Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

One-on-One Consultations

Once again, we are offering one-on-one manuscript and portfolio critiques, as well as picture book dummy critiques, with our faculty. These are first come, first served based on your registration date. The cost is $45 for manuscript and portfolio critiques and $55 for picture book dummy critiques. This cost is nonrefundable. Sign up for the editor, agent, or one of our two authors when you register. (Note: You may only sign up for one consultation–we want everyone to have an opportunity.)

Individual consultations will be held during speaker sessions and the break/work/peer critique group time on Saturday. They will be held in Big Leaf Dining Room and are 14 minutes long, no more. We're allowing 1 minute for passing time.

Faculty Wish List (please read their bios too)

Editor Jill Santopolo (Philomel Books): Jill is interested in picture books, middle grade and young adult novels. For picture books, she is looking for a strong character-driven text, a poignant lyrical story, or a book about a piece of history/nonfiction that hasn't been presented to children in picture book format before. She is always on the lookout for diverse stories and diverse characters. For middle grade and young adult, she is happy to critique realistic fiction, magical realism, mysteries, historical fiction, and psychological thrillers. Please provide a cover letter (the sort you would write when you send this as a submission) and then if it's a picture book, send the whole manuscript. If it's a MG or YA novel, send a one-page synopsis of the novel along with the first five pages. 

Agent Abigail Samoun (Red Fox Literary): Abigail is interested in picture books, middle grade and young adult novels. She would like the entire manuscript for picture books (maximum 1000 words) and the first ten pages and an outline for novels. She will also review picture book dummies and portfolios. NOTE: Karen Grencik will be taking over Abigail's consultations. Arrangements will be made for picture book dummy and portfolio appointments with Abigail via Skype or phone.

Author Jane Kurtz: Jane is interested in reviewing picture books (fiction and nonfiction) and longer works of nonfiction. For picture books, send entire manuscript. For longer works, no more than ten double-spaced pages.

Author Graham Salisbury: Graham is interested in reviewing chapter books, middle grade and young adult novels. Send a first chapter. No more than fifteen double-spaced pages.


Please remember this is not a pitching session–it's an opportunity to get a professional's feedback and suggestions on how to improve and/or market your work. Editor and agent critiquers will tell you if they would like you to send your project after the retreat. (It's wise to resist the temptation to count on this happening).

We cannot guarantee you a written critique, although we have asked our faculty to do so and have given them SCBWI's Gold Form as a suggested method. Portfolio critiques are on the spot, and so no written critique will be provided.

If you have never had a professional critique before, we strongly recommend that you choose one of the authors for your one-on-one session.

What To Send

Here's what you'll submit by genre:

Novels: Submit the first 10 pages (unless critiquer indicates otherwise–see Faculty Wish List above) in standard manuscript format, plus a single-spaced one-page synopsis.

Picture Books: Submit the entire manuscript, in standard manuscript format–maximum 1000 words or 5 pages (unless the critiquer indicates otherwise). 

Picture Book Dummies: Along with your manuscript (see above), submit a 32-page picture book dummy. This must fit into a 9 x 12 or 10 x 13 inch envelope, no larger.

Nonfiction: Submit the first 10 pages in standard manuscrip format, plus a single-spaced, one-page proposal, which includes whether the book is for a trade or educational publisher, your target readership/audience, how you see the book being used, what sets the book apart from others in the market, your credentials, and resources used.

Do not send portfolios. These will be on-the-spot critiques

Send one copy in standard manuscript format (double-spaced, 12-point type, 1 to 1 1/4 inch margins, pages titled and numbered). Do not fold or staple; paper clips are fine. Each manuscript first page needs your name, address, phone number and email. Do not send a cover letter unless the critiquer indicates otherwise. Mail flat in a 9 x 12 or 10 x 13 inch envelope. Do not send by registered mail.

Send to:

One-on-One Consultations
SCBWI Oregon
PO Box 990
Mulino, OR 97042-0990

Manuscripts must be received (NOT post-marked, but received by hand) by September 10th. If you do not meet the deadline to mail in your manuscript, you will be disqualified and will forfeit your consultation fee. We will not accept email submissions.

Your Consultation Appointment

Appointments are often booked back to back, so please arrive early and depart promptly and graciously when your time is up. Missed appointments cannot be made up, nor can fees be refunded.

Be prepared to answer questions critiquers commonly ask:

What is your story about? (one to three sentences for both picture books and novels). What is the genre? Who is your audience? How does the story end? What makes your story unique? For illustrators, what is your medium? What is your illustration background?

After Your Critique

Attendees may submit material after the retreat, according to the information provided in your packet and any other instructions received during sessions. When you submit, refer to your attendence at the retreat, and to your consultation, if applicable, and mention why you think your work might be of interest. Do not call the editor or agent unless invited to do so.