SCBWI

Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Manuscript & Portfolio Critiques

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Manuscript & Portfolio Critiques are an important part of the SCBWI Australia & New Zealand Conference and are designed to help you develop your ideas and gain editing insights to enrich and improve your work. There is the additional potential to develop a relationship with a publishing house with the ultimate goal of publication.

 

This year delegates attending the Conference are offered a number of exciting options:

 

Manuscript Critiques

Face-to-face Manuscript Critiques held during the Conference with a range of editors and publishers from major Australian and US publishing houses. SOLD OUT

International Online Manuscript Critiques with editors of major US publishing houses or US Literary Agencies. These will take place prior to the Conference. SOLD OUT

 

Portfolio Critiques

Face-to-face Portfolio Critiques held during the Conference with a range of art directors and publishers from major Australian publishing houses. SOLD OUT

International Online Portfolio Critiques with editors or art directors of major US publishing houses or US Literary Agencies. These will take place prior to the Conference. SOLD OUT

Skype Portfolio Critique Session with Award Winning Illustrator Paul O. Zelinsky. This session will be held on Tues 6 September as a break out session for illustrators. We will chat with Paul O. Zelinsky via Skype and he will lead us through portfolio critiques for a small number of illustrators. Tickets for the critiques will be limited but all delegates are invited to observe the Skype session. SOLD OUT

 


 

Face-to-face Manuscript Critiques

Face-to-face Manuscript Critiques are held on Monday and Tuesday during the Conference with a range of editors and publishers from major Australian and US publishing houses.

 

Assessors include:

Zoe WaltonPublisher, Children’s and Young Adult, Penguin Random House Australia

Lisa BerrymanAssociate Publisher, HarperCollins

Clare HallifaxPublishing Manager, Scholastic Australia

Sophie MassonPublisher, Christmas Tree Press

Tara WeikumVice President, HarperCollins USA

Maryann BallantynePublisher, Black Dog Books an imprint of Walker Books Australia

Sue WhitingEditor at Large, Walker Books Australia

Suzanne O'SullivanCommissioning Editor, Hachette

Chren ByngPublisher, HarperCollins (picture books and middle grade)

Heather CurdieSenior Commissioning Editor, Penguin Young Readers

Holly TooheyPublishing Executive, Penguin Random House

Mary VerneyEditor, Walker Books Australia

Ana Vivas—Publisher, Scholastic Books and Co-Publisher Omnibus Picture Books, (imprint of Scholastic Australia)

Diane Evans—Publisher, Big Sky Publishing

Sharon Evans—Big Sky Publishing

Anouska JonesPublisher, EK Books

Frances Plumpton—Literary Agent
 

 

Process of Critiques:

• At time of booking you will be able to choose your preference from the available time slots.

• Following your booking you will be supplied a website link where you can provide your details, specify your genre and upload your manuscript. Please take note of the July 1st deadline and the format for submissions.

• Assessors will be matched by suitability for specified genre and their availability for time slots.

• We will endeavour to advise you of the name of your assessor prior to the Conference, however, the schedule for critiques will be posted on the Conference Notice Board located next to the Registration Table on level 2 of the Menzies Hotel. Please note that we occasionally need to make changes to the schedule due to last minute changes in assessor availability.

 

Bookings and Submission Guidelines:

Critiques are 20 minutes and are only available to attending delegates. Critiques are non-refundable and non-transferable, so please choose carefully.

Each critique costs $70 and places are limited. SOLD OUT

 

Following your booking, CLICK HERE to submit your Manuscript. Please take note of the July 1st deadline and the format for submissions. Unfortunately, submissions that are late or that do not conform to the specifications cannot be accepted.

