SCBWI

Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2020 Fall Conference – Critiques

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2020 Fall Conference Critiques


 

We’re thrilled to offer critiques with our brilliant faculty members at the 2020 SCBWI Virtual Conference. The faculty offering critiques are:

Sarah Jane Abbot is offering critiques for fiction and non-fiction picture book manuscripts and picture book dummies.

Jen Betton is offering illustrator portfolio reviews.

Arree Chung is offering picture book dummy and picture book manuscript critiques and illustrator portfolio reviews.

Sean Easley is offering middle grade manuscript critiques.

Erin Golden is offering fiction only-picture book dummy, picture book manuscript, and middle grade manuscript critiques. 

Christa Heschke is offering critiques for picture book, middle grade, and young adult manuscripts, all genres. For illustrators, she is offering picture book dummy critiques and a limited number of portfolio reviews. 

Daniel Nayeri is offering critiques for all age ranges/genres (and has edited all genres), but board books, picture books, and middle grade nonfiction are most specific to his publishing mandate.

Vanessa Brantley Newton is offering picture book dummy and portfolio reviews. She is not accepting any manuscript-only critiques. 

Natalie Lakosil is offering two round table critiques – one for picture book authors and one for middle grade and young adult authors. These critiques are different from the ones above; Natalie will lead no more than 5 people in a group critique of everyone’s work. Each person will have the opportunity to share their work and receive feedback from everyone else in the group (including Natalie). Round table critiques are generally lively, very fun, and a wonderful way to get multiple perspectives on your work! Please note – critique materials will not be submitted beforehand for these round table critiques.

Learn more about our fabulous faculty on the Bio page.

 

We believe in working on craft as much as possible, so we highly recommend critiques. Getting a critique with a more experienced and established author, editor or agent can teach you things you will be able to use in all your future writing. And it can make the difference in polishing your manuscript before you send it out to agents and editors for consideration.

 

Critiques cost $45 and are for a max of 10 pages. For novels, this means the first 10 pages of your manuscript. For picture books, this usually means the full manuscript, however, if the picture book is longer than 10 properly formatted pages, you will submit only the first 10. Please note: Each critique is for only one (1) manuscript. If your picture book manuscript takes up only five pages, you may NOT submit another manuscript to get to 10 pages. For dummies, you will also submit the full dummy. Please see below for more details.

 

The due date for your critique materials is Friday, September 4, five weeks before the conference. During the conference weekend, you will meet with your critiquer for a 15-minute one-on-one, where your critiquer will go over their notes and answer any questions. We recommend you bring a notebook to make notes of what’s said. If you’d like to record your conversation, please ask your critiquer’s permission at the start of your critique time.

 

You can sign up for a critique when you register.

Scroll down for submission information.

 

FAQ:

Who will critique my manuscript or dummy?

You are given the opportunity to choose your critiquer during registration. We highly recommend that you research the faculty BEFORE you register. Then, choose your critiquer during registration.

 

When will I know my critique time?

You’ll receive the name of your critiquer and your critique time in an email prior to the conference. We will have more information about how the online critiques will work soon. Please note critiques may be scheduled on either Saturday or Sunday.

 

Can I sign up for more than one critique?

Yes! You can register for up to three critiques. Each critique must be with a different faculty member. 

 

Can I add a critique after I’ve registered?

Yes, however, changes to your registration must be handled manually. If you have already registered for the conference, you will have to email Regional Advisor Beth Mills at northtexas-ra@scbwi.org to add a critique.

 

What if I have a board book or chapter book? I don’t see options for those when I register.

For registration purposes, count board books as picture books and count chapter books as middle grade. We decided on this grouping to save space on our registration form.

 

What if I have to cancel?

Critiques can only be canceled before the September 5 submission deadline.

 

 

SUBMITTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT AND DUMMY

What to Submit for a Manuscript Critique

Critiques are for the first 10 pages of your manuscript, or your full manuscript in the case of a picture book that’s shorter than 10 pages.

Manuscript pages must be submitted as a Word document (.doc or .docx) formatted correctly to the industry standard, including:

– typed with black ink on 8 1/2 x 11-inch white paper

– in a 12-point font that’s either Arial or Times New Roman

– double-spaced

– numbered consecutively

– and have margins that are 1-inch on each side of the paper.

For more information on how to correctly format your manuscript, look at SCBWI’S From Keyboard to Printed Page

For novels, you may include one additional page with a brief synopsis. This page will not be critiqued but it allows the critiquer to get a better idea of your story. The synopsis can be single-spaced, but keep it brief! Think book jacket copy. You want just enough information to introduce the critiquer to your story and what you’re trying to do.

 

How to Submit Pages for Manuscript Critique

Email your properly formatted pages to Lenora Biemans at northtexas-ara@scbwi.org before midnight Central time on September 5, 2020.

In the subject line, please type “Conference Critique” + the name of your critiquer. 

In the body of the message type:

* Title of your manuscript

* Your name

Attach your Word doc to your email.

If you have more than one critique, send a separate email submission for each critique, labeled as above.

 

What to Submit for Picture Book Dummy Critique

Critiques are for a pdf of a picture book, text and images. Maximum file size: 8MB.

Double-page spreads are recommended. (ie: Each single page in the pdf would show the two facing pages of the spread of your book.)

Up to three fully illustrated and colored spreads are standard, with the rest of the dummy being pencil sketches. (If you’ve only got one finished spread, that’s ok. If the entire book is finished out, that’s ok too. The point: submit your dummy.)

Include your name in the file name. Ex: PBDummy_BongosBigBreak_YourName.pdf

For any other questions on format, email Illustrator Coordinator Jamie Whitbread at northtexas-ic@scbwi.org

 

How to Submit PDF for Picture Book Dummy Critique

Email your PDF to Illustrator Coordinator Jamie Whitbread at northtexas-ic@scbwi.org before midnight Central time on September 5, 2020.

In the subject line, type “Dummy Critique” + the name of your critiquer.

In the body of the email, type:

* Title of your manuscript

* Your name

Attach your pdf to your email.

If you have more than one critique, send a separate email submission for each critique, labeled as above.

 

ILLUSTRATION PORTFOLIO CRITIQUES

Email a link to your website OR a PDF of no more than 15 of your best images to Illustrator Coordinator Jaimie Whitbread at northtexas-ic@scbwi.org before midnight Central time on September 5, 2020.

In the subject line, type “Portfolio Critique” + the name of your critiquer.

In the body of the email, type:

* Website or online portfolio link

* Your name

If applicable, attach your pdf to your email. Please note maximum file size is 8MB.

If you have more than one critique, send a separate email submission for each critique, labeled as above.

 

 

Other Information About Critiques

Critiquers will read and make notes about your pages prior to the conference. During your 15-minute one-on-one meeting, they will discuss their notes with you, and you will have the opportunity to ask questions.

Remember, the critiquer is here to help you take your work to the next level. If you feel the critiquer didn’t understand some aspect of your manuscript or dummy, do not use this time to defend your work. Instead, listen to what the critiquer has to say and ask questions that will help with your future writing.

Please note: If you sign up for a critique, you will miss some of the breakout session or keynote going on at that time. Unfortunately, that is unavoidable due to a very busy schedule. Critique times may not be changed on the day. If you miss your critique time, we cannot guarantee that you will be able to get another 15 minutes, so please keep an eye on the time. Aim to check-in to the critique waiting room (5) minutes before your scheduled critique time.

If you have any questions, please email Regional Advisor Beth Mills at northtexas-ra@scbwi.org  .