We’re thrilled to offer critiques and portfolio reviews with our brilliant faculty members at the 2022 Writers & Illustrators Working Conference.
We believe in working on craft as much as possible, so we highly recommend getting feedback. Getting a critique or portfolio review from a more experienced and established author/illustrator, 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. Read this article by author Erin Heger about Why Author Critiques Can Be a Career-Maker.
Critiques and portfolio reviews cost $50 and should be requested when you register. If you want to add a critique or portfolio review after you have registered, please email Regional Advisor Samantha M Clark.
NEW THIS YEAR: Portfolio reviews will be curated this year, along with manuscripts and dummies. We are trying this for a couple reasons. At the start of registration we are still in the process of securing our soon-to-be-amazing illustration conference faculty. Also, by curating the reviews it allows for potentially more spots to be left open for agents and illustrators who are also critiquing manuscripts. You will have the option to request up to three (3) faculty members when you submit your portfolio links. Read on for more details.
WHAT IS CRITIQUED/REVIEWED
Novel, graphic novel, chapter book and early reader critiques are for the first 10 pages of your manuscript.
Picture books critiques are usually for 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.)
Dummy critiques are for your full dummy. Please see below for more details.
For Portfolio reviews, if you participate in the Portfolio Showcase, those are the illustrations that will be reviewed. If you are not participating in the Portfolio Showcase, then you will send us a minimum of 3 to a maximum of 12 illustrations for the critiquer to review. (Please note: No text will be critiqued during a portfolio review.) Please see below for more details.
WHEN MATERIALS ARE SUBMITTED
For all manuscripts and dummies, you will submit your materials online five (5) weeks prior to the conference to give your critiquer time to prepare their feedback. Scroll down for instructions.
For portfolio reviews, while you can sign-up until registration cut-off, if you would like your best chance at your preferred selections and especially an agent or AD critique, you will need to submit 3 images that are representative of your work ideally by March 25th so that we can best fit you with the right portfolio reviewer. By April 28th you will need to have either uploaded your images to the Portfolio Showcase if you are participating or have emailed images you’d like to be reviewed to Austinfirstname.lastname@example.org if you are not. Scroll down for more detailed instructions.
WHAT HAPPENS IN YOUR CRITIQUE OR REVIEW
On a day after the conference (yet to be determined), you will meet with your critiquer for a 10-minute one-on-one via Zoom when 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.
Manuscripts that are critiqued are automatically eligible for Austin SCBWI’s Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Award. If you would prefer not to be included in the award, please note that when you submit your pages.
During the Zoom portfolio review, you will discuss your portfolio illustrations with the faculty. This will be done by you sharing your screen to show your work. They might already have reviewed your portfolio or images and have it open on their computer, but make sure to have your portfolio/images open on your computer and ready to share before your review. More instructions will be sent to you by email before the conference.
Please note: The one-on-one-meeting review time will be after the conference days. Portfolio Review times cannot be changed. It you miss your Portfolio Review time, it can not be rescheduled.
Scroll down for submission information.
Who will critique/review my work?
At Austin SCBWI, we do curated critiques and portfolio reviews, where we match manuscripts and portfolios with the best faculty member. We have a committee who looks at every submission and creates the best match. This means, you’ll get a quality critique with a faculty member who’s best suited to helping you take your work to the next level.
Can I request a specific faculty member?
Yes, you can. When filling out the online critique and/or portfolio review submission form (details in the how to submit sections below), you will have the opportunity to list up to three (3) faculty members. While these will be taken into account, we cannot guarantee that you will get one of your choices. However, you can rest assured that our committee will work hard to match your submission with the best faculty member. We want you to succeed! If you request a faculty member, we highly recommend you research the faculty BEFORE you submit your materials. Make sure you request a faculty member who critiques your types of manuscript.
For portfolio reviews, if you submit your portfolio before our faculty is finalized, we will reach out to you via email when the faculty is in place so that you can provide your preferred choices. Reviewing the faculty choices is important to find the right fit for your work. View the faculty bios here.
How do we decide which faculty member will critique each submission?
