Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2021 Rising Kite Contest – FAQs





Q: How do I enter the contest?

A: First, you must register for the Rising Kite at your membership will need to be current.) You will then receive a confirmation email with a link to an electronic form to upload your manuscript. Please allow up to 24 hours for a confirmation receipt of your submission.


Q:  What are the contest categories?

A:  The three writing 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. There is also a Rising Kite Illustration Contest.


Q: Is there a separate category for nonfiction?

A: No. Entries in the three categories listed above can be either fiction or nonfiction. However, be sure to label a nonfiction entry as such when you register. Scoring rubrics differ between fiction and non-fiction.


Q: Which category should I submit my chapter book manuscript?

A: Chapter books should be submitted into the Middle Grade category.


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Q:  Is the contest just for unpublished writers?

A:  No. Unpublished and published writers may enter. All submitted manuscripts, however, must be unpublished and not under contract.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: 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.


Q:  How do I format 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 manuscript and the synopsis (if I have one)?

A: No. Make one file. If you include a synopsis, begin your submission with it, followed by your manuscript. The total number of pages in the submission, including the synopsis, must not exceed 10 pages for MG & YA. Follow the guidelines provided at



Q: What name should I give to my attachment?

A: State the category of your manuscript, followed by the title. (PB, MG, or YA). For example: PB Chicka Chicka Boom Boom


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 September 30, 5:00 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 and sent the corrections?

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, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. EST, on September 30, 2020.


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

A:  You will receive an email confirmation. Please allow 24 hours for the confirmation. If you do not receive an email confirmation within 24 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 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, which will be mailed, 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 Florida intensive.


Q:  When and how will winners be announced?

A:  Winners will be announced at the SCBWI Florida Regional Virtual Conference in 2021. 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.