Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Finding Your Voice – Oklahoma/Arkansas SCBWI Spring Conference

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Date(s) - 04/22/2022 - 04/23/2022
12:00 am

OKC Embassy Suites Hotel
1815 South Meridian - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma


The Oklahoma/Arkansas Chapter of the

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) invites you to join us for


Spring Conference on April 22-23, 2022
in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

at the Embassy Suites Hotel,

1815 S Meridian Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73108

Friday, April 22nd from 6:00 to 10:00 PM

Saturday, April 23rd from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM


Registration opens January 22, 2022

*Please note, per SCBWI Headquarter requirements, these Covid-19 Safety measure will be in place for the conference:

 Attendees must submit proof of vaccination,


Attendees must submit proof of a negative PCR test taken within three days of the beginning of the event, as a condition of attendance. If results are obtained in time, attendees must submit them electronically or by email before the event. If not, the results must be presented at registration.

Anyone who registers but can’t attend due to a positive test will be refunded the conference registration, less the amount of any critiques.

*In addition, masks and sanitizing stations will be available.

Registration will open January 22nd to take part in this awesome opportunity to meet others that share a passion for helping children/teens through the power of art and literature!

Learn from leading industry professionals in the children/young adult publishing business and submit your work to them. Read more about the faculty at end of the conference information.

Please note that your registration fee includes the opportunity to not only hear from these talented speakers and professionals, but also to submit to the agents, editors, and art designer post-conference. This is a great opportunity to go “above the slushpile”.

Your registration will also include a buffet lunch, where you will have the opportunity to further meet faculty members and other conference goers.

Elizabeth Law, Backlist and Special Projects Editor at Holiday House Publishing Elizabeth will do Face-to-Face Consultations as well as critiques. She will critique a complete picture book or board book manuscript; or the first ten pages of a chapter book, middle grade, young adult, new adult, or nonfiction. Elizabeth wishes the bulk of her critiques to be picture books or board books.

In college, Elizabeth Law dreamed of becoming a children’s book editor, and so she moved to New York upon graduation and did just that. She worked at Viking Children’s Books for 18 years, starting as an Editorial Assistant and rising to Associate Publisher, then at Simon and Schuster and Egmont USA as Publisher before holding her current position at Holiday House as Backlist and Special Projects Editor. Elizabeth has a soft spot for contemporary middle grade and young adult fiction in particular, such as debut novelist Polly Farquahar’s Itch. She also likes anything funny or scary, and picture books on unusual or interesting topics. Finally, she always has a soft spot for doll and dollhouse books. She runs a freelance editorial business on weekends at and tweets a lot about children’s books @elawreads.


Elise McMullin-Ciotti, Editor at Tu Books, an imprint of Lee and Low – Elise will critique the first ten pages of a chapter book, middle grade, young adult, or comic/graphic novel.

Elise McMullen-Ciotti is a children’s book editor with Lee and Low Books, as well as an author and food scholar with NYU Steinhardt’s Food Studies master’s program. She is a proud member of the Cherokee Nation and grew up in Texas. Today, she lives in New York City with her husband, a large personal library, and an open kitchen.


Heather Cashman, Literary Agent with Storm Literary Agency –  Heather will critique a complete picture book or board book manuscript; or the first ten pages of a chapter book, middle grade, young adult, graphic novel, or nonfiction. She will also do face to face consultations.

Heather has always loved literature. Surrounded by books from her earliest memories, she read picture books, biographies, poetry, and all genres of fiction. While she devoured any book that told a good story and introduced a new world, she especially loved the ones that made her want to be the heroine of her own life. Heather has always loved meeting authors and working on their books as a collaborative partner. She was a professional editor for Cornerstones Literacy Consultancy, editing middle grade, young adult, and adult books. She also interned at The Bent Agency, Entangled Publishing, and helped authors by working as Managing Director of Pitch Wars, #PitMad, and Pitch Madness, as well as being a Pitch Wars mentor.

Heather is currently seeking submissions for middle grade, young adult, and adult manuscripts in both fiction and non-fiction. For more about what Heather’s looking for, please see Storm Literary Agency’s About Page here.


