2012 Conference

Saturday, March 31st, 2012
8:00am ' 6:00pm

The Merrell Center
6301 S. Stadium Lane
Katy, Texas 77494-1057

Download Registration and Information Packet

Join us for -

  • -Amazing speakers including editors, author, art director, and agents
  • -One-on-one manuscript critique sessions with speakers and local authors
  • -Portfolio critiques and showcase
  • -Selection of Joan Lowery Nixon finalists (winner mentored by Newbery Honor Winner, Kathi Appelt)
  • -Book signings
  • -Mexican dinner social
  • -Silent Auction
  • -Door prizes
  • -Opportunities to network

Guest Speakers

  • Dan Yaccarino, Author-Illustrator
  • Kelly Sonnack, Literary Agent, Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Inc. (Critiques sold out!)
  • Susan Sherman, Art Director, Charlesbridge Publishing
  • Heather Alexander, Editor, Dial Books for Young Readers
  • Pam Kelly Glauber, Editor, Holiday House (Critiques sold out!)
  • Sara Kendall, Literary Agent, Nancy Coffey Literary Agency & Media Representation
  • Connie Hsu, Editor, Little Brown Books for Young Readers (Critiques sold out!)

Criqitues by Houston Faculty


  • Ana Mar-a Rodr-guez

Middle Grade / Young Adult

  • Sherry Garland
  • Joy Preble
  • Sara Cloots

Picture Books

  • Kathy Duval
  • Warren Hanson

Information about the speakers is available in the Conference Packet.

Joan Lowery Nixon Memorial Award

The Joan Lowery Nixon Memorial Award was established to honor the writer who so generously shared her time and talents with our members. Joan volunteered to mentor a writer whose manuscript submitted for the SCBWI-Houston conference was deemed nearest publication. Following Joan’s death in 2003, Kathi Appelt, Newbery honor winner for The Underneath, graciously took over the role of mentor.

Each speaker will choose one manuscript that they think is closest to publication. Kathi Appelt will select one of the seven manuscripts and mentor the writer for a year. This is an incredible opportunity! To learn more about the Kathi, please visit www.kathiappelt.com.


Critiques are available to registered participants on a first come first serve basis.

Please see the registration form for critique categories and fees.

For each critique please submit one piece, up to 10 pages. Include a cover letter (no longer than a half page) addressed to the person who is critiquing your manuscript. If submitting a young adult or middle grade manuscript, please include a synopsis (limited to one page). The synopsis and cover letter are in addition to the 10 pages. Your submission should be in standard manuscript format. Formatting guidelines can be found at www.scbwi.org. Each session is twelve minutes of one-on-one face time.

Register early to secure your slots. All manuscripts must be postmarked by February 13, 2012. After this date, no manuscripts can be accepted and NO REFUNDS can be given. Instructions for sending manuscripts will be included with your confirmation.

Portfolio Critiques

The portfolio can be leather or vinyl with page sizes from 8'x10'-11'x14.' It should contain no more than 10-15 representational pieces of your BEST artwork and any dummies that you may wish to show. If you are bringing a book dummy, remember to attach it to your portfolio.

Remember NO ORIGINAL ARTWORK should be included in your portfolio. Have high-quality color copies of your art in your portfolio instead. Please label all artwork as well as the portfolio case.

Do NOT send your portfolio in advance; bring it to the conference. You will receive your critique time at morning registration. Further instructions regarding portfolio critiques and portfolio contest will be emailed to you by the Illustrator Coordinator.

Silent Art Auction

Save your bucks for the numerous other goodies available in the 2012 Conference Silent Auction. Proceeds from items, other than the birdhouses, will provide member scholarships to SCBWI events, but you don’t have to be an illustrator or SCBWI member to participate. This year the challenge is to decorate a birdhouse with a literary theme. (Children’s book title, character, theme, literacy, love of books, etc.)There are no restrictions to medium or alterations (3d elements) made to the birdhouses. Keep in mind these are for decoration purposes only, so do not worry about your designs being weather/animal-proof. Feel free to sign your house so the editor, art director, agent, author or illustrator who wins your objets d'art knows who the creator is!

