2023 Conference Critiques

Onsite and offsite critiques with faculty are a fantastic opportunity to get feedback on your work! One critique with acquiring faculty (agent/editor/art director) per conference participant. You can purchase one additional critique with authors, illustrators, author-illustrators.

What Is a Conference Critique?

Critiques are a conference-add, available for purchase when you register for the full Saturday conferenceOnly one critique with acquiring faculty per person. Only one critique with author/illustrators per person. You can have a total of two critiques at check out during registration.

Critiques are an opportunity to get feedback on your work from industry professionals, with a focus on marketability and execution of your craft. Please note that a critique is not a submission. Critiques with "acquiring" faculty members (i.e., editors, agents, art directors) sell out quickly, but all attendees will receive information for faculty members who will accept post-conference submissions. Critiques from authors and illustrators are a fantastic way to hone your craft and learn how to take your work to the next level based on their industry experience. 

The cut-off to buy and submit your work for a critique is August 29, 2023.

Faculty Critique Options


Foyinsi Adegbonmire, Editor, Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan)

Will critique middle grade and young adult fiction. Foyinsi enjoys contemporary, romance, or (lighthearted) fantasy, and grounded sci-fi (like our world in the future/with advanced tech). Foyinsi is offering written critiques and offsite Zoom critiques on Thursday, October 12 at 2:30- 2:45 pm est; 2:50 - 3:05 pm est; 3:10 - 3:25 est; 3:30 - 3:45 pm est; and 3:50 - 4:05 pm est. You can choose the timeslot that works best with your schedule at registration. No refunds or rescheduling of missed Zoom critiques.


Lisa Amstutz, Author/Associate Agent, Storm Literary Agency

Will critique picture book and middle grade fiction. Will critique nonfiction for any age. Lisa is offering written critiques and onsite Saturday in-person critiques.


Jean Daigneau, Author

Will critique fiction and nonfiction picture books and older nonfiction. Jean will offer written and in-person Saturday critiques.


Wendy Fedan, author-illustrator

Will critique picture book manuscripts or picture book dummies. Wendy is offering written critiques.


Ashley Hearn, Editor, Peachtree Teen

Will critique all genres of young adult fiction, as well as some middle grade fiction. Ashley is offering written and in-person Saturday critiques.


Aly Heller, Executive Editor, Aladdin (Simon and Schuster)

Will critique picture books, chapter books, and middle grade; fiction or nonfiction; also novels in verse. Aly will provide written critiques as well as offsite Zoom critiques on Monday October 16 and Friday October 20. The timeslots for Monday, October 16 are 5:00 - 5:15 pm est; 5:20 - 5:35 pm est; and 5:40 - 5:55 pm est. The timeslots for Friday, October 20 are 3:00 - 3:15 pm est; 3:20 - 3:35 pm est; and 3:40 - 3:55 pm est. You will be able to choose a critique timeslot at the time of registration. No refunds or rescheduling for missed Zoom critiques. Please be sure the day and time you select works for your schedule.


Christa Heschke, Agent, McIntosh & Otis

Will critique picture book, middle grade, and young adult fiction; picture book and middle grade nonfiction; and graphic novels. Christa is offering written critiques and onsite Saturday in-person critiques.


Jim Hoover, Art Director, Viking Children's Books (Penguin Random House)

Will critique illustrator portfolios. Jim is offering in-person Saturday conference critiques.


Caitlin Johnson, Associate Editor, Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins)

Will critique picture books, middle grade, and young adult, both fiction and nonfiction, and is open to all genres except horror. Caitlin is offering both written critiques and offsite Zoom critiques on Monday, October 2 and Friday, October 6. The Monday, October 2 timeslots are 12:00 - 12:15 pm est; 12:20 - 12:35 pm est;12:40 - 12:55 pm est. The Friday, October 6 timeslots are 12:00 - 12:15 pm est;12:20 - 12:35 pm est;12:40 - 12:55 pm est. There are no refunds or rescheduling missed Zoom critiques. Please select a day and time that works for your schedule.


Aneeka Kalia, Associate Editor, Viking Children's Books (Penguin Random House)

Will critique picture book fiction and nonfiction. Aneeka is offering written critiques and onsite in-person Saturday critiques.


