Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Formatting Your Critique Entry

A professionally formatted submission shows you to be a writer who understands the business of writing and publishing for children.  Deadlines are listed in our Conference Countdown

Make sure your submission is:

On the first page in the upper left corner, put your contact information: 

  • Name  [the name on the submission MUST match the name on registration] 
  • Address
  • City
  • State 
  • Email 
  • Category [YA, MG, PB, NF, CB]

​​All pages must be numbered. In upper right corner from second page,


Where does the title go?

The TITLE should be in caps, centered on the page and about halfway down. 



How long can my submission be? 

SUBMIT one (1) copy of up to (10) ten pages of one manuscript. 

  • For Picture Books and Poetry: Submit only the first 800 words of one manuscript. 
  • For Middle Grade, Young Adult, Non-Fiction and Chapter Books: Submit only the first TEN (10) pages of one manuscript, even if it cuts off mid-chapter.

Do I need to include a synopsis?

YES, you MUST submit a synopsis if you are submitting the first ten pages of a chapter book, middle grade or young adult. Picture books do not require a synopsis. 

       For more information on writing a synopsis, we suggest Jane Friedman’s Blog 

How long should your synopsis be?

       A synopsis should be no longer than one page, single spaced, approximately 250 to 300 words

Should you include word count in the header?

Most editors/agents don’t care about word count.

Should you put in a title page?

There is no need for a title page, nor for a letter to the industry professional providing the critique.

Can I submit a dummy? 

Critiques are for a pdf of a picture book, text and images. Maximum file size: 8MB.

Double-page spreads are recommended. (ie: Each single page in the pdf would show the two facing pages of the spread of your book.)

Up to three fully illustrated and colored spreads are standard, with the rest of the dummy being pencil sketches. (If you’ve only got one finished spread, that’s ok. If you have no finished pages, also ok. If the entire book is finished out, that’s ok too. The point: submit your dummy.)

Include your name in the file name. Ex: PBDummy_BongosBigBreak_YourName.pdf

For more information, visit: Just for Illustrators

Do I format differently if submitting digitally?

All critique entries must be formatted as described above. 

What If I have questions? 

Contact Donna Earnhardt, with questions or concerns. 

How do I submit?