Wild Wild Midwest SCBWI Conference 2016

Naperville, Illinois
Friday, April 29, 2016

A limited number of manuscript critiques are available to SCBWI members from conference faculty and other editors for an additional fee ($45). Feedback is written only. An editor, agent or published author will be chosen by conference staff to critique your piece. Every effort will be made to match manuscripts with an expert appropriate for the genre and age target of the piece.

  • Print and send 2 copies of requested materials—one as a back-up.
  • 12-point font; Times New Roman, Courier or similar
  • 1-in margins
  • Double-space
  • Include your name, phone, and email in a header on each page.
  • Include the intended audience on the top of the first page.
  • If you have a picture book, please send the entire manuscript, not exceeding 10 pages.
  • If you have a longer work, please send up to 9 pages PLUS a single-page synopsis or outline.

Send your piece to
Wild, Wild Midwest Conference
c/o Lisa Morlock
7501 Hickory Lane
Urbandale, IA 50322
(It’s the same address for first pages, so please feel free to put both in one envelope, clearly marking CRITIQUE or FIRST PAGES.)

Only send your manuscript for critique if you are a current member of SCBWI and have successfully registered for the conference. All critiques will be assigned on a first-come-first-serve basis, using the POSTMARK DATE. The first date your manuscript may be postmarked is FEBRUARY 1, 2016. If you mail before this date, your manuscript will not receive a critique.  FEBRUARY 29, 2016, is the postmark DEADLINE for mailing manuscripts. If you mail after this date, your manuscript will not receive a critique. However, keep in mind that critiques are usually in high demand and the slots may fill up before the deadline.

Completed critiques will be distributed during closing remarks on the last day of the conference. If you will not be attending for the duration of the conference, please provide a self-addressed stamped envelope at onsite registration and your critique will be mailed to you immediately after the event. Questions? Contact Lisa Morlock at lisa.morlock@q.com.

Our speakers, art directors John Sandford and Semedar Megged, agent Marietta Zacker and multi-award-winning author-illustrators Eric Rohmann, Jennifer Black Reinhardt, Kristi Valiant are offering a total of 70 portfolio reviews. Each 15-minute review will be one-on-one at the conference and will run concurrently with other programming. You must check the box to register for this add on.  When the spots are filled, we will activate a waitlist and will notify you if a critique spot becomes available.  
Bring your portfolio to the conference. You will receive notification of your assigned time at registration on the day of the conference.  
Portfolio reviews will be scheduled in the order that registrations are received. 

All SCBWI member illustrators attending the conference are invited to exhibit one unpublished illustration suitable for children’s books on their own small tabletop easel (or book stand) along with postcards or business cards. There is no extra charge, but you must register for this when you register for the conference. Each illustrator is limited to a tabletop space 18” wide. The displayed illustrations will be judged by the faculty and a winner will be announced at 8:30 pm during the Art Show and again during lunch on Sunday. When you arrive at the conference, you will be directed when and where to drop off your mounted illustration, your own small tabletop easel labeled with your name, and postcards (optional). Bring a color copy of your illustration - not the original - as we cannot guarantee the safety of your work. Art Show questions: ruthexpress@aol.com


  • $12 fee (paid at registration) 
  • Contest opens February 15 at 12:00 PM CST and closes February 29, 12:00 PM CST.
  • Entries that are time stamped before 12:00 PM CST on February 15 will be disqualified.
  • You must be an SCBWI member and be registered for the conference to enter.
  • Twenty entries in each category of PB, NF, MG and YA will be accepted, provided that all guidelines are met.
  • Manuscripts must be formatted in keeping with industry standards (12 point font, Times New Roman, Courier or similar, 1" margins, double spaced). 1000 word limit.
  • In a left-page header, list your last name, first and second initial and key words from your title. 
  • Specify PB, NF, MG and YA and a word count on the first page.
  • Email one manuscript or selection of up to 1,000 words for picture books, nonfiction or novels to heckert.connie.k@gmail.com with WWMW II Manuscript Contest [and the contest manuscript category -- PB, NF, MG,  YA] in the subject line.
  • Attach the manuscript selection as a Word doc or .pdf to the email. Save the selection with your last name and title keywords (i.e., Lee, Mockingbird)  
  • You will be notified if your entry is successful or not.
  • REGISTERING FOR THE CONTEST DOES NOT GUARANTEE A ENTRY. 20 places will be filled first-come, first-serve, with manuscripts that meet the guidelines. If your manuscript is received, meets the guidelines, but is not one of the first 20 received, you will receive a refund of your entry fee. If you register but fail to send in your entry or the entry is disqualified because it doesn't conform to the guidelines, no refund will be issued.
  • A winner and runner up will be selected in each category, at the discretion of our category judge(s)
  • The prize is a full manuscript submission to our editor judges.
  • You must be registered at the time of the conference and be present to win.


No charge and only open to SCBWI members who are registered for the conference.

This is a fabulous way to have your work reviewed by illustration industry professionals in a First Pages format! Two Art Directors and a well-published illustrator will give first impressions of your children's book illustration in a panel discussion. Send one illustration (see spec guidelines below) in advance of the conference. At the conference, without having seen the work earlier, a panel of three industry professionals will give brief suggestions, comments, and/or advice on the marketability of your work. Please note we cannot guarantee every submitted image will get a chance to be seen by our panel. We can, however, promise that everyone who watches this panel will leave with a better understanding of what works and why. Use specs below:

  • Send one image (or a sequence that fits on one page) in jpeg (or jpg) format as an attachment in an email with the subject heading, "WWMW First Look" to ruthexpress@aol.com before April 14, 2016.
  • Image should depict action and be appropriate for a children's book.
  • Image must be no larger than 2MB and must fit on an 8.5 x 11 page.
  • Use this file name format for the image: firstname_lastname_state.jpg to help us track submissions.
  • Panel will not see image name or artist name.
  • Please don't sign the art.

·       The projector we use to present the art to the panel will likely display some color differences from your own computer monitor.
Please note that entries that do not follow these specs are unlikely to be seen by the panel.


No charge and only open to SCBWI members who are registered for the conference.

Busy editors and agents have very limited time to read manuscripts. Some say the "make it or break it" window is thirty seconds per manuscript. During this session, agents and editorial faculty will react to first pages of manuscripts read aloud. What makes them compelling? What is a turnoff? What does a first page/image need to make an editor or agent want to keep reading?  To participate, send one filled page of your picture book text or longer work. You may end your page in the middle of a sentence if necessary. These programs are so popular that it is impossible to feature every first page received. Use the guidelines below. Questions? Contact Lisa Morlock at lisa.morlock@q.com.

  • 12-point font; Times New Roman, Courier or similar
  • 1-in margins
  • Double-space
  • To save space, use a header for name, contact information, title, age category and genre if appropriate.
  • Please begin story text at the top of the page to ensure you fill the page.
  • The postmark must between February 1 and February 28
Where to send your piece:
Wild, Wild Midwest Conference
c/o Lisa Morlock
7501 Hickory Lane
Urbandale, IA 50322
(It’s the same address for critiques, so please feel free to put both in one envelope, clearly marking CRITIQUE or FIRST PAGES.)


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