 

Your Manuscript critique submission should include the following:

• An overview of your project to a maximum of 1 page including your name, email and website (if applicable)

AND IN THE SAME DOCUMENT ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:

• An outline of your project idea with synopsis and short writing samples for comment and discussion to a maximum of 10 pages, double spaced in 12pt Times New Roman or similar

OR

• An extract of your draft manuscript to a maximum of 10 pages, double spaced in 12pt Times New Roman or similar

OR

• A full picture book draft text to a maximum of 10 pages, double spaced in 12pt Times Roman or similar

Please supply your manuscript file as Word or pdf and label including Surname, Title (abbreviate if necessary), Genre (PB, C, YA) and indicate if it is Non-Fiction NF: ex. Surname_Title_PB_NF

We use this information to assist in matching to an appropriate assessor.

 


 

Face-to-face Portfolio Critiques

Face-to-face Portfolio Critiques are held on Monday 5 September during the Conference with a range of art directors and publishers from major Australian publishing houses.

 

Assessors include:

Kimberley BennettCommissioning Editor, Random House Australia

Donna RawlinsDesigner/Illustrator, Walker Books Australia

Anouska JonesPublisher, EK Publishing

Ana VivasPublisher, Scholastic Australia and Co-Publisher Omnibus Picture Books, Scholastic Australia

Chren Byng—Publisher, HarperCollins (picture books and middle grade)

Suzanne O'Sullivan—Commissioning Editor, Hachette

 

Process of Critiques:

• At time of booking you will be able to choose your preference from the available time slots.

• Assessors will be matched by their availability for time slots.

• We will endeavour to advise you of the name of your assessor prior to the Conference, however, the schedule for critiques will be posted on the Conference Notice Board located next to the Registration Table on level 2 of the Menzies Hotel. Please note that we occasionally need to make changes to the schedule due to last minute changes in assessor availability.

 

Bookings:

Critiques are 20 minutes and are only available to attending delegates. Critiques are non-refundable and non-transferable, so please choose carefully.

Each critique costs $70 and places are limited. SOLD OUT!

 

 

What to bring:

• A portfolio of work

OR

• If a writer-illustrator an illustrated picture book dummy with text.

 


 

International Online Manuscript and Portfolio Critiques

This year we are offering attending delegates the unique opportunity to book International Online Critiques with their choice of available publishers, editors, art directors and agents from major US publishing houses or and US Literary Agencies. These Critiques will take place prior to the Conference and are available for both manuscripts and portfolios.

 

International Online Critique Assessors include:

Tiffany LiaoAssociate Editor, Razorbill an imprint of Penguin Random House US

Tiffany Liao is an Associate Editor at Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin Random House, working on young adult and middle grade of all types. Prior to that, she was at HarperCollins Children's. Tiffany has worked with major authors. Born and raised in California, Tiffany is now based in New York City.

Tiffany is looking for ambitious, high concept YA/MG books with that irresistible hook, but has she a soft spot for a beautiful literary story. She also does some book development, and likes to acquire projects that have an unforgettable voice, powerful emotions, and plenty of heart and humour—elements that can't be developed. Tiffany is very committed to acquiring stories featuring a diverse range of characters and experiences.

LIMITED NUMBER author critiques – middle grade and YA

 

Essie WhiteLiterary Agent, Storm Literary Agency

Storm Literary Agency primarily represents fiction and nonfiction picture books, biographies also or nonfiction picture books that read like an excellent and exciting story. While they represent some middle grade books, that is not their real focus.  No YA literature.

Essie White is keenly interested in picture book author/illustrators.

LIMITED NUMBER picture book critiques with interest on author/illustrator.

 

Jim HooverArt Director, Viking USA

Jim Hoover is an Associate Art Director at Viking Children’s Books in New York. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design in Illustration, Jim has been in publishing now for over fifteen years. He has designed and art directed hundreds of titles including Shy, Fish & Snail, Ella, Tea Party Rules, Dylan the Villain, Pretty Monsters, John Lennon: All I Want Is the Truth, Stuck in the Middle, Mission Control: This is Apollo, Marching for Freedom, Titanic Sinks!

“I find with picture books especially, the more open you are, the more of a chance you'll find it.”