Austin SCBWI has a committee of experts dedicated to looking at every manuscript, dummy and portfolio and matching them with the best faculty member. Assignments are made based on faculty preferences (i.e. MG manuscripts will go to a faculty member who knows MG books well), quality of the work (i.e. whether it’s ready for an agent or an editor or whether a critique with one of the authors on our faculty will help get it ready for sub after the conference) and whether the creator is agented (that information is taken during registration). Since our faculty have limited critique slots, preference will also be given to early registrations as well as SCBWI members. Please note, everyone who purchases a critique will get matched. If slots for, say, picture books fill up, we will bring in extra faculty do the remaining critiques.
When will I know my critiquer/reviewer and critique/review time?
You’ll receive the name of your critiquer/reviewer and your critique/review time in an email a few days prior to the conference. Please note: the one-on-one-meeting critique time will be after the conference.
Can I sign up for more than one critique?
Yes! When you register, you’ll have the option to choose a critique for a variety of categories, including MG, YA, PB, or dummy. You may choose one or more categories, and up to three (3) critiques within the same category. If you choose, say, a PB critique, you’ll then have the opportunity to choose a second PB critique. And if you choose a second PB critique, you’ll have the opportunity to choose a third PB critique. The same goes with every category. If you would like to add a forth critique in any category, please email Regional Advisor Samantha M Clark. Please read our Conference FAQ for more.
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, please email Regional Advisor Samantha M Clark to add a critique or portfolio review. Please read our Conference FAQ for more.
What if I have to cancel?
Critiques can only be canceled before the March 25 submission deadline. Please read our Conference FAQ for more.
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 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
• 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.
Name your file in this format: CATEGORY_KEYWORD FROM YOUR TITLE_YOUR NAME.doc, where category would be one of: PB (picture book), ER (early reader), CB (chapter book), GN (graphic novel), MG (middle grade) or YA (young adult). For example: Samantha M Clark’s The Boy, The Boat, and The Beast could be MG_BEAST_SAMANTHAMCLARK.doc
For any other questions on format, email Assistant Regional Advisor Lindsay Leslie.
What to Submit for a Dummy Critique
Author/illustrators, save your picture book dummy (pictures and text in the book’s layout) as a .pdf with a maximum file size of 10MB.
Double-page spreads are recommended (i.e. 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.
Name your file in this format: DUMMY_KEYWORD FROM YOUR TITLE_YOUR NAME.pdf For example: Lindsay Leslie’s DUSK EXPLORERS could be DUMMY_DUSK_LINDSAYLESLIE.pdf
For any other questions on format, email Illustrator Coordinator Laura Fisk.
How to Submit Pages for a Manuscript or Dummy Critique
Once you have your .doc for a manuscript or .pdf for a dummy ready in accordance with the instructions above, click here to fill out the form and submit your file.
If you have multiple critiques, fill out the form for each one separately. Do NOT include materials for multiple manuscripts or dummies in one form submission.
NOTE: All critique materials MUST be submitted through the form by 11:59 p.m. CST on March 25, 2022.
How to Submit Work for Your Portfolio Review
For the curating committee:
You will submit 3 images that are representative of your work. Please note that these images are only for the committee and not for your portfolio review. You can either submit these when you sign up for your portfolio review or by emailing them to email@example.com
You may submit your images until April 28, however, if you are interested in a review with one of our agents or art directors, you MUST submit your images and faculty requests by March 25. The earlier you submit the three images the better a chance you have being paired with the faculty of your choice. You can fill out the form here .
For the work that will be reviewed:
If you are participating in the Portfolio Showcase, that will be the work that will be reviewed. During registration you can choose to participate in the showcase or email us later. The Portfolio Showcase is run through Google Photos and you will receive login information prior to the conference and can upload you images. Directions are here.
If you are not participating in the showcase, please select at least 3 works, with a maximum of 12 works, for your critiquer to review with you. Please plan to put your images in a google doc, google slide presentation, or multipage pdf and email Illustration Cooridinator Laura Fisk at firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be forwarded onto the appropriate faculty.
The deadline for your images in the portfolio showcase or to be emailed is April 28, by midnight.
Fill out the form for your portfolio review here.
Other Information About Critiques
Critiquers will read and make notes about your pages prior to the conference. During your 10-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.
Critique meeting times will be scheduled after the April 30-May 1 conference dates. You will be notified of your day and time via email closer to the conference. Your critique meeting time 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 login into the critique Zoom meeting at least five (5) minutes before your scheduled critique time. Instructions for your Zoom critique meeting will be emailed to you.