Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Chapter Meetings and Additional Events

We meet the second Saturday of the month from September through May at the University of San Diego.

Meetings are open to SCBWI members and nonmembers. Cost: $9 for SCBWI members, $12 for nonmembers. Season Tickets are available from September through December. Season Tickets provide discounted admission to all meetings, conferences and workshops. 

We ask everyone to fill out the beginning-of-the-year form, even if you’ve already paid for the meeting online. If you have a chance to do so at home and bring it with you, this will speed up registration. Thanks!

New Seating System (This Includes Season Ticket Holders)
To meet the growing pains of our chapter, we have instituted a new seating plan.
1) At registration you will receive a neon index card, which guarantees you a seat in the main room (106). Once the cards run out, additional attendees get a white card, which admits them to the overflow room (108). Using Zoom, the meeting will be projected on the screen.
2) Those arriving early, please wit until 1:30 pm to check-in, get a card and pick a seat.
3) Please enter through the main door rather than entering through the side doors at the front of room 106.
4) If you have specific seating needs, please email

Our monthly meetings feature a speaker on either the craft or the business of writing/illustrating and have time for chapter business, member announcements and networking. Some of our speakers are local; others are brought in from out of town. Every meeting is planned to further the development of our members’ careers. Suggestions of topics and speakers are always welcome.

Hahn School of Nursing, University of San Diego   click here for directions

2:00 to 4:00 PM

2018-2019 Season Topics

October 27, 2018: Please Note Meeting Date Change for October to the Fourth Saturday – Work for Hire: Is it for You – Whether you’re looking for projects to fill income gaps between book publications or an aspiring author or illustrator considering work-for-hire to make your first sale, you don’t want to miss this meeting led by author Bitsy Kemper, a former SCBWI RA.  You’ll learn: How writing for hire differs from traditional publishing.  Questions to ask to see if it’s right for you.  Tips on getting started.  Cautions once you’re contract ready.  Resources to comb, before, during, after.  No question is off limits!  (Assuming it’s not related to trigonometry.)

You may have seen author Bitsy Kemper on CNN, CBS This Morning, or in hundreds of newspapers and on radio shows across America.  With 16 work-for-hire titles to her name, and 5 non-fiction e-books in the Bedtime Stories app, Bitsy has presented in schools and libraries from NY to CA. Find out more at

November 10, 2018: Funny Business: Seven Secrets for Adding Humor to Your Story & Art –   Humor. Editors love it. Readers love it. There’s always a demand for funny books and illustrations. Heck, even a more serious tale needs humor as leavening. But how do you bring the funny if you’re not a natural comedian? Fortunately, there’s a way.

Join us at this laugh oriented session, as Bruce Hale and Steve Breen share time-tested humor secrets for writing and illustrating that will soon have you getting both laughs and book sales.

Raised by wolves outside Los Angeles, Bruce Hale is the author of over 50 seriously funny books for kids, including the award-winning Chet Gecko Mysteries and the Clark the Shark picture books, one of which ended up in a McDonald’s Happy Meal (not the way you think.)

Steve Breen’s children’s books include Stick, Violet the Pilot, Pug and Doug, Woodpecker Wants a Waffle and Henry McHenry. He received a degree in political science from UC Riverside in 1992.  He’s worked as an editorial cartoonist for the Asbury Park Press (NJ) and is now with The San Diego Union-Tribune. He is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

December 8, 2018: Lessons Learned with Debut Authors & Member Book Sale – Speakers, Demetra Brodsky, Dive Smack and Tara Gilboy, Unwritten

January 12, 2019: Writing Chapter Books – Speaker, Marcie Colleen, Super Happy Party Bears

February 9, 2019 – Inspiration for Authors and Illustrators – Speaker, Judy Reeves, A Writer’s Book of Days

March 9, 2019: Editor Intensive:  The Body Electric: Breathing Life into Your Characters and Chapter Meeting: How to Catch an Editor’s Eye  – Speaker, Katherine Jacobs, Senior Editor Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

April 13, 2019: Illustrator Intensive: Details TBA and Chapter Meeting The Dance Between Art and Text – Speaker Invited TBA

May 11, 2019: Mayfest – In-person Critiques, Break Out Sessions, Headshots, Mentorship Picture Book with Melissa Manlove, Editor at Chronicle Books

Intensives and Mentorships
Another change in our chapter is a switch from snail mail mentorship/intensive registration to an online system utilizing electronic payment.  With only sixteen illustrator and sixteen picture book author mentorships available, registration will be on-line.
Illustrator Mentorship with Intensive registration opens on November 1, 2018 at 7:00 PM
Picture Book Author Mentorship with Intensive registration opens on November 2, 2018 at 7:00 PM
Editor Intensive – The Body Electric: Breathing Life into Your Characters registration opens February 10, 2018
 March 9, 2019: Editor Intensive: The Body Electric: Breathing Life into Your Characters – Speaker, Katherine Jacobs, Senior Editor Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
April 13, 2019: Illustrator Intensive and Mentorship – Speaker and details TBA

November 2, 2018: Picture Book Mentorship Registration Opens – with Melissa Manlove, Editor at Chronicle Books. PB Mentorship availability is limited, so will be on a first come, first serve basis. The participates Manuscripts will need to be in by November 30th, 2018 (no exceptions) and will be returned to you January 1st, 2019. You’ll send her your rewritten manuscripts by September 1, 2019. Participates are encouraged to form mini-critique groups.
October 12, 2019: Picture Book Intensive – Melissa Manlove, Editor at Chronicle Books, details TBA


October 2018 – May 2019: Writing for Children Class with Co-RA Patricia Morris Buckley – Class held in room 108, from Noon to 1:45 prior to Chapter Meetings.


Illustrator Schmooze USD room 108 – On third Thursday of month, except for December:

October 18th, November 15th, December 13th (second Thursday), January 17th, February 21st, March 21st, April 18th and May 16th.


Prior to Chapter Meeting Critique Groups Meet from Noon to 1:45 PM, for Picture Book contact Kristen Yakubisin, and for all other critique groups contact Gigi Orlowski



Bingo Rejection Game – To encourage everyone to (BIC) and submit their work, we have created a Submission Bingo game that began September 8, 2018 and runs through May 11, 2019.

Click here for the Bingo Card.

Here are the rules:

  1. One rejection letter/email per box.
  2. Rejections must be received after September 8, 2018.
  3. Write the name of the editor/agent and date in the box.
  4. When you have a Bingo, bring the Rejection Bingo Card to a chapter meeting to win a prize.


Oscar Symposium is Set for Feb. 23, 2019

The San Diego Chapter is once again getting tickets for the Oscar Symposium in Los Angeles. Special thanks to Arlene Bartle for organizing the SCBWI chapter’s visit to this event, where attendees will hear questions and answers from foreign film producers, makeup and special effects artists, and actors. Tickets are $10 (non-refundable) and include a morning Foreign Film from 10 am to noon, and an afternoon Hair, Makeup, and Special Effects symposium from 3-5pm. There is a two-hour break for lunch.
Tickets will be available for purchase at the San Diego SCBWI website ( from Nov. 10-Dec. 1 and payments collected via PayPal. Tickets will be distributed at the February 13, 2019 meeting from 1:30 to 2 pm and from 4-4:30 pm or via mail. Due to the special invitation for this event, tickets can’t be resold to the general public.