LIMITED NUMBER illustrator portfolio critiques

 

Daniel NayeriDirector Children’s Publishing, Workman

Daniel Nayeri was formerly digital editorial director at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt who is now Director of Children’s Publishing at Workman USA which creates quirky and joyful nonfiction for children, game books, inventive board books, and  "objets d'art pour les infants géniaux et terribles," art objects for great and terrible children.” Nayeri worked on digital products for Curious George, illustrator David Wiesner, and The Princess Bride. Nayeri has also authored his own books, including the YA collection Straw House, Wood House, Brick House, Blow, one story of which has been optioned by the producers of Shrek as a feature-length animated film.

Daniel is looking for quirky and joyful nonfiction for children, game books, inventive board books, and books you can only describe as "objets d'art pour les infants géniaux et terribles," art objects for great and terrible children.”

LIMITED NUMBER illustrator-author critiques

 

Andrew HarwellCommissioning Editor, HarperCollins

Andrew Harwell is a commissioning editor for middle grade and YA fictions with interest in fantasy and high concept such as expansive world-building and offbeat characters. He also is looking for off-kilter humor and books with macabre sensibilities, like Coraline (HarperCollins, 2002) or A Tale Dark and Grimm (Dutton, 2010). Andrew is a piano player, a gamer, and a film fanatic

LIMITED NUMBER manuscript critiques – middle grade and YA

 

Brianne JohnsonLiterary Agent, Writers House NY

Writers House is one of the largest literary agencies in the world. Brianne is a Senior Agent and represents illustrators, authors and creators who are both illustrator-authors. She is interested in picture books, picture book series, chapter books, middle grade, YA books and cover designs. Her focus is on humorous and entertaining with some kind of educational angle to them, something that could be brought into a classroom but it must be a trade book first. She likes whimsical, imaginative, the dark/crass/wacky/hilarious, fantasy, historical middle grade novels that are fun and exciting- not too serious.

She’s interested in a great middle grade series, high-concept, YA novels that creepy/horror/suspense, historical, historical fantasy, and creative fantasy, stories featuring offbeat, alternate-lifestyle protagonists who trailblazers. 

LIMITED NUMBER manuscript and/or illustrator critiques

 

Kat BrzozowskiAssociate Editor, Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press MacMillan

Kat is a YA commissioning editor who acquires and edits titles by authors. She is editor-in-chief of Yahoo Style and cohost of a talk show.

She is interested in a wide variety of genres, including non-fiction (memoir, lifestyle, and cookbooks), women’s fiction, and young adult fiction. In the realm of YA, she is working with R.L. Stine on reviving his “Fear Street” series, which has sold more than 80 million copies around the world. She is also interested in contemporary, romantic YA with a twist (Anna-Marie McLemore’s The Weight of Feathers, set in the world of circus acts), YA that tackles issues in a new and interesting way (Ann Jacobus’ Romancing the Dark in the City of Light, about a girl torn between two boys), and edgy YA that will appeal to a crossover audience (Laurie Flynn’s Firsts, about a teen at the intersection of sex, love, and high school). 

LIMITED NUMBER manuscript critiques – YA

 

Kate SullivanSenior Editor, Delacorte

Kate Sullivan is senior editor at Delacorte. She was an editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, where she edited, among other authors, Gail Carriger, Malinda Lo, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Cornelia Funke, and Darren Shan.

She is looking for ‘voice’ and acquiring and editing middle grade and young adult fiction with an interest in fantasy, series, pacy novels.

LIMITED NUMBER manuscript critiques – middle grade and YA

 

Process of Critiques:

• At time of booking you will be able to choose your preference from the available assessors.

• Each of the assessors has a unique area of interest and expertise, so please carefully read the bios and research the assessors to determine their suitability to assess your work.

• Tickets are available on a first come basis and places are limited.

• Following your booking you will be supplied a website link where you can provide your details and upload your manuscript or portfolio. Please take note of the July 1st deadline and the format for submissions.

 

Bookings and Submission Guidelines:

Ticketed delegates will receive a written critique of their submitted work by the end of the Conference. Critiques are only available to attending delegates. International Online Critiques are limited to ONE per attending delegate. All critiques are non-refundable and non-transferable, so please choose carefully. 

Each critique costs $70 and places are limited. SOLD OUT!

