Conference & Critique Tips

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

I’m so excited about our upcoming 20th Anniversary Celebration on March 23, 2013! One reason is because my youngest son and I are super-huge TA Barron fans, and I plan on being front row and center to hear him speak.  

ta barron

(Warning: Do NOT get behind me in the autograph line because I’m gonna have a ton of books to get signed!)  

The biggest reason, though, is because I love, love, LOVE conferences! I love being inspired by speakers. I love seeing old friends. I love meeting new friends and I love being in a roomful of people who speak my language, and who understand the significance of this scene from WONDER BOYS:


Seriously, when my husband first saw Q say that, he turned to me with a befuddled look and said, “Um … okay … he’s a writer. Big whoop, I’m a contractor!”

He just didn’t get it.

But you do, right? And that’s why I love conferences, being around so many people who get it.

If you love surrounding yourself with folks who “get it” as well, then be sure to register for our 20th Anniversary Conference soon, because registrations have been pouring in! And for those of you who have been reading this blog regularly–you know what’s coming next.

My yearly nag for you to send your critiques or art portfolios in!

Seriously, when I hear people say, “Yeah, I was thinking about having a critique done, but life has been crazy and–you know–maybe I’ll wait until the next conference,” I want to shake them by the shoulders.

Look, when you submit a critique or art portfolio–and you submit it quickly–you are opening yourself to the chance of being reviewed by an agent, an editor, or professional author. You are getting fifteen minutes of their undivided, face-to-face time, which in this tough business, is priceless. You are honoring your future by investing in your career and I’m sure glad I did years ago, because the sales of both my novels have been a direct result of SCBWI critiques, true story!

So I’m going to say it again. I’m even going to shout it. SEND YOUR CRITIQUES and ART PORTFOLIOS IN!

There. Nag over … for now.

Instructions for how to submit your manuscript/portfolio submissions are on the SCBWI MD/DE/WV website. (Scroll to the bottom.)

And for those who are either whipping their critique into shape, or if this will be your first conference, here’s some links to previous posts that offer many tips and advice. And okay, maybe it’s cheating–putting up links to old posts instead of writing fresh ones–but I like to think of it as recycling and recycling is good, right?

(Plus, if I don’t have a manuscript finished by next Tuesday, then I have to buy everyone in my writing group lunch. ;))

Workshop #1: Opening Lines
Workshop #2: Amazing Manuscript First Pages
Workshop #3: Formatting
Workshop #4: Surviving Your First Critique
Workshop #5: Perfecting Your Book Pitch

This one has specific references to our last conference, but still has some useful information: Conference Challenge #8: Prepare for a successful conference

So, be sure to register, get those critiques in, and I hope to see you on March 23, 2013!!

Happy Writing and drawing! 🙂


About Laura Bowers

Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, blogger/vlogger at Write, Run, Rejoice and Joyful Miles, mom of two college boys, excellent chili maker, and obsessive list keeper. She clearly likes run-on sentences and adverbs. She also still thinks Spice World was an awesome movie and feels no shame about that.
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5 Responses to Conference & Critique Tips

  1. Your enthusiasm always gets me fired up, Laura!

  2. Alix Moore says:

    Hi Laura, Thanks for all the great info in your post. I checked out the links in your post, but I still have a question. I have a picture book manuscript that I am thinking of entering for a critique. It is fully illustrated already, and the text and pictures work together to tell the story. Can I submit the pdf for a critique? It’s really important to me that someone looks at the whole product, not just the words. Thanks in advance for your answer, Alix

    • Laura Bowers says:

      Hey, Alix! I’m not quite sure, so I’ll forward this to our critique coordinator to find out.

      Let me ask you this, though. Are you hoping to sell the book as both the author and illustrator? From your message, it sounds as though you are. But just in case you’re not and you want to sell it as the author only, I would recommend not sending the drawings so you can find out if your text is strong enough to stand on its own.

      Either way, I’ll get an answer to you soon and I’m so happy you’re thinking of getting a critique! 🙂

    • Laura Bowers says:

      Hey again, Alix! I spoke to our crit gal and she said that considering two of the critiquers are willing to look at layout dummies for PBs, they should be fine looking at a fully illustrated MS. However, you will need to submit a hard copy, because nearly all critiquers want to receive submissions in hard copy format.

      (In fact, everyone must submit both e-mail and paper copies before they can assign a critiquer.)

      Hope this helps and good luck!

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