Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Written Manuscript Critique Submission Guidelines

Written Manuscript Critiques are available to SCBWI members only for a $50 additional fee, paid at the time of registration. 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, picture book, early reader, chapter book, middle grade, or young adult manuscript. See below for formatting and submission requirements. Submissions that don’t adhere to guidelines will not be accepted.

Written critiques will be completed by members of our faculty (see faculty bios for genre/age range preferences). Faculty readers, at their own discretion, will select up to three submissions for 15-minute face-to-face critiques on conference day. Not all manuscripts will be selected. Being chosen for a face-to-face critique does not in any way mean an editor will ask you to submit your manuscript, but it does mean your work shows promise! 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 4:20 pm. 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 for your critique before 4:20 pm.

Manuscripts and payments must be received by 3/15/2019 or your work will not be critiqued (or refunded). There are no exceptions to this. If paying by check, please make it payable to SCBWI. Mail manuscripts and checks to:


P.O. Box 1017

Davis, CA 95617

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 picture books.)

· 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 mid-chapter). Your synopsis must follow the margin and font guidelines above, but you may single-space.

With your manuscript please 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, ie. help with characterization; plot suggestions; developing a catchy opening

¨ Mail manuscripts to SCBWI at the address above (P.O. Box 1017 DAVIS, CA 95617). Please DO NOT send your manuscript with a “signature required.” Do NOT mail in a cardboard or non-flexible envelop. You may fold your manuscript in half and send it in a 6” x 9” envelope, or in thirds and send in a standard envelop, or you may keep it flat and send it in a 9” x 12” envelope. Nothing larger, please! Make sure you’ve put on enough postage.

¨ Payments: If you are sending your payment by check, make it payable to SCBWI. It must also be sent to our regional P.O. Box above.

Again, all submissions must be received by 3/15/2019. We are not responsible for mail holidays.

No refunds on manuscript critiques. No exceptions.

We will do our best to assign your manuscript to one of your three preferred readers on a first-come, first-served basis. This is determined by the date of your registration.

Editors and agents fill up quickly, so register early.


PAL School Visit Critiques and Consultations from Suzanne Morgan Williams

Are you a PAL member hoping to add value to your school visits and presentations? A PAL SCHOOL VISIT CRITIQUE is the opportunity for you! This option is open to PAL members only. There are two focus topics to choose from.

Written School Visit Critique (materials focus): Send a copy of your school visit brochure, flier and marketing materials or a power point presentation (can include notes), and a sample presentation schedule for review and feedback. Suzanne Morgan Williams will review your materials and provide recommendations to strengthen them.

Written School Visit Critique (strategy focus): Answer a short questionnaire (see below) and Suzanne will provide customized suggestions on expanding your school visit opportunities and adding value to your presentations.

You’ll be ready with the best school visit possible as you book events!

There are two levels of feedback available:

  1. Written School Visit Critique ONLY (Written School Visit Critiques will be returned to you at the end of the conference.) $50
  2. Written School Visit Critique PLUS 30-minute Skype/Phone Consultation (Consultations will take place May 21-June 15, 2019.) $90

Submission Instructions for PAL School Visit Critiques and Consultations

First, register for the conference and select a PAL School Visit Critique as your add-on. Pay the conference registration fee and critique fee. Do NOT send payments to Suzanne. For both options, please send a cover letter (see below) and your materials OR questionnaire to

Suzanne Morgan Williams at:

PO Box  19201

Reno, NV 89511

or send electronically to

All materials, including payment, must be received by March 15, 2019.

Cover Letter: Please include the following.


Email address

Critique Focus: Materials or Strategy?

Book Title(s), Publisher, Pub Date

Featured Book and age level

Target Age Level of your current or planned school visits

In terms of presentations, are you a Beginner, Intermediate, or Experienced?

Include a brief description of your target book or theme (can be from back cover).

In a few sentences, tell Suzanne what you hope students will learn or remember from your visit.

For Strategy Focus Only – List two concerns you’d like addressed from the four options below.

Content suggestions and curriculum tie-ins

Expanding presentation to more age levels

Expanding opportunities in community

What to charge, how many sessions, setting school expectations

What specific question would you like answered?

PAL Members may choose either focus option. You may opt for a follow-up SKYPE session for clarification or additional information/brainstorming for an additional fee. Suzanne will email you to schedule the consultation.


“Pass or Play” First Pages Panel

This is a no-cost opportunity for all attendees to have their first page reviewed by two agents and two editors! This year, first pages must be submitted in advance, to allow the panel to run smoothly and to maximize the number of pages reviewed. All submissions that follow the guidelines below will be entered into a RANDOM drawing for the panel. We will ensure that all categories are equally represented in the samples reviewed at the conference.

Email your first page to: Shirley Espada-Richey, ARA at

Your first page is due no later than April 1, 2019.

Please make sure your first page meets all of the following criteria:

  1. Your first page must print out as ONE PAGE.
  2. Save your WORD DOCUMENT as follows: Your Name_First Page_Category (example: Mary Jones_First Page_Picture Book).
  3. DO NOT put your name on the actual first page.
  4. Category of work (picture book, chapter, book, middle grade, novel, etc.) and expected total word count MUST be in the top right corner of the first page. BUT NOT YOUR NAME!
  5. The title begins halfway down your page. This means you will only have 10-12 lines of manuscript text on your first page. YOUR NAME SHOULD NOT APPEAR HERE EITHER!
  6. All story text is double-spaced with one inch margins all around (top, bottom, left, and right) including headers and footers.
  7. Font: Times New Roman or Arial ONLY. Size: 12 point–no larger, no smaller.