Following your booking, CLICK HERE to submit your Manuscript or Portfolio. Please take note of the July 1st deadline and the format for submissions. Unfortunately, submissions that are late or that do not conform to the specifications cannot be accepted.

 

Your Manuscript critique submission should include the following:

• An overview of your project to a maximum of 1 page including your name, email and website (if applicable)

AND IN THE SAME DOCUMENT ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:

• An outline of your project idea with synopsis and short writing samples for comment and discussion to a maximum of 10 pages, double spaced in 12pt Times New Roman or similar

OR

• An extract of your draft manuscript to a maximum of 10 pages, double spaced in 12pt Times New Roman or similar

OR

• A full picture book draft text to a maximum of 10 pages, double spaced in 12pt Times Roman or similar

Please supply your manuscript file as Word or pdf and label as: FirstName_Surname_Title (abbreviate title if necessary)

 

Your Portfolio critique submission should include the following:

• A portfolio of work consisting of up to 10 images. Please supply your portfolio images as jpg 72dpi and label as: FirstName_Surname_sequential numbers up to 10. Maximum size for images is 2mb per image.

OR

• If a writer-illustrator and prefer, illustrated picture book dummy with text

 

 

 


 

Helpful Hints for Face to Face Manuscript and Portfolio Critiques

Manuscript and Portfolio Critiques are designed to help you develop your ideas and gain editing insights to enrich and improve your work.

Ask yourself why you want a critique. If it is to be published, you may need to readjust your expectations. If, on the other hand, it is to have an honest assessment of your work you will learn what is and isn’t working. You will need to be as open to criticism as to praise, as hard as that may be.

The value of a critique is to have fresh eyes from an industry professional peruse your work. Avoid submitting work to be critiqued if it just isn’t ready. It is better to spend time perfecting your work as best you can so the critique you receive will be more useful and relevant.    

If you do have the chance to have a critique:

• Be calm, respectful and ready to listen

• Remember to keep an open mind and leave emotions at the door

• Prepare and rehearse a pitch out loud (Think one-minute summary)

• Be prepared to take notes and bring a highlighter.

• Ask for clarification if you don’t understand any points

• Leave your full manuscript at home. (If an agent or editor asks to see your work, they’ll let you know how to submit)

• Be your genuine self. Remember that agents, editors, and award-winning authors are people, too. They appreciate a friendly chat.

• If you know who your Critique Assessor is prior to the conference, familiarise yourself with books agented by or edited by that person or company. You'll gain insight into their tastes and be ready with conversation starters if the opportunity presents itself. (Go to their website, Google them or ask other SCBWI members)

• Enjoy yourself.

 

Here are a few things to avoid doing:

• Don't stalk the editor or agent. Let them go to the restroom in peace

• Don't wear or bring gimmicks in the hopes of getting noticed

• If you are asked what your book is about, don't whip out your manuscript. Revert to your rehearsed elevator pitch (Think one or two minutes, tops)

• Don't call yourself the next J.K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyer, Rick Riordan, etc. Be original

• Don’t disrupt a critique in progress and don’t exceed your own time limit

• Don’t record a speaker’s session without first asking

 

 Deborah Abela 

 

What to do after you receive your critique:

A critique gives you honest and direct suggestions on how you can strengthen your writing. The suggestions give you an insight into a professional’s point of view and therefore it is worth your while to take their suggestions seriously.

• Take some time to think about it

• Read the critique or your notes again

• Think about the rationale behind the suggestions.

• Ask yourself why they were made and how they would improve the work

• Discuss them with other writers or illustrators

• Incorporate the suggestions into your work and compare the before and after results

• Remember the suggestions can be about the story itself or to do with marketability.

• In the final analysis it is your decision to accept or reject any suggestions offered.

 


Terms and Conditions

SCBWI is a not-for-profit volunteer run organisation and all proceeds from these tickets are committed to Event expenses. Unfortunately we are unable to provide refunds, but we will allow transfer of Conference ticket to another eligible SCBWI member.

 Illustrator Showcase and Critique tickets are non-transferable.