Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2019-2020 Rising Kite Contests FAQs

Q: What are the contest categories?

A: The three categories this year are: Picture Book, Middle Grade, and Young Adult. The categories include any and all genres: realistic fiction, historical fiction, sci-fi, mystery, dystopian, nonfiction, and so on.


Q: Is there a separate category for nonfiction?

A: No. Entries in the three categories listed above can be either fiction or nonfiction.


Q: How many manuscripts can I enter in the contest?

A: One. Choose the one category you will enter and send your very best writing. (NOTE: If you are an illustrator, you may also enter the Rising Kite Illustration Contest.)


Q: Is the contest just for unpublished writers?

A: No. Unpublished and published writers may enter. All submitted manuscripts, however, must be unpublished and not under contract. Published authors (including those who are self-published) cannot enter in a category in which they have been published.


Q: How do I know how to prepare my manuscript?

A: Complete guidelines are available at


Q: What program should I use for my submission?

A: Only Word documents will be accepted. No PDFs. No art.


Q: Do I make separate attachments for the cover page, the manuscript, and the synopsis (if I have one)?

A: No. Make one file. Begin with your title page, followed by your ten-page submission (with or without a synopsis for MG & YA). Follow the guidelines provided at


Q: What name should I give to my attachment?

A: Use the title of your manuscript as the name of your attachment.


Q: What happens if my manuscript is not formatted correctly?

A: You will receive an email from the Contest Coordinator telling you what you need to do to make your submission comply with the contest guidelines. After making changes, you may resubmit before the October 7, 2019, 11:59 p.m. deadline.


Q: May I enter a manuscript I’ve entered in a previous Rising Kite Writing Contest?

A: A manuscript which placed or received honorable mention in a previous Rising Kite Writing Contest may not be entered again. If your manuscript did not place or receive honorable mention, and has been revised, it may be entered again.


Q: Can I make corrections in my manuscript after I have submitted?

A: No. Just like when you submit to an agent or editor, send the perfected manuscript the first time. In addition, another manuscript cannot be submitted in place of one already entered.


Q: I know that only unpublished manuscripts may be entered in the contest, but what if the book was self-published or is out of print? Can I enter it anyway?

A: No. Published is published. No exceptions.


Q: When can I submit my manuscript?

A: Submissions will be accepted from September 1, 2019 until 11:59 p.m. on October 7, 2019.


Q: How will I know that my entry has been received?

A: You will receive an email confirmation. Please allow 48 hours for the confirmation. If you do not receive an email confirmation within 48 hours, your manuscript has not been entered in the contest. It is your responsibility to follow-up with the contest coordinator.


Q: What can I win?

A: The top five manuscripts in each category will be reviewed by an editor or agent, and that could be invaluable. The top three winners in each category will be awarded certificates at our regional conference in Miami and will be listed on our SCBWI FL web page and Facebook page. The first-place winner in each category will win a scholarship to an SCBWI FL intensive of his/her choosing.


Q: When and how will winners be announced?

A: Winners will be announced at the SCBWI Florida Regional Conference in Miami, January 17-19, 2020. After the conference, the slate of winners will also be posted on the SCBWI Florida website and Facebook page.


Q. What are the criteria listed in the rubrics:

A: For fiction: concept, character development, flow/pacing, language/diction, voice, mechanics/conventions (grammar, punctuation, word usage, etc.), marketability, and overall impression.

For nonfiction: concept, factual, flow/pacing, voice, language/diction, mechanics/conventions (grammar, punctuation, word usage, etc.), marketability, and overall impression.

For illustration: relationship to prompt, clarity of concept, originality, clear visual storytelling, emotional response, composition/perspective, color, characters’ appeal and expressiveness, mastery of medium, and consistency of style.


Q: May I enter if I’ve had children’s stories published in magazines?

A: As long as you haven’t published an actual picture book, you may enter. However, you may not enter any story that you’ve previously published. You must enter something new.