Kaitlyn Sanchez, Literary Agent with Context Literary Agency – Kaitlyn will critique a complete picture book or board book manuscript or dummy; or the first ten pages of a chapter book, middle grade, young adult, new adult, graphic novel, or nonfiction, or a website for illustrators. She will also do face to face consultations.

Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez is a mom, wife, agent with Context Literary Agency, middle school math teacher, and picture book author. She’s also the proud co-creator and co-host of the Spring Fling Kidlit Contest and Kidlit Zombie Week as well as creator and co-host of the Kidlit Fall Writing Frenzy Contest. In her free time, she loves to play soccer, binge-watch TV shows, and, of course, read, especially when she’s all cozied up with her husband and daughter reading together.


Twitter: @KaitlynLeann17


Please follow my clients on social media:


Chrisila Maida – Art Designer at Simon & Schuster – Chrisila will critique a complete manuscript of a picture book or board book; or the first ten pages of an early reader or  comic/graphic novel; or the complete website from an illustrator. 

Chrisila Maida is a Brooklyn-based designer at Simon & Schuster, after four years spent at HarperCollins Children’s Books. Her recent work has spanned an array of children’s books formats, including early readers, picture books, graphic novels, and a ton of fun board books. When she isn’t designing books, she can be found writing stories, and illustrating with paint and embroidery.

Tammi Sauer, Children’s Book Author – Tammi will present “Writing the Rollicking Read-Aloud”.  In this hour-long session, Tammi explores a variety of strategies (refrains, rhyme, direct address, and more!) that will help picture book writers to create fun read-alouds that capture the attention of little listeners and actively engage them in the book-sharing experience.Tammi Sauer, a former teacher and library media specialist, is a full-time children’s book author who presents at schools and conferences across the country. She has more than 30 published picture books and has many others on the way. Her books have received awards, earned starred reviews, made lists, been developed into musicals, and been translated into many different languages. Most importantly, kids really like her books! To learn more about Tammi and her books, please visit and follow her on Twitter at @SauerTammi.
Traci Sorell – Children’s Book Author – Traci Sorell writes award-winning fiction and nonfiction works for young people from birth to teens. Born and raised within the Cherokee Nation reservation, she is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation and lives by Fort Gibson Lake. Her writing focuses on combating the erasure and invisibility of Native Nations and their citizens while centering their humanity, sovereignty, histories, cultures and languages in trade published literature for young people. Traci earned a JD from the University of Wisconsin, a MA from the University of Arizona and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. She serves as a 2021-22 Tulsa Artist Fellow and focuses on writing in formats new to her.
Off-site Faculty
Cheryl Klein, Editor at Lee and Low Books – Cheryl will critique a complete picture book; the first ten pages of a chapter book, early reader, middle grade, young adult, nonfiction, or poetry; or the website for illustrator only. For both critiques and submissions, creators are strongly urged to remember that Lee & Low’s mission is to publish books by or about BIPOC and other underrepresented groups. Manuscripts that do not speak to that criteria will not meet with much favor.
Cheryl Klein is the editorial director at Lee & Low Books, the nation’s largest publisher of multicultural books for young readers. She is also the author of two adult books,The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults and Second Sight: An Editor’s Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults, and four picture books, Wings, Thunder Trucks, A Year of Everyday Wonders, and Hamsters Make Terrible Roommates (forthcoming). Prior to her work at Lee & Low, she spent sixteen years at Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and can be found online here and as @chavelaque.

Megan Ilnitzki, Senior Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books  – Megan will critique a complete picture book or a board book; or the first ten manuscript pages of a middle grade or young adult.

Megan edits picture books through young adult titles, with an emphasis in middle grade. She is looking for character-driven picture books, commercial middle grade fantasy, and voice-driven contemporary middle grade and teen fiction. Across all age levels, she’s particularly drawn to joyful, magical, and inclusive stories from diverse voices. Her list includes books by Alysa Wishingrad, M.O. Yuksel, Jason June, Rochelle Hassan, Jacquetta Nammar Feldman, Samantha Berger, Breanna Carzoo, George Jreije, and more. She also works on programs for Maurice Sendak and C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, and is part of the team for Soman Chainani’s New York Times bestselling The School for Good and Evil series.


Hilary Harwell, Literary Agent at KT Literary – Hilary will critique the first ten pages of a middle grade or young adult manuscript.

