Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 18, 2010

Children’s Writing and Illustrating Conference

A new SCBWI member asked me today how our June conference differed from the National Conference taking place in NYC.  I  thought you might like to hear the answer.

1. NYC National Conference gets over 1000 people to attend vs. 260 people at last year’s New Jersey conference.  Of course I would expect the National Conference to grow and I am hoping we get 300 people this year in June.

2. The June conference will have 25 editors and agents vs. the National Conference which has 8 editors and agents.  At the New Jersey Conference we assign an editor or agent to the attendees lunch tables on both days.  Late registrants may be seated with a published author.

3.  New Jersey’s June Conference will have two Art Directors and New York will have three.

4. National has five Keynote speakers.  New Jersey’s Conference will only have three keynotes.

5. You can attend two workshops at the National Conference vs. seven workshops at the New Jersey June conference.

6. National has two panels vs. two panels for the June conference.

7. NYC National Conference has a Writers Intensive and an illustrators Intensive on Friday.  The June conference in Princeton has two Illustrator Intensives with two art directors. It includes a pre-conference assignment sent before the conference in order to get feedback on the sketch from the AD and then at the Intensive the illustrator will receive feedback from the group and the art director on the final piece. Artwork will be displayed Saturday and Sunday at the conference.  A winner will be chosen and a prize given. 

For the writer’s New Jersey’s Conference will have four genre specific intensives on Friday. 

8.  Illustrators can participate in the New Jersey Conference Art Exhibit and submit an entry for the Annual Logo Contest.  The winning logo is placed on the bags given out to the faculty and attendees.  There is an award presented and a prize given.  At the New York Conference illustrators who attend the Illustrator Intensive may display a piece of artwork for a private (Illustrators are not allow to attend) only display.  They invite 100 industry professionals to the show. This used to be open to everyone attending and it was wonderful to see all the fabulous artwork.  But space is limited, so that had to change.  On Sunday the winners are announced.

9. You can sign up for a one-on-one critique with an editor or agent at the NJ Conference There are no one-on-one critiques taking place in New York. 

If you register for the New Jersey June Conference, you can sign up for a one-on-one critique with an editor/agent and choose to get a second one-on-one with a published author.  If you signed up for and editor/agent and author critiques, then you can choose to pay for a third critique with another editor/agent.

10. New Jersey’s Conference has pitch sessions with agents.  New York does not.

11.  New Jersey has first page sessions to choose during the workshop times.  Each first page session will have two editors giving feedback.  New York’s conference does not have time for first pages.

12. The Conference price for New Jersey includes two breakfast, two lunches, one dinner with the price of the conference.  You get one lunch in New York.

13. This year we are offering attendees who stay overnight for both Friday and Saturday, the opportunity to attend a Networking Mix and Mingle Dinner with the editors or agents for $35 on Friday night.  No one can attend this special function unless they do the two night stay.  This will provide everyone who wants lots of time to get to know the editors, agents and art directors.

14. New Jersey’s June Conference will have a book fair where our keynote speakers can sign and sell their books, but also any published member attending may sign and sell their books, too.

15.  New Jersey conducts a Silent Auction where you can bid for full and partial manuscript critiques from editors, agents and authors, also summer 2011 networking dinners in NYC with editors and agents.

16.  Both are about the same amount of time.  New Jersey starts later on Friday, but New York ends earlier on Sunday.

17.  You can park for Free at the Hotel in Princeton and it costs $55 a day to park in NYC.  But you can take a bus or subway in NYC, you can only drive or take a train to Princeton.

18.  All editors, agents and art directors are staying at the hotel for the weekend, whereas in New York they do not stay overnight.

19.  I guess the only thing left is to compare the price. 

                                                                   New York      vs.     New Jersey

Conference Early Bird Member price              –  $350    vs.       $295

Conference Early Bird Non-member price –       $390    vs.       $335

Conference Regular Member Price  –                  $375    vs.       $325

Conference Regular Non-Member Price –            $415     vs.     $365

Overnight Hotel Cost                                            $219     vs.      $90

One-on-one Critique                                              NA      vs.      $55

Food for the weekend                                       Additional   vs.        included

If you sign up for the National Conference in NYC, take the Intensive on Friday and stay over night on Friday and Saturday it will cost you $1013 plus food and parking.

If you sign up for the New Jersey Conference in June, take the Intensive on Friday, stay over two nights, and attend the Networking Mix and Mingle it will cost you $620, that includes food and parking.  Adding a one-on-one critique, which is not offered in NYC, would bring the total cost up to $675. 

So you can see that both have advantages.  New York has the hustle and bustle and energy of the city.  The speakers are inspiring and it  gives you a chance to make new friends.  The June conference is smaller and more intimate and has more editors and agents to meet.

Holly McGhee, Agent Pippins Properties (Sunday Keynote)

Edward Necarsulmer, Agent, McIntosh & Otis

Scott Treimel, Scott Treimel Literary Agency

Molly Jaffa, Agent, Folio Literary

Marietta Zacker, Agent, Nancy Galt

Mary Kole, Agent, Andrea Brown

Elena Mechlin, Agent, Pippin Properties

Natalie Fischer, Agent, Sandra Dijkstra Agency

Krista Marino, Executive Editor, Random House

Kristin Daly, Sr. Editor, Balzer & Bray

Erica Sussman – Editor, HarperCollins 

Alvina Ling, Sr. Editor, Little Brown

Eve Adler, Associate Editor, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers

Eileen Robinson, Editor and Consultant at First Pages

Margo Rago, Executive Art Director, HarperCollins Children’s Books

More editors and agents to be announced.  Below are some of the author’s presenting.

Grace Lin, Author, Where the Mountian Meets the Moon (Saturday Keynote)

Sudipta Bardham, Author

Charlotte Bennardo, Author

Ann Bonwell, Author

Irene Breznak, Author      

Alison Formento, Author 

Tiffany Strelitz Haber, Author 

Leeza Hernandez, Author/Illustrator

Ann Malaspina , Author

Eileen Kennedy Moore, Author

Anita Nolan, Author/Sprouts Magazine Editor

Wendy Pfeffer, Author

Audrey Vernick, Author

Nanci Viau, Author

Tim Young, Author/Illustrator

Natalie Zaman, Author

Early Bird Registration will start January 1, 2011.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. I have been to both for the past few years. This year I am putting my money and energy into the NJ events. While I do love the NY Winter Conference, I get so much more from our chapter. The one on one critiques are invaluable. I come away with concrete ideas for revision. Don’t miss the opportunity to network and chat informally with the many approachable editors, agents and authors attending. Plus, it’s fun.


  2. I totally agree with Barb. The NJ conference is invaluable! I’ve learned so much from the sessions and one-on-ones. It’s only November and I’m excited for June.


  3. I’ve been amazed by the NJ Conferences! So happy I stumbled upon it a few yrs. ago!


  4. The NJSCBWI June conference is full of information and opportunities.

    When I think of the amount I’ve learned by attending the last two, (and I only went for only 1 day the first year) I’m speechless.

    Plus, this conference is well organized and full of friendly writers.

    If you want information, encouragement, support, honest criticism for your work, and to meet wildly energetic people who love books, this is the conference for you.

    Kathy, I’ve been to lots of music conferences and a few yoga conferences, your efforts make this conference shine.



  5. In my opinion, the NJ conference is the best, and I didn’t realize by just how much until I read this breakdown, Kathy. (As you can see, I’m still trying to catch up on months of blogs! lol)


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