Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

  • Do you wonder how you can get on an art director’s or editor’s radar? Mailing a promotional postcard on a regular basis is the simplest self-promotion an illustrator can do! Maybe you have good intentions to send several postcards a year, but end up falling short. Wouldn’t it be easier if you were pleasantly prodded and cheered on by your peers? Join SCBWI Michigan illustrators in sending quarterly mailings on Feb. 1st, April 1st, July 1st, and Nov. 1st.   NEXT STEPS To participate, e-mail us at saying you are up for the challenge. Once you sign up, you will receive a welcome e-packet about the basics of promotional mailings and next steps, along with a digital badge you can use to share the news of our challenge. Check the MichKids listserv, social media, and The Mitten blog because SCBWI-MI illustrators Kirbi Fagan, Kara Marsee and Deb Pilutti will share printing resources, production tips, encouragement and success stories over the coming weeks. (BE SURE TO CONNECT ON THESE PLATFORMS! For more information on how, click HERE.) You can share your postcards on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag: #4outthedoor. We look forward to seeing what you create! Special shout-out to Kirbi Fagan for creating the 4 Out the Door logo and illustration.
  •           logo by Sara Kendall CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!    Do you want to get away from it all this fall and CREATE? How about some time to RECHARGE with your creative buddies? Would you like some inspiring craft sessions to MOVE FORWARD? We hear you! SCBWI Indiana and Michigan are teaming up to provide a weekend creative retreat in beautiful Pokagon State Park on October 5-7, 2018. The Park is located in northeast Indiana near Angola and is just off I-69. The cozy and comfortable Potawatomi Inn Resort and Conference Center within the Park will be the venue for lodging, retreat events, and meals. This Retreat is designed for writers and illustrators at every level of experience. It will provide a perfect blend of creative time, craft-related sessions, critiques, and socializing/connecting. Three or four optional craft sessions will be offered on Saturday and Sunday morning. Afternoons will be left open for creating, paid PAL level critiques, and/or optional peer critique groups for writers and illustrators. Optional social events will be held Friday and Saturday evenings. Fee: $125 SCBWI members, $150 not yet members. Your investment includes lunch and dinner on Saturday and lunch on Sunday, all programming, peer critique groups, and socials. Dinner on Friday night and breakfasts both days are available for purchase in the Potawatomi Inn dining room. (Or if you’d rather stay in your pj’s and nibble your own treats in your room, feel free.) Paid critiques and portfolio reviews by PAL members will be available for purchase in advance of the Retreat. Lodging: Our negotiated rate for a double room is $89.00 per night plus 12% IN sales tax. Attendees must register by September 4, 2018. After this date, rooms will be released for general sale. All reservations can be made by calling the Inn’s Central Reservations number (877) 563-4371. Use group code 1005SC and/or ask for rooms in our block under SCBWI.  Be sure to tell them how many nights you want to reserve (2 or 3) because they will assume 3 nights. Individuals will be responsible for room and incidental charges. To view rooms, click HERE. Note, no pets allowed. A Gate Fee ($7 in-state, $9 out of state) will be charged to all parties who have overnight rooms per Pokagon State Park policy.  Schedule: current retreat schedule final (subject to change) Presenter Bios: Presenter Bios Full session descriptions will be provided at the retreat. Critiques or portfolio reviews: Limited manuscript critiques and portfolio reviews will be available onsite. Each critique/review will be 10-15 minutes face-to-face. Sign up and pay for critiques/reviews onsite at the SCBWI event check-in table. The fee is $25 payable to the critiquer/reviewer. One critique/review per attendee. Any additional critiquers will be announced prior to the event and any open spots will be announced on Saturday morning. You can use your 10-15 minute critique/review time as you would like; for instance, have your critiquer read a portion of the manuscript or look at one image and give suggestions, or you can focus on a troublesome question about the manuscript as a whole/images and get expert advice on the spot. Be sure to bring an extra copy of your manuscript/sample for your critique since we may not have access to a printer. Manuscript critiques will be offered by: Silvia Acevedo (up to 10) Kelly Bennett (up to 5) Jennifer Carson (up to 10) Katherine Gibbs (up to 10) Leslie Helakoski (up to 5) Kathy Higgs-Coulthard (up to 5) Jodi McKay (up to 5) Heather Shumaker (up to 5) Lisa Wheeler (up to 5) Portfolio reviews will be offered by: Kirbi Fagan (up to 5) Deb Pilutti (up to 5) Register HERE  Art credit: SCBWI MI member Sara Kendall
  •  Whether you are an established author/illustrator or you're releasing your debut book, marketing is essential to your books’ success. This reference was designed for SCBWI members only to provide you with information on how and where you can market your work.   Click here to access our members-only book promotion page.   Good luck and know that we are very proud of YOU!  
