SCBWI

Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2017 Houston SCBWI Conference Critique Guidelines

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Manuscript Critique Guidelines 

Houston is pleased to offer three ways for you to have a writing critique as well as a portfolio critique. A critique with a Speaker Faculty of two editors and three agents is $40. That will give you a twelve minute face to face evaluation of the work as well as written comments. A critique with one of our well-known local faculty is $25 and will give you the same feedback. For these manuscripts, some will be emailed and some will be printed and snail mailed. And an e-critique with an agent or editor is $35Carefully read below for your critique format. 

You may register for one Speaker Faculty critique, one e-critique, and as many local author critiques as you desire

Read below regarding formats, addresses, and deadlines.

 

PLEASE READ THESE MANUSCRIPT INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY OR YOUR MANUSCRIPT MAY NOT BE CRITIQUED.
 
THE DEADLINE FOR PRINTED MANUSCRIPTS IS POSTMARKED BY USPS OR FEDEX OR OTHER BY SATURDAY, AUGUST 26, 2017. Send them to Susan Hastings, 93 Vela Road, Huntsville, TX 77340.  Include a note if you are submitting a manuscript and want it considered for the Joan Lowery Nixon award. INCLUDE YOUR COVER LETTER IF YOU WRITE ONE AND YOUR SYNOPSIS FOR A CHAPTER BOOK, MIDDLE GRADE OR YOUNG ADULT NOVEL OR A LONGER NONFICTION WORK.
 

THE DEADLINE FOR SPEAKER AND LOCAL AUTHOR EMAILED MANUSCRIPTS IS MIDNIGHT SATURDAY, AUGUST 26, 2017. Send to Alicia Salazar using SCBWIcritiques@gmail.comYou may send your ten manuscript pages as an attachment. You may put your cover letter and synopsis in the manuscript attachment or as separate ones. If you are submitting a manuscript and want it considered for the Joan Lowery Nixon award, state that in the body of the email.
For Subject Line: SCBWI Houston. Last name critiquer. Your Last Name. Your First Name
Example: SCBWI Houston.Alexander.Riser.Mary

 

THE DEADLINE FOR e-critque MANUSCRIPTS IS MIDNIGHT SATURDAY, AUGUST 26, 2017. Send to Jessica Capelle using scbwihoucritiques@gmail.com
You may send your ten manuscript pages as an attachment. You may put your cover letter and synopsis in the manuscript attachment or as separate ones.  Jessica will forward the manuscripts to each of the faculty members, will receive the comments, and hopefully have them forwarded back to you at the time of the conference. Correction: E-critiques are NOT eligible for the Joan Lowery Nixon award. 
For Subject Line: SCBWI Houston. Last name critiquer. Your Last Name. Your First Name
Example: SCBWI Houston.Alexander.Capelle.Jessica
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ATTACH YOUR MANUSCRIPT TO THE EMAIL AND IF YOU HAVE A SYNOPSIS, INCLUDE IT WITH THE MANUSCRIPT BUT YOU DO NOT HAVE TO COUNT IT AS ONE OF YOUR TEN PAGES. YOU MAY ATTACH A SEPARATE COVER LETTER.
 
THE FOLLOWING CRITIQUES ARE TO BE SENT IN PRINTED FORMAT to Susan:
COVILLE        HESCHKE        ROBERTO
HOWATT        DUVAL              PREBLE
 
THE FOLLOWING CRITIQUES ARE TO BE SENT IN EMAIL FORMAT to Alicia:
LE            DOMINGUEZ          D. JONES
ALLEN        GARLAND            MORRIS  
 

THE FOLLOWING CRITIQUES ARE TO BE SENT IN EMAIL FORMAT to Jessica:
ALEXANDER         CASCARDI       K. JONES             SOMBERG

 

FORMAT FOR MANUSCRIPTS:

You must use the name you used to register, even if you write under a different name.

