready to market with query, cover letter and pitch sheet tips, agent research info, and a hands-on exercise of writing your PB pitch in 50 words or less. 

2) Telling Your Story

Led a “Lunch & Learn” on marketing projects more effectively for 50+ employees at Zimmerman Architectural Studios (September 2015). Presentation with hands-on exercise of  reshaping your project story to make it more compelling. Can provide reference if necessary. 

Please let us know what tech equipment you will need. Note: This may or may not be available, so please indicate if you are flexible!

-projector for PowerPoint presentation


-microphone (nice, but not necessary)

In person & written critique opportunity: 

I am interested in providing in person or written critiques (15 max).

*If offered critiques, you will be paid an honorarium per each.

Written Critiques should follow the SCBWI GOLD FORMAT (example will be sent w/ manuscripts for critique)  You will receive manuscripts for critique in advance of the conference.