Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Manuscript Critiques and Submissions


Want to know what you specifically can do to make your work shine? SCBWI members attending the full conference may purchase a total of one paid manuscript critique. ALL conference attendees are welcome to participate in the free optional peer group critiques. For portfolio critiques, see the Illustrator Opportunities page.


FREE Optional Peer Group Critiques

Attendees registering by February 5 who wish to participate in peer critiques will self-select into one of the following categories: PB, MG, YA, graphic novel, or illustration. For nonfiction please choose the level which most closely aligns with your target audience. Participants will be assigned to a critique group by the critique coordinator. Illustrators, bring your portfolio. Writers will exchange copies of the first five pages of their manuscript via email. Critiques will be exchanged in person at the conference. Groups will be around five people each. Keep in mind that you may register for both a free critique and a paid critique. (See the link at the bottom of this page for examples of how to format your manuscript for critiques.)


PAID Critiques

Written-Only Critique: Choose Your Own Critiquer $79

Written-Only Critique: Critiquer Chosen for You $55

Choose one of these options under “Conference Extras” when you register online. Be sure to register early! Choose-your-own spots fill up especially fast! Once slots are full, these options will no longer be available. (Please note that if a faculty member’s choose-your-own slots are full, it does NOT automatically mean they have no more room left for critiques. The conference committee reserves a specific number of slots with each faculty member for those who don’t choose their own critiquer.) Critiques might be with an agent, editor, or, in the case of some PB dummies, an art director who is attending the conference, but some written-only critiques will be given by an acquiring editor who will not necessarily be in attendance at this year’s conference. (See the link at the bottom of this page for examples of how to format your manuscript for critiques.)


Paid Critique Submissions

For your paid critique, you may submit:

• one picture book manuscript

• OR one picture book manuscript with dummy (for illustrators only)

• OR up to 10 pages of poems

• OR a one-page synopsis of a fiction or nonfiction project + the first 10 pages of the corresponding manuscript.

• OR a one-page synopsis of a graphic novel project + the first 10 pages of the corresponding manuscript (a one-page art sample is optional).

Submit your correctly formatted manuscript to no later than January 5 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern/10:59 p.m. Central. Online conference registration must be completed and all fees must be paid by this time as well. (See the link at the bottom of this page for examples of how to format your manuscript for critiques.) All submissions will receive a personal confirmation within 48 hours. PLEASE DO NOT email asking if your submission has been received BEFORE this window expires.

We will not be able to swap manuscripts after you’ve sent yours to us. If your manuscript arrives after 11:59 p.m. EDT/10:59 p.m. CDT on January 5, you will be informed. This fee is nonrefundable.


Manuscript Formatting

1) Writers who are not illustrators DO NOT need illustrations for their picture books. A correctly formatted manuscript is the only necessary submission. Author-illustrators may submit a correctly formatted manuscript with or without a dummy.

2) Your manuscript must ARRIVE in our inbox ON or BEFORE January 5, 2022. Manuscripts received after that day cannot be accepted.

3) In the subject line of your email, please include: the type of critique you’ve chosen (i.e. “choose your own critiquer,” critiquer chosen for you”), as well as your manuscript’s genre (i.e., fantasy, mystery, contemporary, graphic novel) and category (i.e., picture book, middle grade, young adult, nonfiction). Please name your manuscript file as follows—LASTNAME.TITLE.YEAR—and send it in .docx format. For picture book dummies, name your PDF as follows: LASTNAME.TITLEDUMMY.YEAR

4) Format ALL manuscripts in double-spaced 12-point Times New Roman. More formatting questions? See the manuscript samples: PB Sample and MG-YA Sample

5) ALL submissions must include a title page with your contact information and the category of your manuscript (YA, MG, PB, chapter book, graphic novel, or NF) in the upper left-hand corner. Please note, it must be only one category, there is no MG/YA per publishing guidelines. If you are represented by an agent, please note that on the title page as well. The title page does NOT count as one of your ten pages.

6) The name on your manuscript MUST match the name you registered under for the conference even if you write under a pseudonym.

7) For picture books: submit up to 10 pages of ONE picture book manuscript. No synopsis is needed.

8) For picture book dummies: submit one full dummy as a PDF (regardless of page number) AND a .docx file of your manuscript only, formatted as listed in step 3 above.

9) For middle grade, young adult, nonfiction, chapter books, and graphic novels: submit a title page, the first 10 pages of your manuscript, double-spaced (even if it cuts off mid-chapter) plus a short synopsis no longer one page (single-spaced), all in the same document.

10) For poetry: this includes rhyming picture books, novels in verse, and stand-alone poetry collections. Poetry submissions should conform to the picture book and novel guidelines above; however, they may be single-spaced with a double space between stanzas, per industry standards. Stand-alone collections (i.e. a group of poems intended to be published as one book) must have a page break at the end of each poem. Note that your ten pages can have no more than 2500 words.

11) If you have had a critique at a previous conference with one of our faculty, please add that information (the name of the reviewer) in your email so we can avoid scheduling you with someone you’ve already met with.


Paid Portfolio Critique Formatting 

(Illustrators note: this is different from Showcase formatting)

Due to the fact that all critiques are written-only in 2022, portfolios must be submitted in advance by February 5th in the following format:

• Collect 10-15 pieces into a single PDF file with a file name of FIRSTNAME_LASTNAME_PORTFOLIO_REVIEW_2022

• Each page of the PDF should be numbered for ease of reference by the critiquer.

• Include a cover page (in addition to the 10-15 pages of art) with the following information:

First Name Last Name



Phone number

Submit your correctly formatted portfolio to  by February 5th, 2022