  •     The mission of the PAL Newsletter is to provide SCBWI-MI's traditionally published authors and illustrators with resources that meet their needs. This will include: 1: An article written by a Michigan PAL author or illustrator on craft or experience. 2: Information regarding marketing opportunities. Let's sell those books! 3: Helpful blogs, websites, or articles for continuing education.   SCBWI-MI wants its PAL authors and illustrators to feel supported and connected to each other and it is our hope that this newsletter helps contribute to that. If you are a PAL member and are not receiving the newsletter, please contact PAL Coordinator, Jodi McKay.
  • 2018-2019 Novel Mentorship Program We’re delighted to announce that SCBWI-MI will hold TWO novel mentorship competitions next year.   You will need a complete draft of your novel to enter either competition.   The Non-PAL mentorship with author Kelly Barson This mentorship is open to full and associate SCBWI members who live in Michigan. Kelly is the author of 45 POUNDS MORE OR LESS and CHARLOTTE CUTS IT OUT. Kelly’s books will make you laugh and cry. They’ll show you the truth. They may even give you a glimpse inside yourself. Kelly teaches classes on writing Middle Grade and Young Adult novels at UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. See our interview with Kelly Mitten blog. The submission window will be June 4-25, 2018. The PAL mentorship with author Leslie Connor This mentorship is open to PAL SCBWI members who live in Michigan. Leslie lives in Connecticut where she is the author of ALL RISE FOR THE HONORABLE PERRY T COOK, CRUNCH, WAITING FOR NORMAL, THE THINGS YOU KISS GOODBYE, DEAD ON TOWN LINE and MISS BRIDIE CHOSE A SHOVEL. Her latest Midgrade Novel, THE TRUTH AS TOLD BY MASON BUTTLE, hit the store shelves in January. Leslie’s books are written with so much heart that they’re likely to break the reader’s heart as well. See our interview with Leslie on the Mitten Blog. The submission window will be April 2-23, 2018.   Submissions: Step 1: Figure out your membership status. If you are pre-published, you are an associate member. If you are published, it depends on the publisher. If your publisher is on this list of traditional publishers, you are a PAL member. If your publisher is not on that list, you are a full member. To check your official membership status, go to and scroll down to the Member Search box. Click Advanced Search and enter your name to look yourself up. If your listed membership status is not correct, contact SCBWI by email at membership [at] scbwi [dot] org and explain the situation.  Authors who have work under contract with a PAL publisher are considered PAL members.   Please contact the program coordinator, Ann Finkelstein at annf1234 [at] gmail [dot] com, if you have questions about eligibility or your membership status.   Step 2: Register for the correct mentorship program. PAL members will register during their submission window: April 2-23, 2018. Non-PAL members will register during their submission window:  June 4-25, 2018. For both mentorships, the submission fee is a nonrefundable $20. One entry per person. To enter, you must have completed a draft of your novel.   The registration platform will go live for each submission window. Click here to register during your submission window.   Submission instructions will be repeated on the last page of the registration form. Submission of manuscripts will be by email to the mentorship coordinator, Ann Finkelstein, at  annf1234 [at] gmail [dot] com   Step 3: Submit your manuscript. All submissions are sent by email to Ann Finkelstein at  annf1234 [at] gmail [dot] com The subject line for your email should read: Submission: TITLE In the body of the email, write: Your name The title of your manuscript Your SCBWI membership status The name you used for SCBWI membership, if different from above The intended audience: CB for chapter book, MG for middle grade or YA for young adult Your email address Your phone number Attach your manuscript to the email as a Microsoft Word document. Use the following format: Header: write the title of your manuscript and the page number DO NOT put your name on the manuscript. Leave the footer blank. The footer will be used for your identification number. Use 12-point Times New Roman font. Double space Use 1-inch margins. You will need to submit the first ten pages and a synopsis. Start your manuscript on the first line of the first page. (There is no need to leave several blank lines at the beginning of this submission.) If your first chapter is shorter than ten pages, double space and continue with chapter 2. End your ten-page submission at the end of a sentence. The eleventh page is the synopsis. The synopsis should be one page in length. The synopsis may be single-spaced.   Anonymity. To ensure an unbiased selection process, the manuscripts will be identified by number, not the author’s name. DO NOT put your name or any other identifying mark on your manuscript. Feel free to announce the mentorship on social media. DO NOT mention that you entered the competition on social media.   Selection process. Our super-secret, superstar judges will evaluate the entries based on: Appropriateness of Style, Language and Diction for Intended Audience Are the characters’ voices distinct, consistent, believable and age-appropriate? Development of Theme or Concept Is the theme at least hinted at in the first ten pages?  