Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Speaker Proposal

CA North/Central Regional Workshop Proposals

Thank you for your interest in proposing a workshop for the CA North/Central region of SCBWI! We value your expertise, and appreciate your willingness to share it.

We welcome fresh and compelling workshop ideas of all kinds. Please, be creative with your proposals! We want more than “a workshop on craft,” for example. What aspect? What is your unique take, what will attendees walk away with? How and why are you uniquely qualified to present it? Workshops must address topics relevant to attendees (members and the general public) that include, but aren’t limited to the craft of writing and illustrating for children, book marketing, industry trends, or topics relevant to the business or function of a creative life. 

Location is an important element for in-person speaking proposals as we would like to offer more events for more members in locations outside the greater Sacramento area. BUT, bear in mind that remote locations will by default cater to smaller crowds, so adjust expectations accordingly. An event an hour north of Chico, for example, is less likely to get approved than one in Davis, simply because there is a greater population that is likely to attend.

We’re looking for the balance between a topic that will speak to the largest base of members (who are our first priority) and the general public, but also be unique enough that will be of direct relevance to a subset of them. For example a topic for writers (broad base, we know this one is not for illustrators) that talks about craft (as opposed to a topic like marketing) specifically the narrative arc (nice focus) concentrating on YA (narrowing the targeted writer a bit is good) historical fiction (perhaps too narrow? it depends) werewolves that wear dresses (waaay too narrow).


 Presenter Requirements for Authors/Illustrators

Prior speaking experience is preferred, but not mandatory for smaller workshops

Experience or education AND publication history is required for craft-oriented proposals

SCBWI “PAL” member status is not required, but PAL members are given preference over Associate members and over non-members

    *PAL stands for “Published and listed” which refers to SCBWI members that have books published by traditional publishing houses that do not charge money to author or illustrators. To check if you’re a PAL member, go to your profile on to see what it says under Membership Level [log into to (make sure you’re logged in!), click My Home, a purple button on the top right. At the Member Profile under About Me, you’ll see the Membership level heading. [If it doesn’t say PAL membership and you think your publishing house should qualify you, read the guidelines and/or fill out a PAL request form.]



1. To be considered as a speaker for any of our events, the first step is to read this document that details the different ways you can participate.

2. Then you’ll need to fill out a CA North/Central Workshop Proposal Form as the second step. To complete the SCBWI CA North/Central Workshop Proposal Form click here. (Make sure to read this entire web page before clicking over to the proposal form.)


Types of Workshops/Events

1. Free Local Events and Smaller Sessions/Talks/Workshops, such as our quarterly “Critique Carousel,” Presented Pro bono

Each workshop in this category lasts about 30 minutes, depending on topic and audience. As a presenter, you’re expected to share information and experience to help the audience become better writers or illustrators. We are always looking for presenters who can provide variety, fun, inspiration, originality and insight into the art and craft of writing and illustrating for children, and for presenters who are willing to appear in locations other than the greater Sacramento area.

You may sell your books after your talk (all sales 100% handled by you including exchanging of money, set up and tear down) and if you offer writing-related services you are encouraged to offer a discount off future service, but you are not to complete any sales transaction at the event other than book sales. You may NOT use our events as a platform to push your business or commercial sales, paid services, excessive self-promotion, criticism or political discussion, and you may not poach our mailing list for your personal or business use. (Please understand we are a non-profit dedicated to the betterment of the children’s book industry, not a platform for your personal business.)

If you haven’t presented much, or are a new author/illustrator, these are perfect opportunities to hone your presentation skills and get practice in front of a crowd. If you are a new author/illustrator readying for school visits, these pro bono events are a super supportive way to get some practice time in for your upcoming author events.

“Free Workshop” Presenter Benefits

Since the event is free, and not generating income, we aren’t able to offer speakers that present at Free Workshops an honorarium. You’ll be presenting pro bono. But don’t despair! In lieu of payment, there are many other benefits:

• Book sales (Speakers’ books do not have to be PAL books but must be authored or illustrated by the speaker(s))

Paid critiquing opportunities (as appropriate)—based on your experience. We’ll handle the details in getting the manuscripts to you.

As a thank you, we can offer half-off any regional event held within a year after the speaking engagement, not including Spring Spirit.

The chance to give back to the very writing community that supported your success so far!

To complete the SCBWI CA North/Central Workshop Proposal Form click here.


2. Spring Spirit Conference Faculty

Our largest event of the year is the annual Spring Spirit Conference, which consists of 5-10 faculty members that speak on a variety of topics. Check out our website for examples of what we did recently. The majority of our faculty are editors and agents, but we do have other industry professionals speaking on their areas of expertise and are always looking for creative and innovative conference workshop topics/ideas.

Typically, each conference workshop session is either 60 or 90 minutes, depending on if it’s a workshop or lecture-type session. Speakers are experts on their topic. We also need a keynote or two, that will inspire and excite our members and attendees, typically talking about their unique journey to success, giving insight into the publication process, and letting attendees learn from their experiences.

