Attendees to an SCBWI conference often consider submitting material for a critique. Is it worth the extra money? Will the advice and comments they receive be worth possibly missing part of a session while you talk with the agent, editor, or writer who critiqued your manuscript? Here’s a comment we received from Kerry Aradhya, whose ms was critiqued at a previous conference:
During a critique at our 2009 summer conference, I was paired with a local author who recommended several ways to improve my manuscript and suggested I try submitting it to Sylvan Dell Publishing. Just before the holidays, the editor at Sylvan Dell let me know that it was one of about 30 manuscripts she was still considering for 10 slots in her 2011 list. In the end, it didn’t make the cut, but I got oh so close to my first picture book contract. I thank my critiquer for this encouraging experience, and I will definitely use this service again!
Speaking for myself, I’m published, but that (sadly) doesn’t open editors’ doors automatically. I had a NF picture book I thought was pretty good, but it got no traction with editors. So I gambled at the 2009 conference and had a critique. The agent told me that the story would be better suited if I fictionalized it. I truly prefer to write NF but, after a lot of thought, decided to re-write it as she suggested. A publisher liked my query and it is now under consideration.
Moral of these two tales: Critiques can help.
AND –Whether aspiring or well published writer, you now have four additional days to take advantage of a critique opportunity (and not regret you didn’t). See the registration form for specifics and send to Naomi (writers) or Susan (illustrators) now. Even if you’ve already registered.