Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 11, 2012


We’ve been toiling away to get everything set up for this years New Jersey SCBWI Conference registration. We’ve got a lot of cooks in the kitchen trying to get this feast on the table. Since every detail of what is going to happen during the conference will be on the online registration form, it has brought things up to the beginning that we would have done in April and May. Thus, the heavy lifting started in November. It’s more than just putting in the schedule. Example: Lots of applications had to be filled out so you could pay as soon as you register. One of the hold ups is on the approval end of making this happen. Meanwhile, we are working on the set up.

You will be able to click a button and read the bios for each faculty member and see their likes and dislikes before clicking the button to sign up for one of the times still available.

Each workshop will have a detail button that will describe the session.

I have set up an email for everyone on the faculty doing critiques, so this year you will not have to spend money mailing in your manuscript, because you will be able to e-mail it anytime before the deadline to the e-mail provided on the registration form. In years past, some of you had made plans for a vacation with your family, which made it hard to submit your manuscript in on time. This method eliminates these problems and it also reduces the amount of manuscripts we have to juggle. I think we had close to 300 critiques last year, so many hands had to be available to get them out the door and in the right hands.

There have been corrections on the schedule from last week. I have made some of them, but check again on Friday. I should be able to check and correct what I put up, so you can get ready for opening day. Also, I made a few changes in the individual faculty schedules. This was made with an eye for trying to put as many critiques on the schedule that would not take you out of a workshop. There still are some, but many less than last year. Also check the individual schedules later this week. I am working to get more information about their likes and dislikes on each schedule.

If you sign up for an Intensive, the three critique option, take a consultation spot, register for a First Page Session, do a pitch, and sit with a different editor/agent at lunch on Saturday and Sunday, you will meet 9 different editors/agents without even counting the workshops, Pitch Critique Session, and other networking available.

We are including a box lunch with the Intensive Workshops on Friday. The editors and agents will be eating their lunches with you before the start of the workshop. This provides another opportunity to network. This year we have included a beginners level Children’s Book Writing 101 for all the new people starting out. There is so much to learn. Most of us have spent years learning all the things we need to know. You should be able to cut off a few years by attending this 4 hour session. Anita Nolan is teaching it and she does a great job. If you are new to the field, you will learn so much.

Last year we had our first Mix and Mingle with all the editors, agents, art directors and authors. It was a tremendous success. I personally introduced members to editors and agents. I know of two where I made a match, so you should try to attend. It is fun on top of providing a lot of time to talk with everyone.

You can sign up to do the Writer’s Critique Group on Saturday night after dinner. The only thing I ask is that you do not sign up if you do not plan to do the critiques for the other people in you group. It is very disappointing to the other member who have spent their precious time to critique your writing and then not show up.

I started thinking, what about the poor illustrators? Why haven’t I planned a group for them in the past? I don’t know the answer to that, but this year we are going to try putting together an illustrator critique group to meet on Saturday night. This is all going to be on the registration form with the names of volunteer you should contact if you have questions.

We will have our Illustrator Showcase and portfolio display during the weekend to show off the fabulous artistic talent that attends. The editors, agents and art directors judge the show and prizes are awarded to the winners. We will continue our logo contest and put the winners on the conference bag and other special gift that we give out to the faculty and the members. The winner receives a very nice trophy.

Also, the Scholarship Raffle is going to be done a little differently in 2012. It always takes a lot of time after the conference to pull all the names and for winners to collect their prizes. People want to leave, but they don’t want to miss getting their prize, either. Our committee will draw and record the winning tickets while you are at lunch on Sunday and then post the winners. Attendee will be able to pick up their prizes prior to Kate DiCamillo’s closing Keynote or immediately afterwards. Kate will stay after her keynote to sign books, which I am sure everyone will want.

I have been getting a bunch of e-mails asking for the conference price. We are having an “Early Bird” price of $315, which is $40 off the conference cost after March 1st. Last year a few people e-mailed me saying they had signed up to attend another conference because their conference was less money, but they ended up spending more money then what they would have if they attended the New Jersey conference, because they didn’t include all the food. If you came last year, you already know that the hotel puts out fruit, nuts, cookies, chips, pretzels, candy, soda, juice, bottled water, coffee, tea, etc. all day long, you just help yourself, add that to breakfast lunch and dinner and I know no one will go hungry or even think where can I get something to eat or drink.

We have special over-night room pricing at the hotel. I am thinking it was $89 a night, but that was one of the things I didn’t get to check today. No cost to park, of course. Still doing last-minute honing to the other pricing, but I will share that with you as soon as I am sure we are charging enough to pay for everything. I always go out of my way to keep the cost as low as possible for you.

Anyway, where else do you have a chance to meeting and mingle with over 32 editors, agents, and art directors? The faculty knows they are their to help you develop your skills and even if you are published to open doors for you, too.

Many of you have said they wished they lived closer, but we have people come from all over the country and even from out of the country. I can’t wait to see all of you on June 8th, 9th and 10th.

If you are on our mailing list you will receive an e-mail letting you know when the registration is going live, but you can keep an eye on here, because I will post the same announcement here.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. The NJ conference gives you more bang for the buck than pretty much anywhere 🙂 It’s worth MORE than every penny, and I’m not just saying that…it’s really true! 🙂


  2. Fantastic! Can’t wait. You’re amazing, Kathy.


  3. I live in Brooklyn NY…but I plan to attend the NJ Conference this year! Cannot wait! Sounds like a wonderful weekend filled with wonderful opportunitues!


    • You live so close (and even if you didn’t!), it’s a VERY smart move! There’s nothing like our conference. You’ll be so happy you joined us! 🙂


  4. I love all these great changes that we’ll be seeing for registration! Can’t wait for what will be another outstanding NJSCBWI conference!!! Thanks for all you do, Kathy!


  5. Oh my – That’s a very tempting package! I’m sure you will have a tremendously successful conference!


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