Katie Mazeika, Author-Illustrator and Lillian Mazeika, Associate Agent, Tugeau 2 Agency

Will critique illustration portfolios. Katie and Lillian are offering joint in-person Saturday critiques. You will receive both of their perspectives in one critique!


Emma Otheguy, Author

Will critique picture books and middle grade, both fiction and nonfiction. Emma is offering written critiques and on-site in-person Saturday critiques.


Merrill Rainey, Author-Illustrator

Will critique fiction picture books, board books, and graphic novels. Merrill is offering written critiques.


Alex Robertson, Associate Editor, Candlewick Press

Will critique picture books, middle grade, and young adult, fiction and nonfiction for all categories. Alex connects most to stories with a strong narrative and an emphasis on empowered female characters. She also loves a good story about sisters and texts with an emphasis on nature and human relationships with the natural world. Alex is offering written critiques and offsite Zoom critiques on Wednesday, October 4 for these time slots: 6:00 - 6:15 pm est; 6:20 - 6:35 pm est; 6:40 - 6:55 pm est; 7:00 - 7:15 pm est; and 7:20 - 7:35 pm est.


Lindsay Ward, author-illustrator

Will critique picture book manuscripts and dummies, including fiction, humorous, historical fiction, and informational fiction. Lindsay is offering both written and Zoom critiques on Tuesday, October 10 at 7:00-7:15 pm est, 7:20-7:35 pm est, 7:40-7:55 pm est, 8:00 - 8:15 pm est, and 8:20 - 8:35 pm est.

Critique Options and Pricing


There are three options for Manuscript Critiques:


Option 1: Written-only ($55) with onsite or offsite faculty

Option 2: One-on-one (15 minutes) in-person at the conference with on-site faculty on Saturday ($80)

Option 3: One-on-one via Zoom with off-site faculty in October ($80)


There are two options for Portfolio Critiques:


Option 1: One-on-one (15 minutes) Portfolio Critiques are in-person at the conference with on-site faculty on Saturday ($80)

Option 2: One-on-one via Zoom with off-site faculty in October ($80)

How to Prepare and Submit Your Work for Critique

Manuscript Submission Process

All manuscripts submitted for critiques will be submitted through a Google form. You will receive the link to the Google form via email with instructions a few days after you register.  

All files submitted through the Google form should be labeled with your the critique faculty's last name, your last name, the title, and saved as a Word.docx file:


Example: Kalia_DuBayGillis_BELIEVE.docx



• Check your email for the Google form to submit your manuscript for critique. If you don't have the link to the Google form within 48 hours of registering for the conference, please email Britney Rudowsky at 

• Microsoft Word format with FacultyLastName_YourLastName_Title as the file name

• Double-spaced

• Check your page count (10 pages max)

• One story max (i.e., not 20 tiny picture book manuscripts)

• A query or cover letter is not needed

• One file per critique (However, if you choose to include a dummy with a picture book manuscript, you may also attach a PDF, less than 5MB in size)

Anyone registering after August 29 will not be able to sign up for manuscript critiques.



No cover letter or query letter is needed — please only send the manuscript (or excerpt). It’s tough to manage more than one file per person, and we have a lot of critiques!

If you are sending a section of your manuscript and you feel that synopsis is needed for the reviewer to understand the context, you can include one at the beginning of your manuscript, and it counts toward the page total.

Only send one manuscript, even if it is a picture book that's less than ten pages. A wise past faculty member once said, “each manuscript, regardless of how short, requires the same amount of attention.” Remember that elements of a story to be assessed (e.g., character, plot, sense of place) apply to all genres. Please only include one project in the manuscript document.

Portfolio Process

If you are selecting a critique with an on-site faculty member, bring your portfolio with you to your critique.

Receiving Your Critiques

If you purchase an on-site in-person critique for Saturday, you will receive your critique timeslot at the registration table. We do our best to schedule your critique to not interfere with your breakout session choices.

If you purchase a written-only critique, you will receive your feedback from the Ohio North Regional Team via email the week of October 2.

If you purchase an off-site critique via Zoom, these will occur in early October, depending on the timeslot for the faculty member you've chosen. You will receive your Zoom link for your off-site critique by Sunday, October 1.