Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024
  • Rebecca Williamson Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 7/8/2024
  • Sheila Fernley Agent Spotlight Interview, Critique Giveaway, and One-Hour Zoom Call on 7/29/2024
  • Erica McGrath Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 8/12/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.

SCBWI-Michigan Critique Carousel Opportunity


Logo by SCBWI-MI member Cathy Gendron

Happy Friday Everyone! I’m one of the 2022 Critique Carousel Coordinators with Alicia Curley and WendyBooydeGraaff for SCBWI-Michigan’s Critique Carousel. I’m so excited to help organize it and participate in it. It’s my first time submitting anything to an agent or editor in over 15 years.

FYI  The critique carousel will only be open to Michigan SCBWI members for the first week. In the event we have additional critique slots available, we may open to additional SCBWI regions/members. Keep your eye on our blog (https://scbwimithemitten.blogspot.com) and our site (https://michigan.scbwi.org)--Any information regarding the event will be posted there (and social channels).

Here are the FAQs we prepared to help SCBWI-Michigan members get ready to participate.

This year’s Critique Carousel is right around the corner, and we know Michigan SCBWI members have questions. Good news! We’ve got answers!

15 amazing kidlit agents are lined up for this year’s carousel and they’re looking forward to reading your work! We hope the FAQs below will help you prepare for the logistics of the event. More details regarding the participating agents will be shared once the registration website goes live in September. Don’t worry; you’ll have plenty of time to review the agents and pick the one best suited to critique your work. 

We hope you’ll consider taking a spin on this year’s Critique Carousel!


Your 2022 Critique Carousel Coordinators, 

Alicia Curley, Wendy BooydeGraaff, and Natalie Aguirre 

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. Participants will select a kidlit agent 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 for representation consideration even if their agent is closed to submissions to the general public.

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)

·                Chapter books

·                Middle grade (fiction and nonfiction)

·                YA (fiction and nonfiction)

·                Graphic novels (fiction and nonfiction)

·                Novels in verse 

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 19th, and it will close at 11:00 pm October 2nd. 

Participants must submit their manuscripts (and meet all submission guidelines) by midnight on October 2nd.

Agents have until November 12th 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:

·                At the top of the manuscript or manuscript sample, include your name, email, and title of the manuscript. In successive pages, add your name and manuscript title to the top of each page as a header. These are not counted toward your word limit.

o        Picture Books:

§     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.

o        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).

o        Graphic novels: 

§     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).

o        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; 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 

o        For genre, please use: PB, CB, MG, YA, GN, NV

o        Example: JaneDoe_AgentX_PB

·                Preferred file formats: Word doc or PDF

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 there be more agents who represent picture book writers, not only author/illustrators?

We’ve worked hard to ensure there are plentiful critique opportunities this year for picture book writers. 13 agents are offering picture book critiques, however not every agent offering picture book critiques is open to picture book submissions (or picture book text only submissions). Please read the agent’s MSWL carefully when deciding which agent to select for your critique.

Q: Will the agents 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 will be open to submissions from Critique Carousel participants for six months after receipt of the completed critique. Agents who are presently closed to submissions to the general public are asked to adhere to this as well. Instructions for submitting to agents will be shared with participants via email, 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 have more information to analyze your submission. Please note, agents 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)

Q: For novels and graphic novels, should I submit the first 6 pages? Or can I submit any 6 pages?

There’s no specific requirement here, however, we strongly suggest 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 critiquecarousel@gmail.com. We’ll respond as soon as we’re able. 

Upcoming Interviews and Guest Posts

Monday, August 22nd, I have a guest post by debut author Christyne Morrell with a giveaway of her MG science fiction Rex

Monday, September 1st, I'm participating in the Glam and Glitz Giveaway Hop 

Wednesday, September 7th, I have a guest post by debut author Keely Parrack and a giveaway of her YA thriller Don't Let in the Cold and my IWSG post

Monday, September 12th, I have an agent spotlight interview with Sarah Fink and a query critique giveaway 

Tuesday, September 16th, I'm participating in the Falling Into Leaves Giveaway Hop 

Monday, September 19th, I have a guest post by debut author Stacy Knockowitz and a giveaway of her MG historical MG historical The Prince of Steel Pier

Wednesday, September 21st, I have an agent spotlight interview with Jazmia Young and a query critique giveaway

Monday, September 26th, I'm reviewing Alba Dobb's MG historical The Other Side of the River and doing an ARC giveaway

Hope to see you on Monday!



Denise Covey said...

Hi Natalie. This is jam packed. The critique is a great idea. We all need more of those for sure. I saved those links for synopsis writing, I guess hoping one will shed more light on the subject. Hmm. 'Synopsis Writing Made Easy.' Doubt it, lol.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi Natalie...

How EXCITING!!!! All the best with this event! Too bad I live in IL, or I would definitely submit.

Mary said...

Congratulations, Natalie!!!!
Getting ready to submit is so hard! Submitting is so hard!
Hardest of all is having written something to submit!
I'm so happy for you. Great work. I am wishing you all the best!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Natalie, what an amazing concept the Critique Carousel is. And how helpful for writers looking for critiques as well as submission opportunities (in Michigan, :-) ) And how exciting to be part of it. It sounds really wonderful.