Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

First Pages, First Glances, Roundtables at the 2018 Conference

Illustrator First Glance Session

Sunday only

Your work will be projected via Elmo camera for an on-the-spot critique by Maria Middleton and Lauren Castillo.

Please bring five images or the first five pages of a book dummy to the session.  No originals, please.  It is best if your images are not in a shiny sleeve.

This is a great opportunity to learn from the work of others as well as your own.  Although we ask that our faculty focus on the positive aspects of your work, this session is not for the faint of heart.  The session is limited to 12 pre-registered participants.  Please sign up when you register. Observers are welcome.

Writer First Pages Sessions

You must register to participate as a reader to have your first page critiqued.

Choose your first page session by genre: Picture Book, MG Novel or YA Novel. The First Page sessions allow participants to sign up read a first page* (maximum 225 words) of their work in the selected genre. Each editor, agent or author on the critique team will then give a “cold” critique of the work. There will be two critiquers per session.

There will be a limited number of readers (10 pre-registered) although observers are welcome—this is a great opportunity to learn from the work of others. To participate as a reader, mark that choice on your registration form and pre-submit your first page. You may only participate in one First Pages Session.

To participate as a reader, you must mail a clean copy of your first page* to SCBWI Oregon First Pages, c/o Laura Byrd, 175 NE 20th Dr, Hillsboro, OR 97124-3518 by April 20th. You will receive an email confirmation that your first page has been received.

Submission deadline for the First Pages sessions is April 20th. No manuscripts will be accepted via email. No manuscripts will be accepted at the conference.

At the opening of the session, the editor, agent or author critique team will be given a packet of the first pages for the session. Readers will stand and read their work in the order noted. The other nine participants will also be given packets of the readers’ work and may make written comments, which will be collected at the end of the session. (Observers will not receive a packet.)

The editor, agent, or author critique team will comment. Critiques are 5 minutes each, including the reading. The critique team may make comments in writing on their copies to distribute to the participants.

The First Pages sessions are not for the faint of heart. It can be difficult to receive a critique in front of your peers. You should be a member of a critique group and used to receiving critiques of your work.

If you have any questions, you may email Laura Byrd at

*We don’t expect standard manuscript format, although we DO want your text double-spaced. See formatting instructions below. Your manuscript should be one page, even if you don’t reach 225 words. You must follow the formatting instructions, or your submission will be disqualified.


  • Type your name on the top left-hand corner.
  • Below that type your email address.
  • In the right-hand corner, type the genre of your manuscript (i.e. picture book, contemporary ya).
  • Below that type the total word count of your piece (if not finished, write “incomplete”).
  • Double space and type your title.
  • Double space and type your byline.
  • Double space and begin the text of your story—IT MUST BE DOUBLE-SPACED.
  • Please keep your font at 12 pt.
  • No more than 225 words.
  • At the end of the page don’t stop in the middle of a word or sentence—better to have less words.
  • If your picture book is in free verse, you may make double columns on your first page to reach the optimum word count.

Roundtable Faculty Critique Sessions

Similar to our “Great Critiques,” this is your chance to have a critique by a professional and your peers in a small group.

You may only participate in one Roundtable Faculty Critique group, although observers are welcome. First come, first served when you register. This opportunity is limited to 8 pre-registered participants per session.

Indicate which type of manuscript you want critiqued. Bring no more than 500 words in standard manuscript format. Bring 9 copies. If you are signing up for a one-on-one Manuscript Consultation, please bring a different manuscript for this session.

Again, you must register for this opportunity.

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