Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

LEAP Forward in 2020 in Erie, PA!

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Date(s) - 02/29/2020
11:30 am - 4:30 pm

Mercyhurst University
501 E. 38th Street - Erie, PA 16546


February 29, 2020

Mercyhurst University, 501 E. 38th St, Erie, PA 16546

Old Main 205, 206, and 207

11:30 am – 4:30 pm

$40 SCBWI members/$50 non-SCBWI members


Lunch from Panera followed by:

Presentation by guest speaker Julia Garstecki

“Publish or Perish: The Need to Adapt”

One-on-one critique feedback with Julia Garstecki

Critique Sessions

Q&A Session

Have you been hoping to join or form a critique group? Are you ready to take your work outside of your journal, sketchbook, laptop, or studio and share it with your peers? Do you want to learn how to strengthen your own work and encourage others to do the same?

Celebrate Leap Day by taking a big leap forward in your creative endeavors! Join us at picturesque Mercyhurst University for a catered lunch and an afternoon of networking and constructive feedback. Following lunch, keynote speaker Julia Garstecki will share her experiences as an author-illustrator with more than 70 published titles to her name!

We’ll then facilitate breakout critique groups to bring you fresh feedback and help you form creative partnerships. Participants should bring up to five pages (12pt, double-spaced) of a work-in-progress, a single picture book dummy, or up to five completed illustration images to share. Remember to bring business cards, if you have them, to exchange with new critique partners. **Note: These group critiques are free. To receive a critique from Julia Garstecki, please purchase one in your registration below. 

Julia will also offer professional critiques of 10 manuscripts and portfolios.  During the group critique sessions, Julia will meet one-on-one with attendees who purchased critiques. **Note: critiques from Julia require an additional fee, paid during registration below. 

To close out the afternoon, the regional leadership team will facilitate a Q&A on giving and receiving feedback, working with editors, marketing, and networking. A limited number of post-event individual critiques (first 10 pages, picture book dummy, or illustrator portfolio) from Julia Garstecki are also available for $60 each.

Our goal is for all participants to leave with industry know-how, encouraging feedback, and new kindred-spirit friendships. Register today, and tell a friend to do the same!


Julia Garstecki has published more than 60 books for young readers. Her STEM book Science in a Jar was a finalist for the American Association for the Advancement of Science / Subaru Prize for Excellence in science books. Julia predominantly writes for the education market, having worked with Black Rabbit Books, Nystrom Social Studies School Service, and Capstone. A former teacher, Julia also writes parenting articles for regional magazines. In addition to writing, she is a writing coach at Daemen College in Amhurst, NY. Julia also assists in the Writing for the Education Market at the Highlights Foundation each June.



Critiques with Julia Garstecki

If you purchase a critique with Julia Garstecki, please plan to submit your query letter AND one picture book/first ten pages of a novel/ portfolio link by February 22, 2020. Send your material to You will receive your time slot at the event on February 29, 2020. Questions about standard manuscript format? Read up on how to submit on pages 9-21 in The Book.