Our conference agenda and faculty list is lined up about a year in advance. Please understand your topic might be perfect, but if we already have something similar planned, even an ideal pitch won’t be a good fit at that time. It may turn out that your topic needs tweaking or rearranging to fit into the schedule, or that you would fit into a different or standalone event. If you haven’t presented before, or are a new author/illustrator, there may be a different opportunity we have to hone your presentation skills and get practice in front of a crowd, so don’t be offended if we suggest you go that route.

Applications for Spring Spirit will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and while our decision-making doesn’t have a cold hard deadline, we tend to have it all nailed down by Aug/Sept of the prior year. Pitching us in January of 2018 for the 2018 conference is too late. When we brainstorm and finalize our agenda and faculty list, we take into account everyone’s presentation and publication experience, the workshop’s relevancy to our attendees, how the proposal differs from topics we’ve presented in the past, and our overall regional needs. Our goal is to design a balanced program for each new conference to meet each new audience’s (often changing) need. We strive to create well-rounded events with a mix of craft, marketing, and “real life” categories, and we look for variety in speakers and topics from one year to the next.

 “Spring Spirit Conference” Presenter Benefits

Bookstore sales (Speakers’ books do not have to be PAL books but must be authored or illustrated by the speaker(s))

Free conference tuition

Honorarium – specifics detailed in the contract.

Paid transportation and lodging for one or two nights if not a local speaker, and meals during the conference. (No lodging if local within driving distance.) Specifics to be detailed/confirmed in the contract.

Friday night faculty-only dinner

Saturday post-conference invite-only celebration dinner with faculty and conference volunteers

Paid critiquing opportunities (as appropriate).

All the bragging rights that come with being on the esteemed Spring Spirit faculty ☺  

To complete the SCBWI CA North/Central Workshop Proposal Form click here.


3. Half-Day and Full-Day Workshops/Intensives

A half day workshop entails 3 hours of instruction with breaks. A full day entails 6 total hours of instruction with breaks and time for lunch. Please include a schedule for the day with detailed information about what you propose to do during each period of instruction. Bonus points if the workshop proposal includes a hands-on activity described in sufficient detail to permit teachers and librarians to submit the workshop for Continuing Education Credits.

**Presenters will need to find and secure the venue.** Location is an important element of your proposal!! We hope to offer more programs outside the Sacramento metro area where our annual Spring Spirit conference is held yet securing locations has been one of the biggest barriers in scheduling half or full-day workshops for our region. Please understand this is more work than you may realize, and this legwork must be completed before you submit your proposal. The location must be confirmed before the proposal is submitted. When appropriate, please ask whether the facility offers special rates for non-profit organizations. Also, consider the availability of food for those attending. You do not need to provide food or make arrangements for the attendees to eat, but it would be best if attendees do not need to search far for lunch. We suggest schools, colleges, libraries, churches, synagogues, and other similar venues as we have found they tend to be less costly than commercial facilities. SCBWI-CA: North/Central will pay for the venue directly, or reimburse the speaker for the cost of the venue, once the proposal is approved. No reimbursement will be made before a proposal is sent.

Your ARA can provide information about the number of members in a designated area for you to consider when drafting your proposal. When registration for the event opens, an email blast will be sent to members in the area to notify them directly of the workshop and how to register.

Registration will be set up by the region. Each workshop/intensive must have a minimum of 8 attendees registered or the minimum number of attendees that will allow a break-even point. A waiver of this minimum may be provided only by the RA. Registration will be open to the public and will not be restricted to SCBWI members. Typically we like to keep the fee for members around $35 and $49 nonmembers for half-day; more for full-day workshops/intensives.

The honorarium for half-day events will be based on many factors, including expected attendance. A proposal may be made jointly with other presenters, but the fee will be divided among you. A w-9 form for each presenter must be sent to the Regional Advisor to receive payment. The honorarium paid will be reported to the IRS by SCBWI.

All half and full-day workshops/intensives must be approved no later than 90 days prior to the proposed date for the event. It is recommended that you propose alternate dates and locations if at all possible to ensure there is no conflict with other proposed workshops. If there is already an event scheduled in the area you propose, you may have to wait to present your event. You can give the same workshop more than once in different locations, as long as the event gets the minimum number of attendees each time it is presented. No workshop will be approved if the proposed date occurs within 30 days of a regional conference or the Summer or Winter SCBWI meetings.

The presenter should contact the RA within one week of the approval of the proposed workshop in order to coordinate placement on the calendar on the blog and regional website, press releases, website and Facebook page announcements, Twitter posts, and other promotional activities. We want your events to be a success, for both our members and for those people who might want to join SCBWI.  

 To complete the SCBWI CA North/Central Workshop Proposal Form click here.


If you have any questions, please contact the RAARA or , the IC (for Illustrator proposals).


Thanks for your support of our region’s writers and illustrators. We value your expertise!

To complete the SCBWI CA North/Central Workshop Proposal Form click here.