Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Contests help Southern Breezers Breed Success!

By: Michelle S. Kennedy

Do you ever find yourself in a creative slump? Or sometimes have a hard time focusing on a theme? Have you ever lost your motivation? Or just can’t seem to give yourself a deadline for a story or illustration? My tip: CONSIDER ENTERING A CONTEST!

Here’s why:

1. Contests have PARAMETERS. They give you direction with which to channel your writing or illustration energies. From word count to theme, to submission deadlines— contests provide FOCUS.

2. Contests help you HONE YOUR CRAFT. They create opportunities to practice. Practice helps you improve your skillset. Improvement moves you forward.

3. Plenty of contests are FREE. Many are hosted and posted on Twitter by fellow writers, illustrators, agents, and editors. (NOTE: If you aren’t on Twitter, you are missing out on a huge connection piece of the KidLit community as well as special opportunities including contest announcements.)

4. Contests have PRIZES. Everything from free books, professional critiques, manuscript edits, tickets to industry webinars, workshops and retreats, top of agent slush-pile passes and MORE.

5. Contests provide RECOGNITION. Your name gets out there. People start to see your work. You get noticed.


In March, two annual contests were announced on Twitter: Mindy Alyse Weiss’s PBParty Contest and Vivian Kirkfield’s 50 Precious Words Contest

50 PBParty finalists (out of almost 1000 entries this year), won a coveted spot to showcase their work to over 70 agents and editors for possible representation.

And four of those finalists were fellow Breezers: (#7 Writer’s Showcase) Michelle S. Kennedy for NORBERT’S BUBBLE TROUBLE (#8 Writer’s Showcase) Jyn Hall for WAVES OF CHANGE (#27 Writer’s Showcase), Anne Weaver for THE TROUBLE WITH TELEPORTING, and (#2 Illustrator’s Showcase) Taylor Ackerman for MADDIE’S MISSING TOOTH. Click here to view all finalist entries.

NOTE: There have been over 300 full submission requests from agents and editors who viewed this year’s PBParty Showcase (and additional requests are still trickling in!)

In the 50 Precious Words Contest, there were 749 entries this year. A total of 57 prize winners and 200 + Honorable Mentions were announced. Several winners were Breezers including (#4) Barbara Kimmel, (#24) Melissa Miles, (#25) Jessica Ruthven, (#32) Natasha Zimmers, (#33) Julie Fruitticher, and (#34) Jyn Hall. Breezer Honorable Mentions included: Kanini Phillips and Michelle S. Kennedy. Click here for the full list of acknowledgements.

CONGRATS to ALL our Southern Breeze Members who entered these contests! You all make us proud and we are excited to see you represent our region!