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Submitting to Conference for critique

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Our local writer's guild is putting on a children's and ya writers mini-conference in January! Finally, a conference geared to my writing genre that I can attend in Canadian dollars and to boot, in my own city!

One of the highlights of the conference is that Allyn Johnston of Harcourt is going to be the keynote speaker and will be doing one-on-one critiques (which I was the first one to sign up for!)

I have a story that seems to fit the Harcourt 'going to school' line perfectly. My question:  When submitting for a conference critique do you include the typical cover letter? Put something different in? In other words, is it okay to try to sell to that house while getting a critique or should the cover letter just be title, # of words etc like to a contest?

I'd like to mention in the cover letter that I have experience as a professional public speaker and would be willing to help market this book (which is something they like about their authors).

What do you all think?
#1 - September 01, 2003, 12:15 PM


 :) ::)
I don't know that I'd pitch to the editor in a cover letter. Let the story speak for itself. If she shows interest, then you can talk details.

I've been working with an editor for almost 2 years and we have still not talked promotion. It's been about getting the story right. Revisions, rewrites, etc.

#2 - September 01, 2003, 01:08 PM

Admins and Mods Emeriti
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I always hear the advice that you should go into a critique as an opportunity to learn, not to sell.  Of course, we're also told to use conferences as a chance to network.  Though on one level those two bits of advice seem contradictory, they're not really.

I've just finished fine-tuning my ms for critique for our October SCBWI regional conference and I'm putting it in the mail today.  But I'll be totally honest--I'm having to force myself to think of it as a chance to learn, not a chance to make a sale.  I think it's very hard to get yourself into a mental place where your hopes are focusing on the learning experience being valuable and not on the chance to pitch to an editor you might otherwise not have good access to.

In other words, I understand where you're coming from!

Good luck with your review, and wish me luck with mine!

Anne Marie
#3 - September 03, 2003, 07:45 AM
« Last Edit: September 03, 2003, 07:47 AM by Anne Marie »
VAMPIRINA BALLERINA series (Disney-Hyperion)
GROUNDHUG DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
among others

Owl Princess
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Best approach is to just listen and learn.  After the conference,  you can use the marketing information in your query letter. Subtle trumps over pushy, methinks.

I attended one local conference and learned loads -- including who not to submit to.  

Oh, and without any pushing whatsoever, got a manuscript request. (But don't go expecting that. The odds are roughly the same as winning the lottery.)  

Good luck on your critique!
#4 - September 06, 2003, 09:33 AM

Barb  :owl



I have two pieces being critted at my upcoming local SCBWI conference (my first conference ever!).

Today, I got a postcard for each, telling me the name of the person who would be my critter.  I just had to sign on and look them up!  Looks like my young MG's ten pages will be critted by an author of mostly chapter books.  I'll have to run out and get a copy or two to read beforehand!  That'll be fun.  The other critter will be talking about my PB ms. (the collaboration I'm working on).  I hope to get some good feedback on how to improve the story (and get it up to the same level as Tom's terrific art).  I looked this critter up, but I'm not able to find anything on her except she's entered the WD children's fiction contest a couple years running (and got in the top 100).

Can't wait, can't wait!  This is going to be great!   :D
#5 - September 11, 2003, 11:44 AM


Hope you have a great time at your conference, Jaina.  I've been to a few regional SCBWI conferences and one or two others.  Overall, they've been great expereinces.  I've sent in something to be critiqued at 3 SCBWI conferences.  In all three cases I learned something valuable, even if it was which agent never to sub to.  The speakers at the conferences have been very informative, too.  I come away every time, renewed and encouraged.
#6 - September 11, 2003, 02:26 PM
« Last Edit: September 11, 2003, 02:27 PM by lj »


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