Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Written Manuscript Critique Submission Guidelines

Please take note of all deadlines. We will send general reminders in the monthly eblast, but we are unable to send out individual reminders for manuscript critiques.

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 and by PAL Critique Providers (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.

When you register for the conference, you will have an opportunity to add a critique, and to select your top three choices of readers. Before selecting your top three readers, please refer to the Faculty Bios page and read their critique preferences. If you are unsure what category/genre you will submit for critique, choose people who will accept all of the categories you are considering submitting. Please note that we can’t guarantee you will receive one of your preferred critique providers. 

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 3/15/2020 or your work will not be critiqued (or refunded). There are no exceptions to this. Please note that we are unable to accept mail requiring a signature. 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. Exceptions to double-spacing are made for works in verse.

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:

– A non-personalized greeting, such as “Dear Reader” or “Dear Critique Provider”

– 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 envelope. You may fold your manuscript in half and send it in a 6” x 9” envelope, or in thirds and send in a standard envelope, 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 and payments must be received by 3/15/2020. Please take note of this deadline! We will send general reminders in the monthly eblast, but we are unable to send out individual reminders for manuscript critiques. We are not responsible for mail holidays.

No refunds on manuscript critiques. No exceptions.