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Friday, July 1, 2011

NESCBWI 2012 Call for proposals

It's official! Today the call for proposals for the 2012 NESCBWI Spring Conference "Keeping it Real: Reality and World-building in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Illustration" is out. 

Reality doesn't often get the spotlight in the post-Harry-Potter world of children's literature, but even in fantasy or highly stylized illustration, a believable world is fundamental. Also, there is so much we all can learn from nonfiction research and writing techniques. Finally, how do you stay realistic and focused on your future in this rapidly evolving industry?

As always, the conference will have a strong focus on craft. This year, we are moving to a new venue with more space available for workshop sessions. We'd like to invite more small, hands-on workshops. Of course, larger lecture-style workshops are still welcome as well.

This is one of the largest regional SCBWI conferences, and last year we sold out the conference in two weeks. We welcome proposals from everyone. We also encourage artists and writers of color, those who are differently abled, and others from underrepresented groups to propose conference workshops.

What YOU Need to know: Important Information

Conference Dates: Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon, April 20-22, 2012
Conference Location: Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel, Springfield, MA
To Submit a Proposal: Please complete a conference proposal form. Separate submissions are required for multiple presentations or workshop/intensive versions of the same presentation.
Proposal Due Date: September 16, 2011
Presenter Notification Expected:
November 1, 2011
Types of Presentations: 55-minute workshops; 120-minute intensives
What are we looking for?

55-minute workshops

  • Presentations that relate to our conference theme.
  • Presentations that last 55 minutes in their entirety. When planning, leave time for participant questions and any required audiovisual setup.
  • A range of presentations for all SCBWI members, including illustrators and writers in all genres.
  • Leveled presentations. We are not trying to find one presentation that everyone can attend. Instead, presenters should direct material toward a specific experience level. For example, an "advanced" illustration presentation should not begin with "Why you should carry a sketch book," and a "beginner's" writing workshop should not address marketing a contracted novel. 
  • Focused presentations with clear learning outcomes. These should be clear, tangible "final products" that attendees take away. Plan the presentation thinking, "I want participants to leave with these three tools or ideas." A few examples: ideas for a new direction or revision in their own work; increased understanding of a specific genre, style, area of craft, art media, etc.; a step-by-step plan of attack for marketing, revisions, problem-solving, etc.
  • Hands-on workshops where attendees spend significant time in writing, illustration, or marketing exercises applying ideas to their own work.
  • Lecture-style presentations  with information that participants can take back to their desks to ponder and play with. 
  • Presentations that include a range of examples rather than drawing solely from the presenter's experience or body of work.
  • Presenters who are published members of SCBWI, as well as editors, agents, MFA graduates, and other industry professionals. Past presentation experience is appreciated.

120-minute intensives

Intensive proposals should meet all of the criteria listed above for 55-minute workshops. Also consider the following:
  • 120-minute intensives typically take place on Sunday, and there are fewer slots available for these workshops.
  • Two hours are provided, so plan exercises or some interactive element in the workshop. An intensive should not only be a lecture.
  • Past presentation experience and in-depth knowledge of the topic are required.
  • Partner presentations are welcome.
Note: If you apply to present a 55-minute workshop or a 120-minute intensive and we feel your presentation may better fit the other format, we will let you know!

Selection Criteria and Topics

Every year SCBWI New England receives many excellent proposals, more than can fit into a conference schedule. Therefore, we must choose on the basis of experience, quality, variety, novelty, attendant costs, and other factors. Please use the NESCBWI Workshop Rubric for more explicit selection criteria and standards.

We would love to see presentations on the following topics. If you are an expert on one of these topics, we would love to see your proposal.
  • Hands-on writing workshops: tools, tips, outlining, character sketching, etc.
  • Hands-on illustration workshops
  • Publishing 101 session for authors or illustrators
  • Developing an idea from conception to completion
  • Nonfiction and fiction research
  • Secrets of Story Arc
  • How to lay out a picture book dummy
  • How to start your own publishing company
  • Gesture and emotion for illustrators
  • School and library visits and promotion
  • Writing nonfiction articles and short stories
  • Mystery writing
  • Creative writing courses in the New England area
  • Game plan for leaving a full time job to become a freelancer

I hope to see you there!


  1. Looks great! I can't believe we're talking about 2012 already! I'd love to see a workshop on e-pubbing and self-pubbing, too!

  2. I can't believe people are booking hotels already. Kristine, I'm planning a couple of ebook-themed proposals.