Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Written Manuscript Critique Submission Guidelines

Written Manuscript Critiques are available to SCBWI members only for a $45 additional fee, paid at time of registration. Good news! This is a lower fee than almost all other conferences, and we highly encourage participation. The majority of feedback we get from attendees is how helpful the manuscript consults are (even published authors love this part of the conference!). Your manuscript can be a board book level, picture book, early reader, chapter book, middle grade, young adult or new adult age range. See below for formatting and submission requirements. Submissions that don't adhere to guidelines will not be accepted.

If paying by check, payment must be received by 2/18/2016 for your manuscript to be critiqued! No exceptions.

Written critiques will be completed by members of our faculty (see faculty bios for genre/age range preferences). Faculty readers will select up to three submissions for 15-minute face-to-face critiques on conference day, and it's up to their discretion. Not all manuscripts will be selected. Being chosen for a face to face does not in any way mean an editor will ask you to submit your manuscript, but it does mean your work shows promise cheeky You will find out if your manuscript has been selected when you arrive on conference day.

Your written critique will be handed out AT THE CLOSE OF THE CONFERENCE, at 5pm. If you need to leave the conference early, your critique will be mailed to you. There will be no exceptions, for any reason, please do not ask.

[There's another chance to get some feedback on Work in Progress: bring a first page to read aloud during lunch at the First Pages Roundtable! Reading off a laptop or mobile device is fine, but paper copies are a better idea so others can write down and hand you notes. There will be illustrator tables for artists to share their artwrok, too.]


Manuscripts must be received by 2/18/2016 or your work will not be critiqued (or refunded). Period.


SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: please follow carefully

¨ Name, contact information, genre of work, and expected number of words MUST be at the top of the first page.

¨ The title begins halfway down your page. This means you will only have 10-12 lines of manuscript text on your first page.

¨ All story text is double-spaced with one inch margins all around (top, bottom, left, and right) including headers and footers.

¨ Font: Times New Roman or Arial ONLY. Size: 12 point–no larger, no smaller.

¨ Manuscripts not adhering to the formatting guidelines will not be sent for critique. (We will notify you if your manuscript is rejected based on being formatted incorrectly. We are unable to offer refunds due to formatting errors so please follow carefully!)

· Picture books: submit entire manuscript, no longer than 6 double-spaced pages. (If your manuscript is longer than 6 pages, cut it. Virtually all picture books are within the 6-page limit, especially now that editors are looking for shorter, younger PBs.)

· Longer fiction and non-fiction: Submit a one page, single spaced synopsis and the first ten (10) double-spaced manuscript pages (even if it cuts off in mid-chapter). Your synopsis must follow the margin and font guidelines above, but you may single-space.

¨ Mail manuscripts to SCBWI CA North/Central, PO Box 4516, El Dorado Hills, CA 95762. Please DO NOT send your manuscript with a "signature required." We have to stand in line at the post office to collect those manuscripts and that make us cranky. Do NOT mail in a cardboard or non-flexible envelop. We have a small PO Box and the large 8×11 envelopes have to be able to bend to fit in. You won't lose points if the manuscript isn't ironed flat, we promise! 

¨ Include:

A brief cover letter (no more than three paragraphs) including:

· Your contact information

· Your genre

· What you hope to get out of the critique, i.e. help with characterization; plot suggestions; developing a catchy opening

Again, all submissions must be received by 2/18/16. We are not responsible for mail holidays.

No refunds on manuscript critiques. No exceptions.

Manuscripts are assigned to the best of our abilities one of your three preferred readers on a first-come, first-served basis based on the date of your registration.

Editors and agents fill up quickly, so register early.