2023 Conference Sessions and Schedule

Conference participants can choose Saturday sessions only or purchase the add-on Friday activities to supplement the Saturday sessions. Choose what's best for your creative journey! (Scroll down for full schedule)

Friday Sessions (purchased separately as add-ons to main conference)

Friday Craft-Focused Intensives (1:00 - 4:00 pm)

Friday Mix and Mingle Dinner and Q&A Panel Discussion

Saturday Sessions (included with main conference fee)

Concurrent Breakout Sessions

Keynote Addresses

Full Conference Schedule

2023 SCBWI Ohio North Regional Conference

Make Your Story Pop! 

Friday, September 29 - Saturday, September 30, 2023

(Tentative schedule as of August 2023; subject to modification)


Tri-C Corporate College East (4400 Richmond Rd. Warrensville Heights, OH 44128)

12:30 – 1:00 pm

Registration for Intensives (Round Concierge Desk)

1:00 – 4:00 pm

Intensive 1

BLOW IT OUT! Storyboarding Your Picture Book 

Lindsay Ward, Author/Illustrator

Intensive 2

Don’t Get Lost! Plan Your Book (and Your Writing Process) Like a Pro 

Emma Otheguy, Author  

Intensive 3 

Not Just the Facts: Writing Engaging Nonfiction for Kids 

Lisa Amstutz, Author/Agent


Tri-C Corporate College East (4400 Richmond Rd., Warrensville Heights, OH 44128)

4:00 - 6:00 pm

Hotel check-in for intensives attendees (as needed at the Cleveland Marriott East)

4:00 - 6:00 pm

Registration for Friday evening (Round Concierge Desk)

4:00 - 6:00 pm

Conference Bookstore browse (Mac’s Backs Books on Coventry)

5:00 - 5:45 pm

Breakouts for Mix and Mingle Dinner Attendees  (Pick One)

Conference 101 Orientation for First Time Attendees 

Independent/Self-Published Q&A/Networking

Prompt & Create (Write or Illustrate Based on Prompts) 

Potential Critique Partner Networking

6:00 - 7:00 pm

Mix and Mingle Buffet Dinner (cash bar) (206 Banquet Area)

7:00 - 8:00 pm

Editor and Art Director Q&A Panel, moderated by Merrill Rainey

2022 SCBWI Ohio North Regional Conference

Make Your Story Pop! 

Friday, September 29 - Saturday, September 30, 2023 


Tri-C Corporate College East (4400 Richmond Rd., Warrensville Heights, OH 44128) 

7:30 – 8:15 am

Registration and Bookstore (Round Concierge Desk), Continental breakfast (Super Conference Room, Room 126)

8:15 – 8:30 am

Welcome from SCBWI Ohio North (Super Conference Room, Room 126)

8:30 – 9:15 am

Opening Conference Keynote: Emma Otheguy, Author

(Super Conference Room, Room 126)

9:15 – 9:35 am

Underrepresented Diverse Voices Scholarship Recipient and Publication Celebration (Super Conference Room, Room 126)

9:35 – 9:45 am


9:45 – 10:35 am Concurrent Breakout Session 1

A1 (Kalia)

Unwrapping Picture Book Basics 

B1 (Amstutz)

Make Your Query Letter Pop  

C1 (Heschke)

Writing an Engaging Mystery: Atmosphere, Tension, Pacing and Premise 

D1 (Hoover)

Picture Book Covers! How? What?! 

10:35 – 10:45 am


10:45 – 11:35 am Concurrent Breakout Session 2

A2 (Otheguy)

Stick the Landing: Pacing and Narrative Structure in Picture Books 

B2 (Daigneau)

Nuts and Bolts: Writing Nonfiction from Proposal to Finished Manuscript 

C2 (Hearn)

A Certain Type: Developing Complex Characters Using the Enneagram

D2 (Rainey)

Is it a Book? Or is it a Toy? Interacting with Board Books 

11:35 – 11:45 am

Transition / Boxed lunch distribution inside Super Conference Room (Room 126)/ Bookstore

11:45 – 12:30 pm

Lunch (Super Conference Room, Room 126)

12:30 – 1:00 pm

Keynote: Aneeka Kalia, Associate Editor, Viking Children’s Books

1:00 – 1:15 pm


1:15 – 2:05 pm Concurrent Breakout Session 3

A3 (Heschke)

Standing Out in the Crowded Picture Book Market 

B3 (Fedan)

Get Your Book Out There: The Process of Self-Publishing 

C3  (Hearn)

Four Act Structure Plotting: How to Avoid the “Saggy Middle”

D3 (Mazeika and Mazeika)

Making Your Portfolio POP: Advice from Both Sides of the Query

2:05 – 2:15 pm


2:15 – 3:05 pm Concurrent Breakout Session 4

A4 (Kalia) 

Authenticity Readers in Children’s Literature 

B4 (Rainey)

The Mystery Behind School Visits, Workshops, and Book Festivals! 

C4 (Otheguy)

Plan Your Novel Book Journey

D4 (Hoover)

Stuck in the Middle with Middle Grade (Illustrations) 

3:05 – 3:20 pm

Bookstore/Transition to Closing Activities (Super Conference Room, Room 126)

3:20 – 3:30 pm

Art Show Awards, Ohio North Banner Contest Winner

3:30 - 4:00 pm

Literacy & Book Basket Presentation, Volunteer Recognition, Regional Team Announcements

4:00 – 4:30 pm

Closing Keynote: Katie Mazeika, Featured SCBWI Ohio North PAL Member 

4:30 – 5:00 pm

Conference Faculty and Publication Celebration Autograph Session