Here are a few of the frequently asked questions we've received over the past three years. If you have any questions, please read this through first before contact our Critique Carousel Coordinator.
Q: What is the Critique Carousel?
The Critique Carousel is a virtual SCBWI-MI event for members to receive a written critique from an acquiring agent or editor. Participants will select a kidlit agent or editor that represents their genre (science fiction, fantasy, etc.) or age category (picture books, middle grade, young adult). Agents will have a month to read submissions and provide the critique on our standard SCBWI Gold Form.
After the event and after revising their work, participants will have the opportunity to submit to their critiquing agent/editor for a period of six months. This does not guarantee representation or acquisition, but presents another opportunity.
Critiques cost $55/each and are a max of 6 pages. Please see more information regarding submission requirements below.
Q: What can I submit to the Critique Carousel?
Agents participating this year are open to critiquing:
Picture books (fiction and nonfiction, dummies)
Middle grade (fiction and nonfiction)
YA (fiction and nonfiction)
Graphic novels (fiction and nonfiction)
Portfolio review for illustrators
Picture book dummy for author/illustrators
During registration, you’ll be able to see which agents are open to critiquing what.
Q: What is the Critique Carousel submission window?
Registration opens at 7:00 pm September 18, 2023, and it will close at 11:00 pm October 2, 2023.
Participants must submit their manuscripts (and meet all submission guidelines) by midnight on October 2nd. Earlier is welcomed and encouraged.
Once you’ve submitted your manuscript/portfolio, it cannot be withdrawn or revised.
Agents have until mid-November to complete their critiques. We will do our best to have all completed critiques back to participants before the end of November.
Q: Can I sign up for more than one critique?
No; participants can only register for one critique during the registration window. In the event critique spots are still available, we will notify participants via email regarding opportunities to purchase additional critiques.
Q: How do I format my manuscript for the Critique Carousel?
Submission guidelines for written critiques:
In the header of the manuscript or manuscript sample (including any synopsis), include your name, email, and title of the manuscript. Make sure the header with your information is on each of your pages. These are not counted toward your word limit.
Fiction: up to 800 words, 1-inch margins, double spaced (sample here).
Non-fiction: 1,200 words, 1-inch margins, double spaced.
Art notes do not count toward word count.
For Author/Illustrators: A full dummy (fully laid-out sketched picture book with 1-2 completed pieces of artwork). Please review which agents are open to critiquing dummies. Max file size: 25 MB.
Novels: 6 pages, 1-inch margins, double spaced. You may include a synopsis (at the end of your pages), but these will not be critiqued (sample here).
Art and text: 6 sample page spreads in jpg or pdf format, as well as a summary/synopsis.
Text only: 6 pages of script.
You may include a synopsis (at the end of your pages), but these will not be critiqued (sample here).
Novels in Verse: 6 pages, 1-inch margins, single-spaced, no page breaks at the end of a poem. Run them right up after the one before. You may include a synopsis (at the end of your pages), but these will not be critiqued (sample here).
Please use standard font formatting such as Arial or Times New Roman, size 12.
If your manuscript is intended to be author/illustrated, you may add the line "author illustrated PB" (or MG or Chapter Book, etc.) in your contact information.
Please name your file in this format: YourName_AgentsName_GENRE
For genre, please use: PB, CB, MG, YA, GN, NV
Preferred file formats: Word doc or PDF
Submission guidelines for Portfolio Submissions:
Create a single PDF file of 7-10 jpg images
Name your file in this format: Lastname_portfolio
For Book Dummy submissions:
Dummies should consist of a fully laid-out sketched picture book with 1-2 completed pieces of artwork. Books should be assembled into a single PDF file.
Name your file in this format: Lastname_bookdummy
Maximum File Size for all submissions: 25 MB
If your manuscript arrives with formatting issues, we’ll let you know and give you a chance to resubmit, but you still need to make the submission window date. We are unable to offer refunds due to formatting errors so please follow carefully!
Q: Will the agents and editors in the carousel be open to submissions? If agents are currently closed to submissions, will they accept submissions from the writers they critiqued?
Yes, agents and editors will be open to submissions from the persons whose work they critiqued during the Critique Carousel for six months after receipt of the completed critique. Instructions for submitting to their specific critiquing agent or editors will be shared with participants via email, along with their completed critique.
Q: I’m submitting a novel, should I include a synopsis?
While it is NOT mandatory, it is highly encouraged that you include a synopsis of your novel or graphic novel with your materials for critique. This way, agents and editors have more information to analyze your submission. Please note, agents and editors are not asked to provide critique on the synopsis itself, but they may use it for more context on your story, in order to provide better feedback on your work.
Note: Please limit your synopsis to one page, single spaced, standard formatting (12pt size font). Include this at the end of your 6 pages.
Q: How do I write a synopsis?
There are a lot of great resources online for synopsis writing. A few that may be helpful:
How to Write a Novel Synopsis (Mary Kole)
Synopsis Writing Made Easy (Writers Helping Writers)
How to Write a Novel Synopsis (Jane Friedman)
Please note, these are posts on the content of a synopsis. Guidelines differ among agents and editors, so for this event, please adhere to the Critique Carousel formatting guidelines of one-page, single-spaced as noted above.
Q: For novels and graphic novels, should I submit the first 6 pages? Or can I submit any 6 pages?
We strongly suggest you submit the first 6 pages.
Your first pages are your first impression with an agent or editor, and they’re likely to be the only pages read in a submission package. Those are also the pages that set up the story, and the story may not make sense if you choose pages from the middle of your manuscript. You want those pages to shine! Making these pages as strong as possible can make a big difference in getting an agent or editor to request more work.
Q: I’m submitting a novel and my first chapter ends on page 7 and the limit is 6 pages. Can I just send 7 so you'll have a complete chapter?
No; please limit your manuscript to 6 pages. If your chapter is longer than 6 pages, look for a natural stopping point before that and send the pages up to that point.
Take a look at the manuscript sample for a novel. You may be able to fit in more than you realize by not leaving the typical spacing for a chapter beginning.
Q: After I submitted my work, I made some changes and I want to replace my original submission with a new one. There is still time before the submission deadline, so can I do that?
No; please upload your manuscript ONLY ONCE. We cannot accept multiple revised uploads. Proof your work carefully and submit when you are absolutely ready.
Q: I would like a refund, or I’d like to cancel my participation. How do I do that?
There are no refunds or cancellations for this event.
Q: I have a question that’s not addressed here. Who can I contact?
For any questions that are not already addressed in our FAQs, please reach out to email@example.com. We’ll respond as soon as we’re able.