Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Submission Details for Ready, Set, Critique!

Submission Guidelines


Important information before you begin


* Your manuscript or portfolio MUST be submitted within 24 hours of your registration and payment.

* Registration opens February 1 for SCBWI Nebraska members.

* Registration opens February 5 for all SCBWI members and nonmembers

* Registration closes February 28 or when all critique slots are filled. Slots are filled on a first-come-first-served basis.

* Choose the best fit for your work when you select your faculty member. If your preferred faculty don’t have any spots left, put yourself on the wait list.

* A submission may only be submitted once. Send your best work the first time. There will not be an opportunity to edit, revise, or resubmit.


More about Ready, Set, Critique


* Cost: $60.00 for members, $75.00 for nonmembers

* Includes: A 15-minute virtual face-to-face meeting on Zoom and written critique notes

* Availability: There are 138 slots available for submissions

* Faculty: For a list of current faculty for the event, click here

* Registration: When you sign up, you will choose your preferred faculty member, then your time slot; research the faculty list BEFORE you start registration


Manuscript formatting instructions

1. Categories: Picture Book, Chapter Book, Middle Grade, Young Adult, Graphic Novel (text only), Nonfiction (all genres within these categories are acceptable; nonfiction must be written for children or teens)

2. Length: No more than 10 pages per submission (Do not include a title or cover page. Begin your submission on the first page. Be sure to include the personal information listed under number 9 below on the first page).

3. Format: Doc format only. No PDFs. No art.

4. Fonts: Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, or Courier only, 12 point

5. Spacing: Double spaced

6. Margins: 1-inch on both sides, top, and bottom

7. For Novels: Submit the FIRST 10 pages ONLY. If you want to submit a synopsis along with your pages, the full submission MUST BE NO LONGER THAN 10 PAGES TOTAL including the synopsis. The synopsis must also follow all formatting guidelines and be included as part of the same file as the sample pages.

8. For Picture Books: Although a picture book manuscript may have fewer than 10 pages, only ONE picture book manuscript can be included in a submission. NO ART may be included with picture book manuscript submissions (see below if you are an author-illustrator with a book dummy).

9. Personal information. On the first page of your manuscript include in the upper-left corner the following information: First and last name as it appears on your SCBWI membership, the category of your submission, and your email address. For instance:
Rick Riordan
Middle Grade

10. How to name your file: The name of your submission must include your first and last name as it appears on your SCBWI membership or registration form (for nonmembers) and the title of the manuscript. (Example: Rick_Riordan_The_Lightning_Thief.doc)

11. Additional formatting help: If you need additional help with formatting, see “From Keyboard to Printed Page: Facts You Need to Know” at

NOTE: Failure to follow formatting guidelines
could mean that your submission is not accepted.


Portfolio formatting instructions

1. Categories: Illustration Portfolio, Picture Book Dummy, Graphic Novel (if author-illustrator)

2. Format: All submissions must be in PDF Format. The total size of your pdf must not exceed 20 MB.

3. PDF formatting help: If you need help converting your images to pdf, visit:

4. Illustration Portfolio: Up to 12 total images

5. Picture Book Dummy: Full picture book dummy

6. Graphic Novel: Up to 10 total pages. Those pages can be a first chapter of sketched/ illustrated panels, a “pitch packet” including a synopsis and character sketches, or a combination of both. Any typed pages must follow the manuscript formatting guidelines provided above.

7. How to name your submission: If you are submitting a portfolio, you should name your document with the words Portfolio Review for and your name as it appears on your registration. (For instance: Portfolio_Review__Marcia_Brown.pdf). If you are submitting a dummy or graphic novel, the name of your submission must include your name as it appears on your registration and the title of the manuscript and the title of your story. (Example: Marcia_Brown_Once_a_Mouse.pdf)

8. Online Portfolio Review: If you would rather have your existing online portfolio reviewed, you may do so. Follow the instructions on the confirmation email as noted in #4 below.

NOTE: Failure to follow formatting guidelines
could mean that your submission is not accepted.


Uploading your submission

1. Be prepared. Be sure your submission is formatted and named according to the guidelines above before beginning the registration process. Prepare a short list of faculty who work with the genre and age group for which your story was created from whom you would like a critique. DON’T sign up with a faculty member who works with other types of materials (e.g., don’t send nonfiction to someone who only works with fiction, YA to someone who only works with PBs, or high fantasy to someone who only works with contemporary). If your preferred faculty are fully booked, sign up for the waiting list.

2. Register and pay. Beginning February 1 register (for Nebraska members) or noon (CST) February 5 (for everyone else) register for Ready, Set, Critique! and follow the instructions for paying.

3. Confirmation email. After you have registered and paid, watch for a confirmation email. You should receive it within 30 minutes. Check your SPAM folder if you can’t find it; if it does not arrive after one hour, email for assistance.

4. Submit. Follow the submission instructions detailed in the confirmation email. NOTE: You must send us your submission within 24 HOURS after registering and paying.

5. Just in case. If we have any problems accessing your submission, we will contact you directly.