IMPORTANT! This information was written for the 2023 Conference, and will change as we update the website for 2024!

Portfolio Critiques

Congratulations! You have a portfolio—but what skills do you need to learn next that will help get you from portfolio to contract? Our Portfolio Critiques give you the chance to find out. You’ll have 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.

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.

Portfolio Requirements

Please bring one portfolio that meets the following requirements:

  • Size: Up to 15″ length and width when closed
  • Length: 12-15 pages. Portfolios over 15 pages will not be accepted
  • Labeled with your name
  • Only portfolios in standard “book” formats will be accepted

To avoid disqualification and forfeit your payment, please do NOT bring:

  • Oversized portfolios (whether in length or width)
  • Non-secured portfolio (images not securely attached to portfolio)
  • Original, framed, or 3-dimensional art
  • Easels, stands or props of any kind
  • Portfolios in unusual novelty formats, such as boxes
  • Published books (You may display spreads from your published books within your portfolio)

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 a few priceless golden nuggets of 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.

Manuscript Critique, In-person + Written

Please be aware you may miss a portion of a session in order to receive one-on-one 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

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 critiquer will read and evaluate your manuscript, and provide written feedback, emailed to you by September 30, to help take your work to the next level.

Manuscript Requirements

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

  • Up to 10 pages from one manuscript
  • OPTIONAL: a one or two-page synopsis