Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2023 Rising Kite Contests FAQ







Q: How do I enter the contest?

A: First, make sure your membership is current. Then, starting at 9:00 AM on September 1, 2022 you may enter the Rising Kite by clicking the submission link found at the bottom of this page: NOTE: The submission link will not be visible before the entry period opens. You have the entire month of September to enter. Do not enter until your manuscript is ready. You may want to wait until after Boot Camps so you can revise your submission and make it as strong as possible.


Q:  Is there more than one contest?

A; Yes. There are two contests. The Rising Kite Writing Contest and the Rising Kite Illustration Contest.


Q: What are the contest categories for the writing contest?

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


Q: Is there a separate category for nonfiction?

A: No. Entries in the three writing 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: In which category should I submit my chapter book manuscript?

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


Q: Is the formatting different for a novel in verse?

A: No. A novel in verse must be formatted like any other novel submission. Since the text of a novel in verse will most likely be sparse, a synopsis may be needed. A synopsis is optional but does count as part of your ten pages allowed for the entry.


Q:  How many manuscripts may I enter in the writing 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 writing contest just for pre-published writers?

A:  No. Pre-published 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 All submitted manuscripts, however, must be unpublished and not under contract.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: Is the illustration contest just for pre-published illustrators?

A: No. Pre-published and published illustrators may enter. The illustration contest is prompt-based so all illustrators have an even playing field. However, a previously published piece of art may not be entered.


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

A: As long as you have not traditionally or self-published an actual book, you may enter the writing contest. However, you may not enter any story that you’ve previously published—even if published in a magazine.


Q:  How do I format my manuscript or illustration?

A:  Complete guidelines are available at


Q:  What program/file format should I use for my submission to the writing contest?

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


Q:  What file format should I use for my submission to the illustration contest?

A:  Only PDFs will be accepted.


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. Follow the guidelines provided at


Q: What name should I give to my submission attachment?

A: For manuscripts: Use the title of your manuscript as the name of your file and include the category (PB, MG or YA). DO NOT label your file with your name, any identifying features or any other information. Example: The Sorcerer’s Stone MG or Chicka Chicka Boom Boom PB.


For illustrations: Use your last name and the genre of your illustration (Picture Book, Chapter Book, or Middle Grade). For example: Herzog_PictureBook.jpg.


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

A: If your submission is not formatted correctly, 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: May I enter an illustration I’ve entered in a previous Rising Kite Illustration Contest?

A: No. The prompt for this year’s contest is new and a new illustration (which has not been published) must be entered.


Q:  Can I make corrections to my work after I have submitted?

A:  No. Just like when you submit to an agent, editor, or art director, there are no “re-dos.” Send your best work the first time. In addition, another manuscript or illustration cannot be submitted in place of one already entered.


Q:  I know that only unpublished manuscripts and art may be entered in the contests, 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 or illustration?

A:  Submissions will be accepted from September 1, 2022, at 9:00 a.m. EST until 5:00 p.m. EST, on September 30, 2022. There is no rush to enter. Many people have found attending the SCBWI Florida Boot Camps in September helped them perfect their work before submission.


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 submission has not been entered in the contest. It is your responsibility to follow-up with the contest coordinator. The contest coordinator for the writing contest can be emailed at and the contest coordinator for the illustration contest can be emailed at


Q:  What can I win?

A:  The top manuscripts in each category and the top illustrations will be reviewed by an editor, agent, or art director—that exposure alone will be invaluable. The top three winners in each category of the writing contest and the top three winners in the illustration contest 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 and contest will win a scholarship to an intensive of their choosing at the 2023 SCBWI Florida Regional Conference in Ft. Lauderdale.


Q:  When and how will winners be announced?

A:  Winners will be announced at the SCBWI Florida Critique-a-Palooza Celebration and Awards Ceremony on Saturday, January 14, 2023. 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.