2017 Conference Critiques

We're thrilled to offer critiques with our brilliant faculty members at the 2017 Writers & Illustrators Working Conference.

If you've signed up for a manuscript or picture book dummy critique, read the submission details below. If you haven't signed up for a critique, there are still spots available with our faculty. 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. You can sign up for a critique here.

Waitlist: If a critique you want is already sold out, don't worry. Occasionally there are cancellations, so register for the waitlist, and we'll let you know if a spot comes available. If you have already registered for the conference, you will not yet be able to make additions in the system (our website programmers are working on that feature), but email Regional Advisor Samantha Clark about any changes you would like to make.

Cancellations: If you have to cancel a critique, refunds will only be given if the spot is filled before the April 16 submission deadline.

What to Submit for 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 doc 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 Gogi Hale before midnight Central time on April 16, 2017.

In the subject line, type "Critique Submission for …" and the name of the critiquer.

In the body of the message, type the name of the critiquer, the title of your manuscript, and 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. For questions on format, email Illustrator Coordinator CS Jennings.

Critiquers of picture book dummies include: Illustrators John Hendrix, Jeff Crosby and Shelley Ann Jackson.

How to Submit PDF for Picture Book Dummy Critique

Email your pdf to Gogi Hale before midnight Central time on April 16, 2016.

In the subject line, type "PB Dummy Critique Submission for …" and the name of the critiquer.

In the body of the message, type the name of the critiquer, the title of your picture book, and 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.

Other Information About Critiques

Critiquers will read and make notes about your pages prior to the conference. During your 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.

We highly recommend that you research the critiquers before you register for a critique. Note that some of the critiquers are novels-only. You can read the faculty bios here.

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 10 minutes, so please keep an eye on the time. Aim to be in the critique area at least 5 minutes before your scheduled critique time.

Manuscripts that are critiqued are eligible for Austin SCBWI's Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Award. The winner this year will be mentored by award-winning author, teacher and The Writing Barn owner and Creative Director Bethany Hegedus. If you would prefer not to be included in the award, please note that when you register.