Manuscript Critiques

Whether you have a picture book, middle grade, or young adult manuscript, a critique by a professional is sure to make your story stronger. Manuscript critiques offer honest and direct feedback on your work, along with suggestions that you can put to use polishing your work. Manuscripts submitted for critique are automatically entered in our region’s Golden Pen competition, and the winner receives a free registration to our next conference or signature event.

Before registering for a manuscript critique, please visit our faculty bios to find the best fit for your work.

Manuscript Critique, In-person

You’ll have 15 minutes of in-person, one-on-one time with one of our experienced faculty members to review their feedback and ask any additional questions you may have regarding your manuscript.

Please be aware you may miss a portion of a session in order to receive feedback about your manuscript. You will be notified of your appointment time and location in the week prior to the conference. Critiques will not be rescheduled or refunded.

Manuscript Critique, Written Only

Written critiques provide you with written feedback from our talented faculty. Note that there is no meeting (virtual or in-person) with these critiques. Instead, your selected faculty member will read and evaluate your manuscript, and provide written feedback to help take your work to the next level. Feedback for written critiques will be emailed the week after the conference, so you will not miss any conference content to receive your critique.

Manuscript Requirements

Pages must be submitted by July 31. Complete submission information will be emailed to you shortly after you register. All manuscripts (both in-person and written) must conform to the information provided or they will be disqualified and payment forfeited.

Conference attendees may submit either:

One Picture Book Manuscript

  • Submit one complete manuscript
  • No more than 1000 words (fiction) or 2000 words (nonfiction)

–OR–

One Early Reader, Middle Grade, or YA Manuscript

  • Ten pages from one manuscript
  • OPTIONAL: a one or two-page synopsis

–OR–

One Graphic Novel Manuscript (Author Only)

  • Ten pages from one manuscript
  • OPTIONAL: a one or two-page synopsis

One Graphic Novel Manuscript (Author/Illustrator)

  • Ten dummy pages, 1-3 pages of finished art
  • OPTIONAL: a one or two-page synopsis

Picture Book Dummy Critiques

NEW! This year, some of our faculty are offering PB Dummy Critiques! Author/illustrators (or illustrator/authors) may submit their picture book dummy, with complete text and illustrations, for feedback.

Picture Book Dummies must be submitted by July 31. Complete submission information will be emailed to you shortly after you register.

Picture Book Dummy Critique, In-person

You’ll have 15 minutes of in-person, one-on-one time with one of our experienced faculty members to review their feedback and ask any additional questions you may have regarding your picture book dummy.

Please be aware you may miss a portion of a session in order to receive feedback about your manuscript. You will be notified of your appointment time and location in the week prior to the conference. Critiques will not be rescheduled or refunded.

Picture Book Dummy Critique, Written Only

Written critiques provide you with written feedback from our talented faculty. Note that there is no meeting (virtual or in-person) with these critiques. Instead, your selected faculty member will read and evaluate your picture book dummy, and provide written feedback to help take your work to the next level. Feedback for written critiques will be emailed the week after the conference, so you will not miss any conference content to receive your critique.

Picture Book Dummy Requirements

  • Submit one complete 32- or 40-page picture book dummy as PDF
  • No more than 1000 words (fiction) or 2000 words (nonfiction)

Portfolio Critiques

Portfolio Critiques give you 20 minutes of in-person, one-on-one time with one of our experienced faculty members to review your strengths, assess your weaknesses, and point you in the direction you need.

Portfolio Requirements

Please bring one standard “book format” portfolio that meets the following requirements:

  • Size: Up to 15″ length and width when closed
  • Length: 12-15 pages

Please do NOT bring oversized portfolios; original, framed, or 3-dimensional art; easels, stands or props of any kind; unusual novelty formats, such as boxes; published books.

Please be aware you may miss a portion of a session in order to receive one-on-one feedback about your portfolio. You will be notified of your appointment time and location in the week prior to the conference. Critiques will not be rescheduled or refunded.