Does it become clear in the synopsis? Development of Plot Is the protagonist’s problem/quest defined in the opening of the novel? Is the problem/quest compelling? Is it clear what is at stake for the protagonist if he or she fails or does not undertake the quest? Are the first 10 pages an appropriate introduction to the narrative arc described in the synopsis? Development of Characters Can you tell from the first 10 pages what each important character wants? Is the protagonist interesting/appealing enough to continue reading? Does the protagonist have clear challenges either in the form of a mistaken belief, an antagonist or a situation that he or she wants to overcome? Does the writer avoid stereotypes? Pacing Is there an appropriate balance between dialog, exposition and backstory? Overall Impression/Originality Are you eager to find out what happens next? Does the novel present a unique or underrepresented personality, problem or point-of-view?   Judges will also make brief comments about how they feel the manuscript could be strengthened. Applicants will receive the judges’ comments but not the numerical scores. The mentor will make the final selection.   The winner of the PAL mentorship with Leslie Connor will be announced in mid-July. The winner of the non-PAL mentorship with Kelly Barson will be announced in early September.   Read more about the SCBWI-MI mentorship and its past winners and mentors.   FAQs: How much does it cost to enter?  $20 (non-refundable) How do I pay the $20? You will be asked for credit/debit card information when you register. Do I have to be a member of SCBWI? Yes. Do I have to live in Michigan? Yes. Can I apply if I only live in Michigan for part of the year? Sure. Will I be notified when my manuscript has been received and is being considered? Yes. Mentorship Coordinator, Ann Finkelstein, will confirm receipt of manuscripts. How long do I have between registering for the mentorship and uploading my submission? 24 hours. Exactly what do you mean by anonymous submissions? Don’t put your name on the manuscript and don’t announce on social media that you are entering. Can I enter if I already have a PAL book under contract? You can enter the PAL mentorship only. What happens if I enter the non-PAL mentorship and I’m offered a contract while the evaluation process is going on? Contact Mentorship Coordinator, Ann Finkelstein to receive congratulations and discuss the situation. What if I’m a PAL illustrator? If you’re a PAL member for illustration, but not for writing, apply for the non-PAL mentorship described here. Do I have to write a synopsis? Yes. Please understand that we feel your pain. However, it is essential that the judges know the arc of your novel. What if I have a question that’s not on this list? Contact Mentorship Coordinator, Ann Finkelstein at annf1234 [at] gmail [dot] com.
  • The Mitten is the official blog for the Michigan chapter of SCBWI. Please spread the word and share with anyone interested in reading, writing, and creating quality literature for children and young adults. SCBWI-MI members are encouraged to submit blog posts.  What are we looking for? Success stories tips on any aspect of the publishing process - writing, illustrating, promotion, time management, etc. agent/editor interviews photos, personal impressions, and brief overviews of events, such as conferences, meet-ups, book signings, book clubs, festivals, etc. reviews of books on craft We’re also looking for contributions for our ongoing features: Ask Frida Pennabook: Sometimes it's helpful to tap into the expertise of a fellow writer or artist. Got a question? Need advice? Just ask Frida. Hugs and Hurrahs: We want to trumpet your good news! Send 1-3 sentences about your accomplishment. We love to include photos and art, too. Do you have an idea for a blog post or a new feature?  We’d love to hear it! Submission guidelines: Please query Kristin Lenz at Include a 1-3 sentence bio and any links, art, book covers, or photos to accompany your blog post. (All images must be your personal property or fair use/public domain.)  
  • Wouldn't you love to attend a children's book conference without traveling? No airports, hotels, gas stations, or expense reports? No work time lost? Register and view our affordable webinar from the comfort of your home or office — wherever and whenever you have access to a computer. Or join your friends and colleagues who have registered and watch together. "You guided me from ignorantly-intimidated to old-dog-learned-new-trick! Well done! This internet thing might not be so bad."   CLICK HERE TO REGISTER  Children’s Book Industry 101: Terms, Conventions, and How It Works lead by Carrie Pearson and moderated by Leslie Helakoski. Description: A nuts and bolts session for writers and writer/s including standards for traditional publishing (formatting, word counts for categories, conventions, what’s pushy, what’s polite), how the industry works (role of agent vs. editor, publishing houses and what they offer, large house vs. small vs. regional), and how we get paid (advance, royalties).   "You guys absolutely ROCK at putting together great presentations and making them really work! Thank you so much!"   – author, Elizabeth McBride  Illustration credit: Nina Goebel


The strength of SCBWI lies in its individual members. Whether you are a creator, publisher, reviewer, librarian, bookseller, educator, or simply someone with a love of literature and a desire to see the best in the hands of children, we invite you to get to know us better.