Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Critique Submission Tips

SCBWI Canada East

Tips for Submitting a Manuscript for a Professional Critique

When submitting your manuscript for a critique, please:

1.  Always submit in the exact format asked for in the rules. This may vary depending on the conference, however, it’s normally a maximum of ten double-spaced pages in an easy-to-read 12-pt font. Fancy fonts make your words very hard to read.

2.  Send only the number of pages asked for. If the manuscript is longer than 10 pages, only the first 10 pages will be provided to the reviewer.

3.  Please provide a title page (this will not be included in the total page count). On the title page, please include your name and contact information, along with the genre: PB, MG, or YA, and fiction or nonfiction. Please also indicate whether your manuscript is a work in progress or in need of a final polish before submission.

4.  Critiques are offered to make your manuscripts stronger so you can get them ready to submit to a publishing house. Sometimes you will not get an editor or agent critique. Don’t feel bad. There are reasons why this might happen.

  • *There are simply too many very strong pieces submitted that year.
  • *You’ve submitted something that still needs work before it goes to an editor. Remember, a published author or another writer might be the best person to help you get your manuscript ready. If your submission is not quite up to an editor’s or agent’s standards and you get an editor, they will likely not ask to see it again—and your chance with that editor is blown. Although editors and agents usually open their submission piles up to attendees for a period of time after a conference, they will remember your submission and may become biased against it. If an author critiques your manuscript and helps you to fix it, then you can submit a stronger manuscript to the editor and your chances of getting published are much better.
  • *You may have submitted something that doesn’t fit into the category of what any of our editors or agents actually publish or represent.

5. After your critique, don’t just revise those ten pages. Use the critique to revise the entire manuscript. (Obviously, this refers to novels—a whole picture book has likely been fully critiqued).