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by Karol Ruth Silverstein, SCBWI-L.A. Contest Coordinator 

Sue Schmitt. Photo by India Schmitt

2019 Picture Book category winner Sue Schmitt. (Photo by India Schmitt)

The SCBWI-L.A. annual Writers Day will be held March 28, 2020 and, as usual, there will be a manuscript contest open to all who register for the event. Whether you’ll be attending the event for the first time or you’ve been to so many Writers Days you’ve lost count, entering the contest is a fun and valuable part of the experience.

Submissions will be accepted in four categories—Picture Book, Middle Grade novel, Young Adult novel and Other (which includes non-fiction and poetry). Instructions for entering will be included on the 2020 Writers Day event information page. The contest opens as soon as registration goes live, which will be sometime in December. Winners receive a free written critique from one of the Writers Day faculty members PLUS free tuition to Writers Day 2021 (or equivalent). 

In recent years, the Writers Day contest has been particularly prescient when it comes to recognizing promising work.

2018 Other category runner-up Colleen Paeff’s non-fiction picture book, The Great Stink: How Joseph Bazalgette Solved London’s Poop Pollution Problemhits stores in March 2021Colleen Paeff's announcementAnd one of last year’s winners, Sue Schmitt, had this exciting news to share: 

Winning first place in the picture book manuscript contest helped me know that I was on the right track with my story. Additionally, as part of the award, I was given insight into improving it from one of the Writers Day featured editors. This award was absolutely a critical piece in getting this manuscript market-ready and sold! Thank you, SCBWI-L.A.! 

Still not convinced you should enter? Here are a few more reasons you should go for it: 

1. Deadlines are motivating!  

The contest submission deadline may just give you a needed nudge to get your manuscript polished. (Note: novelists submit the first 10 pages only so no need to fret about getting the entire manuscript perfect.)


2018 Other category runner-up Colleen Paeff.

2. It’s exciting!

When the time comes to announce the winners and runners-up, you’ll have skin in the game. Win or not, you’ll get goosebumps from the thrill of putting your work out there with the possibility of getting it recognized. 

3. Cool perks!  

Though only the winners in each category get a monetary prize (tuition to next year’s event), everyone who places in the contest gets their photo, name and manuscript title in a Kite Tales article. Plus, you get bragging rights and can mention your acknowledgment when pitching your manuscript. 

Keep your eyes peeled for more info on Writers Day 2020, including the opening of online registration—and get those manuscripts polished!  

For more fantastic content, community, events, and other professional development opportunities, become a member today! Not sure if there is a chapter in your area? Check here.

KarolKarol Ruth Silverstein writes all genres of children’s books and screenplays. She serves on the board of SCBWI-Los Angeles and is a member of the Writers Guild of America, West.



Images provided by respective authors.