Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2021 Manuscript Critique Submission Guidelines

Manuscript submissions must be sent 10 weeks before assigned critique.  Carefully read the submission instructions below. Please note that all critiques will be on Zoom.


Manuscript Submission Due Dates: Please note that attendees are responsible for submitting their manuscripts by the noted due date.  Late submissions may result in loss of your session without a refund.

Kandace Coston 2/13/2021
Matt Ringler 3/14/2021
Grace Kendall 4/18/2021
Jennifer March Soloway 8/14/2021
Lionel Bender 9/5/2021
Stephanie Fretwell-Hill 10/3/2021
Jordan Hamessley 10/3/2021







What’s Included:

One of our faculty members, an agent or editor, will review your work and prepare comments in advance of the critique session.

You will have a one-on-one, 15 minute meeting with your critique faculty member, during which time you will hear their feedback, ask questions, and discuss your project.

We will be awarding the annual Golden Gate Writers’ Award (one for a picture book and one for a middle grade or YA novel) at the end of the conference, and entries for the contest will be selected only from those manuscripts submitted for critique.



Submission Guidelines: Picture Books

Please note: you are not submitting today. 

For Authors:

– You will submit your manuscript no later than 10 weeks before your manuscript critique.

– You will receive a confirmation email containing instructions regarding scheduling of your critique session.

– Picture book manuscripts may be up to six pages in length (1,000 words max, 1,200 for non-fiction).

– You may only submit ONE picture book manuscript per paid consultation, regardless of length.

– You have the option of including a one-page cover letter in addition to your manuscript.


For Author-Illustrators:

Author-illustrators may opt to submit a PDF dummy (or several illustrated spreads) along with their picture book manuscript. PLEASE FOLLOW THE FILE SIZE REQUIREMENTS BELOW:

– You will submit your PDF dummy no later than 10 weeks before your manuscript critique.

– All files must be 10 MB or less

– Resolution: 72 dpi, 1000 pixels on the longest side

– Final illustrations are not required. You could, for instance, include one finished color spread and the rest could be roughs

– Feel free to bring more color samples and your portfolio to show when you have your Zoom critique

– Please title your art submission “ART – [LAST NAME_Title of Manuscript] – GGY21”


Submission Guidelines: Middle Grade and Young Adult

– You will submit your manuscript no later than 10 weeks before your manuscript critique

– You will receive a confirmation email containing instructions regarding scheduling of your critique session

– You may submit up to 10 pages of your manuscript (2,500 words max)

– You may include a brief one-page optional synopsis and/or a one-page cover letter, in addition to your 10 page sample

– If your submission is over 10 pages (plus your one page optional synopsis), only the first 10 pages will be forwarded to the faculty reader


Submission Instructions:

Step One:

Write a one-page cover letter (optional but recommended).

You may address your letter to the particular agent or editor who is reviewing your manuscript.

Much like a query letter, this can be a quick note that includes a pitch/synopsis and any relevant biographical information.

We highly recommend this opportunity to introduce yourself and your work to the faculty reader.


Step Two: (Middle Grade and Young Adult only):

Write a one-page synopsis (optional).


Step Three:

Format your manuscript:

Your name and contact information in the upper left corner of the first page

Your manuscript’s title centered in the upper middle of the first page

Text starting half-way down the first page, double spaced

1 inch margins all around with name, title, and page number in the header or footer

12 point Courier, Times or Arial font


Step Four:

Create your MS Word file:

Make sure your document contains the following (all in one file):

1) A cover letter (optional/recommended)

2) A synopsis page for MG/YA novels only (optional)

3) Your manuscript text

Carefully proof, spell check and edit all text. You can only submit once, so make sure you are ready.

Create your MS Word file using the following titling format: [Manuscript Title]-GG21 (Ex: TheHappyBird-GG21.doc or Dragonriders-GG21.docx)


Step Five:

Submit your single MS Word file.

Upload your file per the instructions on the submissions email you will receive.



The cost of a critique is $60.



Q: Can I choose the agent/editor I want to review my work?

A: You will have an opportunity to choose your manuscript reviewer when you purchase your manuscript critique.


Q: Why do novel samples get 2,500 words and I can only submit one picture book per consultation under 1,000 words?

A: Novels and picture books are two very different storytelling mediums. Picture book texts must “make every word count” as well as share the page with illustrations for very young children. Novels are tens of thousands of words longer, and therefore require a slightly more substantial introduction for a manuscript consultant to provide adequate feedback.


Q: After I submitted my work, I made some changes and I want to replace my original submission with a new one. There is still time before the deadline, so can I do that?

A: No. Please upload your manuscript ONLY ONCE. We cannot accept multiple revised uploads. Proof your work carefully and submit when you are absolutely ready.


Q: If I am an author-illustrator, can I submit both a manuscript and pictures?

A: Is you are submitting a picture book, you can share your manuscript and dummy. Please follow the instructions stated above.


Q: Should I submit something that is polished and ready for publication, or something that isn’t yet working but for which I would like a professional’s input?

A: There are pros and cons to both strategies. If your primary goal is to gain feedback into how to make your piece better, then you might want to submit something that you feel isn’t quite ready yet, in order to obtain valuable professional insights. If, however, your primary goal is to either win an award or possibly make a connection that might lead to representation or a future sale, then you should submit your most polished, most ready-for-publication manuscript. Regardless of which strategy you choose, do your very best to remain open to feedback.

If you have any questions, please email our Manuscript Coordinator, Claire Bobrow at