Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Spring Holiday in the Park 2023 Critique Guidelines

**Carefully read the submission instructions below.**

Manuscript critiques are an extra ADD-ON in addition to the Spring Holiday in the Park registration. There are a limited number of critiques available and may sell out. 

The local author you selected during registration will review your work and prepare comments in advance of the Spring Holiday in the Park. At the event, you will have a scheduled one-on-one, 15 minute meeting with your manuscript reviewer to hear their feedback, ask questions, and discuss your project.

Submission Policy:

You may only submit ONE manuscript.  Manuscripts are in the PB or MG category.

Picture Books (PB)

Only Tim McCanna and Stephanie Lucianovic will critique picture books.
PB manuscripts for critique are up to 6 pages in length, with 1,000 words max, or 1,200 if non-fiction. (Note that many picture books are under 500 words these days. Just because you can submit up to 1000/1200 words doesn’t mean you should.) You have the option of including a one-page cover letter in addition to your manuscript.

Middle Grade (MG)

Only Lindsay Lackey will critique middle grade.
MG novels for critique are up to 10 pages in length (2,500 words max). Optionally, you may also include a one-page synopsis, and/or a one-page cover letter, in addition to the 10 page sample.

**If you submit a manuscript longer than the max limit, we will cut it off before sending to the faculty for critique.  So double check the submission instructions!


Submission Instructions:

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

Please address your letter to the particular author you registered with or simply use “Dear Spring Manuscript Reviewer,” which is also fine.

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.

(MG and YA only): Write a one-page synopsis, in addition to your cover letter (optional).

**If you submit a cover letter longer than one-page, it will not be sent with your manuscript.  Please double check your submission!


Step Two: Format your manuscript:

Your name and contact info 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 type


Step Three: Create your 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. Then double check it. You can only submit ONCE so make sure you are ready.

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


Step Four: Submit your single Word file.

Click over to the Manuscript Submission Form.

Enter your contact information.

Select your faculty choice.

Upload your file per the instructions on that page.

Click submit. You will receive an automated confirmation email.


For those who registered – upload your manuscript here.

If you are on a waitlist, please do not submit a manuscript unless you receive an email from the organizers letting you know you have been moved up from the waitlist.


Dates and Deadlines

Submissions must be uploaded no later than March 29th, 2023.


Manuscript critiques for this event will cost $75.
Email with “Manuscript Financial Aid” in the subject if you require a reduced fee in order to receive a manuscript critique and we will reply with a coupon code, no explanation necessary.



Unfortunately, there are NO REFUNDS available for manuscript critiques. Because there are only a limited number available and may sell out, only register for a manuscript critique if you are ready to submit one.


Frequently Asked Questions

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: Author-illustrators may opt to submit along with the picture book manuscript ONE PDF dummy (or ONE PDF of several illustrated spreads) from the manuscript being reviewed.  Refer to the Manuscript Submission Form for more details.

Q: I registered for a manuscript critique and cannot make it to the event. May I reschedule or receive a refund?

A: No. The Manuscript Critiques take place during the Spring Holiday in the Park on Saturday, May 6th from 3-4:15 pm PST. There are no refunds and we are unable to reschedule if you miss the event. If you miss your meeting, we will email your feedback to you.

Q: I registered for a manuscript critique but did not submit my manuscript on time. May I receive a refund?

A: No. There are no refunds available. Only register for a manuscript critique if you are absolutely ready to submit one. We are obligated to send the manuscripts to the reviewers in advance by a set due date and cannot make exceptions. If you register and do not submit a manuscript on time, we will not be able to fill your spot past the due date.

Q: I wanted to register for a Manuscript Critique but it is showing as “Sold Out”. Is there a waitlist available?

A: Yes, we have a waitlist in case of a cancellation, however, all manuscripts must be submitted by our deadline. You will receive an email if your name has been pulled up from the waitlist.


If you have any further questions, please email our Manuscript Coordinator,