Hilary Harwell, Agent (Pronouns: She/Her, Salutation: Ms.) As a proud member of the KT Literary family, Hilary represents children’s and young adult authors. She joined the team in 2016 as an assistant to both Kate and Sara and began taking on her own clients in 2017. Hilary is a graduate of the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she earned a degree in Anthropology. She went on to work in the back office of a major Swiss Investment Bank for eight years before deciding to trade numbers for letters. When not reading or editing or writing stories of her own, Hilary likes to hike the Rockies with her family and dreams of one day owning her own horses. As an agent, Hilary partners with her growing list of clients to develop their projects in preparation for submission and strategizes to help them build long-term writing careers as published authors. She’s highly communicative, empathetic, and supportive as an agent–tailoring her approach to each client’s unique needs, acting as a strong advocate, and helping them navigate the business side of publishing their work. She’s actively acquiring middle grade and young adult projects across all genres; picture books, chapter books and graphic novels by author-illustrators. More about her interests can be found at Manuscript Wishlist. Recent sales can be found on Publisher’s Marketplace.


Optional opportunities for extra fees during registration include the following:

> $50 for an off-site critique by a speaker or off-site professional of your choice (first-come-first-served). SCBWI members, for tips on professional manuscripts please see pages 7-13 of THE BOOK: Essential Guide to Publishing for Children (log into and click on “Publications”).

Attendees choosing this option are responsible for getting their manuscripts/portfolio links submitted on time and correctly. After you register, you will receive more information and instructions via email from No refunds on this option will be issued for late or unsubmitted manuscripts/portfolios; nor will a refund be issued for canceling your conference registration unless the spot is filled.

> $45 for a ten-minute “Face-to-Face Consultation” with a speaker of your choice doing consultations (first-come-first-serve). During a ten-minute consultation, you can effectively give a verbal query like a written query letter and open a focused conversation about your work.

SCBWI members, for tips on professional queries please see page 15 of THE BOOK: Essential Guide to Publishing for Children (log into and click on “Publications”).

Attendees choosing this option are responsible for getting to their assigned location on time and leaving after your 10 minutes is up (attendees abusing this timeframe may be charged extra money). Only one person may go into a consultation with a speaker regardless of how many co-authors/illustrators (attendees abusing this will be charged extra money). After you register, you will receive an instructional email from No refunds on this option will be issued for late or missed appointments; nor will a refund be issued for canceling your conference registration unless the spot is filled.

> $40 for a 6-foot booth/table space for the full conference to self-monitor and self-sell your own art or literature related to children/young adults only. SCBWI nor its representatives will be held responsible for anything at these booths.

> $20 for a 3-foot booth/table space for the full conference to self-monitor and self-sell your own art or literature related to children/young adults only. SCBWI nor its representatives will be held responsible for anything at these booths.

New opportunity!! We have a limited number of slots available for headshots. We have a fabulous photographer who will be set up for thirty-minute sessions. You can bring a book, art supplies, or other props or simply set for a traditional pose. Headshots can be quite pricey and always have a sitting fee.

Our photographer is Alex Dugan. Her work can be seen on her Instagram, alexduganphoto.

For our conference, the price is $150 for the sitting fee plus any two edited images of your choice. Once you receive the images from our photographer, they are yours to do with as you wish, with no photo cred needed. This is a great investment in your professional career as an author or illustrator. You will also have the opportunity to submit to any or all of the speakers following the conference, per their individual submission guidelines. These guidelines will be included in your conference folder, which you will receive at the conference.

This will be an option on the registration page, simply for scheduling purposes. You will not be charged when you register, but please don’t register if you are not sure you will keep the appointment. Should you choose this option, you will pay Alex directly on the day of the conference.

Other opportunities include the following:

> Attend the “Mingle with the Speakers” on Friday – choose this option as your way of RSVPing; the cash bar is at your own expense.

> Attend the post conference dinner with the speakers at a TBA local restaurant. Choose this option on your registration so we know how many to reserve space for. Your dinner will be at your own cost.

> Booth/table space for author/illustrators at the Book Signing. (You must choose this option if you want a space to sign books.)

