Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Critique Guidelines


These guidelines are for manuscript and portfolio critiques at conferences. Your local critique group(s) can help you polish your work for presentation at a conference where you should always present your best work.


























DEADLINE for receipt of submission for conferences is typically 30 days before the conference.

Southern Breeze conference attendees may pay an additional fee to receive a formal critique. Send a complete manuscript of one picture book, one entire short story, or up to six related poems in one collection. For longer works, send only complete chapters, up to 10 pages. If you choose to include a one page synopsis, this counts as one of the 10 pages.

Manuscripts must be properly formatted to be critiqued. 
Please refer to the SCBWI publication, “From Keyboard to Printed Page,” available at: Click on “Resource Library,” then “Getting Started,” then “From Keyboard to Printed Page.” Do not include any illustrations or dummies. Only text will be forwarded to the critiquer. 

Conference speakers and other published PAL authors perform Face-to-Face critiques. We can guarantee a professional critique; we cannot guarantee a face-to-face critique with an editor, agent, or publisher. The critiquer will make notes to bring to the critique. The critiquer will meet privately with you for 12 minutes to discuss your work. 

SCBWI members are given formal Face-to-Face critique slots before non-members due to limited availability. Critique slots fill up quickly. Register early! If your manuscript is not critiqued, you will recieve a refund of the critique fee.

All Written-Only Formal Critiques will be performed by an editor or agent. While every effort will be made to place these with conference faculty, there is no guarantee that your manuscript will be critiqued by a faculty member. Depending on the number of written only critiques, some may also be performed by editors or agents who will not be speaking at the conference. Please note: it is inappropriate to approach a faculty member who has provided a written only critique with questions about your manuscript at the conference.

FEE: Approximately $45 (fees may vary per conference)

DEADLINE: Check dates for each of our two annual conferences.
Mss for formal critiques must be received by midnight Central time on the date specified. 

After you have completed your registration and paid for the formal critique, email your manuscript to:

For Face-to-Face critiques:

For Written Only critiques:

The subject line should be: “Formal Critique – [YOUR TITLE] [category]

Your manuscript should be submitted as an attachment in a document form (.rtf, doc, docx) and not included in the body of the email.

A confirmation will be emailed to you when the manuscript has been received and determined to be properly formatted.

Conference attendees may pay an additional fee to receive a formal, one-on-one critique. Illustrators are to bring portfolios to the conference. Do not mail portfolios. Illustrators will be assigned an appointment time to meet their critiquer privately for 12 minutes to discuss the work.

Portfolios should contain up to ten pieces of art that show versatility and uniqueness of the artist’s style and strengths. A book dummy and/or 3-5 pieces of artwork/sketches are okay.

FEE: Approximately $45 (fees may vary per conference)

 Do not mail your portfolios. Bring them to the conference. 

































Writers may bring several copies of a manuscript for informal critiques lead by various Southern Breeze members. Those interested in participating will break into small groups in which they will read each other’s work and make suggestions to strengthen the manuscripts.

From SCBWI: Linda Sue Park,  “The Give and Take of Critique” 


Artists may also bring individual artwork, sketches or portfolios for informal critiques lead by a Southern Breeze member(s). Those interested in participating may break into a group(s) in which they will view each other’s work and make suggestions to strengthen the art. 

From SCBWI: Karen Stormer Brooks, “Critiquing Your Own Portfolio Presentation”


















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Photo: Formal Manuscript Critique
Lionel Bender Jo Kittinger



































Photos: Informal Critiques
Led by Robyn Hood Black (above)

Liz Conrad (below)