I’m not yet a published author, but on September 26, 2017 I will be when my picture book, I HAVE A BALLOON, pubs! In anticipation of that date, and in recognition of how many people helped me along the way (and how many are still helping!), I’m offering one FREE picture book critique.
Previously, when I offered picture book critiques, I randomly selected the winners based on people who commented (with extra entries for sharing the contest on social media).
I’m doing it a little differently this time. I’ve critiqued a lot of picture book manuscripts over the past three years, and while I always have comments to give, I’ve found that there are manuscripts I respond more to in terms of being able to give helpful and detailed suggestions. This does not mean that a manuscript I don’t pick isn’t good or worthy of a critique. It just means that I’m probably not the right person to give it a thorough enough critique that will help improve it.
To enter the contest, please email the following to me at a3bernstein at gmail.com, with the subject line PB Critique Submission:
1. One fiction, non-rhyming manuscript, under 1,000 words. Please copy and paste the manuscript into the email.
2. Please verify that you are 18 years of age or older.
3. The number of years you have been writing picture books.
4. Whether you are currently in a critique group/ have critique partners.
5. Whether you are a member of SCBWI.
Emails can be sent up until Tuesday, July 25. A manuscript will be chosen for critique by Thursday, August 24 (possibly sooner).
So, here’s the thing. I’m only choosing one manuscript to critique. BUT, it’s up to you if you want to make a connection for another critique in the comments. If you’d like to find a reader for your story, in the comments please write:
1. Your story’s title
2. Word count
3. A 1-2 sentence blurb about your story
4. A comp title
If you see a story in the comments that you’d like to offer a critique for (and possibly get a critique back!), feel free to contact each other! There is no obligation to write a comment, offer a critique, or follow-up. I do hope some great critique partners are found!
Like many others on the East Coast today, I am anticipating a snowstorm tonight through tomorrow. A possibly monstrous snowstorm. It’s no surprise that I would love to be somewhere different. Say, somewhere that’s sunny, warm, and has beach chairs.
But if I were somewhere sunny and warm, I probably wouldn’t be getting much writing done. Because how can someone get any writing done while sitting on a beach chair? And then I might be thinking, “If only I was trapped inside during a snowstorm, I would get so much work done.”
As writers, we’re really good at imagining being somewhere else. Somewhere Else is always great. It’s where we finish a manuscript. Where we find a great critique group. Where we sign with an agent. Where we sell a book. Where we get great reviews. Where we win awards. Where we sell another book, that’s of course a 2-book deal. Where we negotiate movie rights. Okay, maybe not the movie rights so much for a picture book. We writers try to be somewhat realistic.
Today, however, I don’t want to imagine being somewhere else in my writing career. I want to stop and enjoy where I am for a moment. Instead, I want to help other writers get to the place they want to be.
Therefore, I’m offering another contest for a free critique – one for everyone who enters, and one for writers of #ownvoices. Here are the rules:
1. The story must be a fictional picture book, less than 1,000 words.
2. The story can be in rhyme, but I will only critique the story, not the rhyme or meter.
3. #Ownvoices includes writers who feel their experiences are not well-represented in traditional publishing. To me, that includes (but is not limited to) writers of disability, gender diversity, under-represented race, religious minority, and Native backgrounds.
4. Writers who enter under the #ownvoices contest can also enter the contest for everyone.
5. To enter, comment below by explaining which contest(s) you are entering.
6. You get one entry for your comment that you’re entering.
7. You get an additional entry if you note where you’ve shared this contest on social media.
8. You get an additional entry if you comment what you’ve achieved so far as a writer that makes you proud.
9. Comments will be accepted through Friday, March 17.
I will randomly pick the two contest winners on Monday, March 20th. Given how crazy New Jersey’s weather has been so far, it might even be sunny and warm by then. And I’ll have to buy a beach chair.
Thank you to everyone who entered the contest! I loved reading your comments about what you've accomplished in your writing journeys so far. Sue Ford and Jeff Glade are the winners of picture book critiques.
Thank you to all who entered the picture book critique giveaway!
The winner of the first critique is Beth Gallagher!
The winner of the second critique is Fabienne Doucet!
To everyone who entered - your heartfelt comments truly gave me a reason to smile this past week :-) THANK YOU!!!
I've been thinking all day about the election and what is says to kids. We tell kids to be good to each other, to not bully, to include, to respect. But kids and adults woke up this morning feeling scared because of who they are. They feel their voices, already marginalized, are about to be drowned out even more. I wish I could take away the fear, but I know I can't. What I can do is support their voices and stories. I can support my fellow writers whose stories give children a way to recognize their own lives and understand their world.
I am offering two free picture book critiques. The picture books must be under 1,000 words and fiction. It can be in rhyme, but I will only critique the story, not the rhyme or meter.
The first critique is for any picture book author who wants to enter. The second critique is for any writer who feels their background is marginalized and under-represented in the kid lit world. This includes, but is not limited to, people who identify as LGBTQ, people with disabilities, and people of under-represented races, cultures, and religions. People who enter the drawing for the second critique can also enter the drawing for the first critique.
How to enter? Write a comment below, stating which critique(s) you are submitting for. If you share on social media, please note that in your comment and you will get an extra submission. This is a free critique, but I do ask one thing. In your comment, please note that you will pay this idea forward by helping someone else. You can describe what you will do or you can say you'll figure it out soon. It could be anything from paying for someone's cup of coffee to promising to shovel your neighbor's walk at the first snowfall. There's no wrong idea as long as you're taking the time to help someone else.
Comments will be open until Wednesday, November 16. I will contact the winners soon after. Thank you!