> Participation in the “Illustrator Portfolio Showcase.” (You must choose this option if you want a space in the Portfolio Showcase.) Portfolios should be no larger than 11X17, approximately 10-15 pieces, (no original art). Bring it with you on Saturday. The Art Display tables will be set up in Meeting Room I.  You may drop off your portfolio after you sign-in any time after 8:00 AM. Please be sure to pick it up no later than 5:00 PM. Postcard samples or business cards may also be placed in or next to your portfolio. Contact the OK Illustrator Coordinator, Jerry Bennett, at with questions. If you are preparing an illustration portfolio for the first time, and you are a member of SCBWI check out the SCBWI Illustrators Guide (page 17) of THE BOOK: Essential Guide to Publishing for Children.

> Participation in the writing “Pitch Contest” or the illustrating “Postcard Contest”

Free to all attendees are the “Postcard” contests based upon the conference theme of “Finding Your Voice”. Attendees and faculty will have the opportunity to vote on Saturday morning for their favorite pitch and their favorite illustrated postcard.

Entries must be submitted on-site at the registration table Friday night or before 8:45 AM on Saturday, April 4, 2020, AND follow the below guidelines to be allowed to participate in the contests: NO EXCEPTIONS. Any late entries, or entries that do not follow the guidelines will not be included in the voting.

To qualify for the Pitch Postcard Contest, you need to type (no handwritten entries will be accepted) in 12 pt. font on white paper (color paper will be disqualified) no larger than 6 x 4 (larger will be disqualified), a story pitch of no more than 40 wordswith no illustrations or pictures (anything with illustrations including illustrated letters/words will be disqualified). The winner will receive a free face-to-face consultation with Elizabeth Law.

To qualify for the Illustrated Postcard Contest, you need to use a paper no larger than 6 x 4 (larger will be disqualified) and illustrate a scene that evokes the power of story with no letters/words/signatures (anything with writing will be disqualified). The winner will receive a free face-to-face consultation with Chrisila Maida

> Authors and Illustrators may have up to three of their currently-in-print and available books sold at the conference book table. Attendees choosing this option must contact the Book Sales Coordinator, Amy Stephens, at by March 1, 2022, with the book title and author in order for their books to be sold at the conference book table.

> New Orientation Session with Oklahoma Regional Advisor Emeritus, Anna Myers and former Regional Advisor, Helen Newton. If this is your first time attending a writing/illustrating conference, or you are new to SCBWI, or would like to know more about SCBWI, this session is for you.

Hotel accommodations are available at a discounted rate of $104 plus tax at the Embassy Suites Hotel  by clicking the link  located at 1815 S Meridian Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73108.

Registration for SCBWI Members is $170 and for non-members is $200.  NOTE: Your registration includes not only the ability to hear from these industry professionals, it also includes your buffet lunch on Saturday, where there will be additional opportunities to meet and visit with the faculty. And, your registration comes with the chance to submit post-conference per the individual submission guidelines. This is an “above the slushpile” opportunity!

We are accepting credit/debit cards or a check/money order. Members will need to sign into SCBWI. After you select all your registration options and click submit to register, a pop-up box will appear that will ask for your payment information. Make sure to disable the pop-up blocker for the website in order to make a payment. If you do not know how to do this, please do an internet search on “how to disable a pop-up blocker for a safe website” for the type of computer you have.

If you pay by check, select the “Send Payment by Mail” option on the drop-down list of payment methods. If you opt to mail payment, your registration will not be approved until the check clears the bank. Critiques and consultation slots will not be reserved until your registration has been approved.

Please send check/money orders payable to OK SCBWI with a printout of your invoice to:
4142 Cove Dr.

Yukon, OK 73099

Please put “2022 Conference Registration” on the envelope and/or check.

Conference Cancelation Policy: Until March 23, 2022, partial refunds for conference registration and optional add-ons will be considered on individual circumstances at the Oklahoma SCBWI Regional Advisor’s discretion. In most cases, no refund will be issued after March 23, 2022.

Last note – when you register, I have to manually accept your booking. That will happen usually at the end of my work day, so hang tight if you register before 4:00 p.m.  They will be confirmed sequentially in the order in which they are submitted.

We can’t wait to see you at the conference!

Gaye Sanders, Regional Advisor for OK/AR-SCBWI