To sign up as an auction participant, be sure to mark Silent Auction on the Registration Form. Birdhouses will be provided by SCBWI-Houston, and will be available for pick-up at the monthly meetings. If you cannot attend the meetings, feel free to purchase a birdhouse on your own from Michael’s (or another craft store) as they are only around four or five dollars. SCBWI can reimburse you if needed. For further questions, please email Illustrator Coordinator, Diandra Mae at scbwi.hic@gmail.com.

Sunday Intensives

Also new this year, The Houston Regional Conference will offer two Sunday Intensives, one for authors and one for illustrators. The intensives will be held the day after the conference on April 1st from 9:00 to 12:00 at the Hilton Garden Hotel. Yes, that's April Fool's day, but we won't be fooling around about this! It'll be a great way to finish up a weekend dedicated to growing your craft!

The author track will be moderated by Heather Alexander and is limited to the first 60 who sign up. Heather's intensive is called Voice Lessons: Making Your Manuscript Sing. It will include exercises about the difference between authentic and inauthentic sounding voice in both narration and dialogue.

The illustrator track will be moderated by Dan Yaccarino and is limited to the first 30 who sign up. Dan's intensive will be open to both authors and illustrators and is called: From Inspiration to Publication: The Essentials of A Picture Book Dummy.

You'll find pricing information for the intensives on the registration sheet. Additional information will be provided later should you sign up for an intensive.

Please note: while there will be coffee and water in the conference rooms, meals will not be provided for the Sunday intensives.


Hotel rooms are available at the Hilton Garden Inn. They are located at 2409 Texmati Drive, Katy, Texas, 77494. The conference rate is $109/night (includes complimentary hot breakfast). To book a room, please call 281-644-2400. A block of rooms will be held under 'Writers Conference.' The conference rate is available until March 16, 2012.

Mexican Dinner Social

There will be a social/Mexican dinner immediately following the conference on Saturday night. It will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn, just minutes from the Merrell Center at 2409 Texmati Drive, Katy, Texas 77494. The cost is $20 and includes appetizers, dinner, dessert and ice tea. Sodas and alcoholic beverages are extra and can be purchased separately that evening. There is limited seating and will be given to the first 100 participants who register for conference and send in payment.


If you have questions, please email:

Vicki Sansum, Houston,- Regional Advisor

Millie Martin, Assistant Regional Advisor and Conference Co-Chair

Diandra Mae, Illustrator Coordinator

Mary Wade, Conference Co-Chair and Registrar

Linda Leschak, Conference Co-Chair

Conference Schedule

  • 8:00 – 8:30 Registration and breakfast
  • 8:30 – 8:45 Opening remarks
  • 8:45 – 9:35 Dan Yaccarino, Author / Illustrator
  • 9:35 – 10:25 Kelly Sonnack, Literary Agent – Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Inc.
  • 10:25 – 10:40 Break (there will be door prizes during the last few minutes of the break)
  • 10:40 ' 11:10 Susan Sherman, Art Director – Charlesbridge Publishing
  • 11:10- 12:00 Heather Alexander, Editor ' Dial Books for Young Readers
  • 12:00 – 1:15 Lunch, networking, portfolio viewing, book sales, silent auction & door prizes
  • 1:15 – 2:05 Pamela Kelly Glauber, Editor – Holiday House
  • 1.15 – 2:55 Breakout session for illustrators with Susan Sherman
  • 2:05 – 2:55 Sara Kendall, Literary Agent – Nancy Coffey Literary Agency & Media Representation
  • 2:55 – 3:15 Break and more door prizes
  • 3:15 – 4:05 Connie Hsu, Editor – Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • 4:05 ' 4:35 Panel Discussion with agents and editors
  • 4:35 ' 4:50 Announcements ' JLN Award and Volunteer of the Year
  • 4:50 ' 5:05 Dan Yaccarino, Author / Illustrator
  • 5:05 – 5:15 Closing Remarks
  • 5:15 ' 6:00 Autograph session with Authors
  • 6:15- Dinner at the Hilton Garden Inn (reservation required)