What to Submit for Manuscript Critique 
1) For each critique please submit one piece of up to 10 pages. This critique is for the first ten pages of a single manuscript, not a section in the middle and not selections from multiple
works. The submission should be treated as if it is a single submission to an editor at a publishing house. Be sure the manuscript is grammatically correct and polished to the best of your writing ability. If you submit more than ten pages, those over the limit will be eliminated.
2) Format ALL manuscripts in 12-point Times New Roman.
3) In the upper left corner of your manuscript: NAME, ADDRESS, CITY/STATE, EMAIL ADDRESS AND GENRE [YA, MG, PB, CHAPTER BOOK, NF]
4) Please use a single envelope for your manuscript. If you are sending by FedEx or Priority Mail, you do not need a separate envelope inside the mailing envelope.
5) The name on your manuscript must match the name you registered under even if you write under a pseudonym.
6) For ALL Picture Books (fiction and nonfiction) and Poetry: Submit only the first TEN (10) pages of your manuscript, or a complete manuscript for a single picture book under ten pages..No synopsis is needed. Do NOT include Back Matter.
7) For ALL Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Chapter Books (fiction and nonfiction): Submit only the first TEN (10) pages, even if it cuts off mid-chapter, plus a ONE-page synopsis.You MUST include the synopsis or we cannot accept your submission.
8) Include a cover letter (no longer than a half page text) addressed to your critiquer. The cover letter and synopsis are in addition to the 10 pages.
 
 
For more information on how to correctly format your manuscript, look at From Keyboard to Printed Page SCBWI. It may be accessed from scbwi.org or here. 
For novels or longer works, you should 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. A synopsis is single-spaced and no longer than one page. 
If you have more than one electronic critique, send a separate email submission for each critique, labeled as above. 
 
What to Submit for Picture Book Dummy Critique 

9) Illustrators submitting a picture book dummy for critique need to be sure to have at least two spreads in full color and finish. None of the dummy book should be original art. The dummy should be bound in a minimal way so as to not interfere with placement in an envelope (no spiral binding).

The following people will accept picture book dummies to critique: Dominguez, Heschke, D. Jones, K. Jones, Roberto, Rago, Alexander, Duval, Howatt, and Morris.

 

 

 
The following links will assist formatting manuscript page for those critiquers who want their documents in e-form: 
 
For those who will be mailing in their PB dummies, these are good resources:
 
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 part of the sessions. Critique times may not be changed on the conference 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. Please go to the critique check-in area at least 5 minutes before your scheduled critique time. 
 
Manuscripts that are critiqued are eligible for Joan Lowery Nixon Writing Mentor Award. The MG or YA winner this year will be mentored by award-winning author, teacher Joy Preble. If a PB is the winner, Kathy Duval will be the mentor.
 
 

Agent and Editor Pitches

You must be registered for an agent/editor pitch. They will be held at the end of the conference on Saturday. These pitch sessions cost $20 and are 3-minute time slots when you may either pitch your story to the agent or editor, or simply ask questions about the industry or their agency or publishing house. The session allows you guaranteed time with that person. The pitch is only one to three sentences. The pitch should be a 30-second elevator or book jacket pitch of your book. You may not read it, so practice and be ready to go. It does not guarantee a book critique, so do not have your manuscript in hand.
If an Agent/editor pitch has open slots, they can be purchased the day of the conference. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to make the most of your critique time…

Manuscript and Portfolio Critiques
1. Decide what you want to accomplish in your consultation…
Ask questions about improving your project?
Get suggestions for marketing?
Remember, these are critique sessions. Though an editor, art director or agent may wish to see a complete/revised
manuscript or portfolio later, it is highly unlikely that you will sell a book just based on this meeting.
2. Be prepared…
To be on time – appointments are booked back to back. If you are late, you still have to end on time.
Arrive early, so you can start on time
Depart graciously and promptly when your time is up – others are waiting, or the editor/art director/agent/
author is scheduled for a workshop or much needed break
Missed appointments can not be made up or receive a fee refund
To tell…
Genre
Targeted audience
The word count and/or number of chapters
How your story ends
What is unique about your book/story
To be concise – practice what you’re going to say
To ask the questions you want to ask
To take notes
3. Be professional…
Organized
Courteous
Responsible
4. Be aware…
That you may have to leave a workshop early or come to a workshop late because of your consultation.
Try to enter/exit as unobtrusively as possible.
5. Afterwards…
Remember writer/illustrator-to-industry-pro etiquette:
Do not ask an editor/art director/agent to take your full manuscript or portfolio home, or to look at it on conference day.
Do not telephone an editor/art director/agent unless invited to do so – mailing addresses are in your registration packet.
You and other attendees at the conference may submit to editors, art directors or agents after the conference.
When submitting, in your cover letter refer to your attendance at the conference, and to your consultation (if applicable). Mention why you think your enclosed work might be of interest, or thank the editor, art director or agent for inviting you to submit it.