Free Pre-Conference Manuscript Review or Critique

Pre-Conference Manuscript Submission Guidelines

All Submissions are due at Mount Hermon no later than Monday, April 3, 2017.

As part of your registration, you may submit TWO manuscripts for a total of TWO faculty readings.

You have the option of readings by professional writers for a critique of your manuscript or readings by an agent or editor to review (not critique) your manuscript as a possibility for their agency, periodical, or publishing house. If you have never had your writing critiqued by a published author and/or you’ve never been published, we strongly suggest you choose two critiques.

Important Submission Details

Manuscripts should be typed, double-spaced, with your name on each page.

They must be original (your work) and unpublished.
The manuscript is limited to 10 pages plus the other Book Proposal Components (a cover letter, a 1 or 2-page outline for nonfiction or synopses for fiction, etc.).

A manuscript for pre-submission consists of:
  • One article or short story (1800 word maximum)

  • One article query, with outline (3 pages maximum)

  • One book proposal, including sample up to 10 pages. See Book Proposal and Query Guidelines. Please do not send complete books.

  • Up to three devotionals or fillers (250–400 words each, maximum)

  • No more than three poems (24-line maximum each)

  • Please refer to the Query Letter & Book Proposal Guidelines page if you need help with these two parts of a submission package.

Do not send us your only copy! Keep your original and send copies. Bring copies with you in case you wish to show the piece to someone else at the conference.

What is the difference between a manuscript critique and an editorial review?

When you send in your pre-conference submission, you can choose to either have your manuscript critiqued by a published freelance writer or have your manuscript reviewed by an agent or by an editor of a publishing house or magazine.

Request a critique

If you primarily want an honest evaluation of your writing, its marketability, and to learn how you can sharpen your writing. You may receive a line-by-line critique of three to five pages, some general editorial pointers, and sometimes direction on places where you might submit the manuscript for publication.

Request a editorial review

If you feel your manuscript is polished enough to present to an editor or agent and if you primarily want to discover if a publishing house or magazine would be interested in publishing your manuscript or if an agent might like to represent you.

  • Keep in mind that the editor or agent is not required to critique your manuscript. Nor do they have the time to do so. Generally, the editor or agent will tell you whether or not he or she is interested in your manuscript (at that particular moment, for that particular publisher, publication or agency). Some may say no, but then suggest a different agent or publisher. Or you may receive a suggestion to work with a critique team member for further polishing. If the editor or agent is interested in your manuscript, you may be asked to send the manuscript after the conference to prevent suitcase overload. Very rarely does an editor accept manuscripts at the conference since other publishing team members are usually involved in a final decision.
  • Check the appropriate box on the manuscript submission form—Critique by a Published Author or an Editorial Review.

How do I know which Critique Team members, Agents, or Editors to choose for my two pre-conference submissions?

Peruse the Critique Team members’ specialties to select the right author to critique your manuscript. Or let the team choose the appropriate person.

Refer to the Editorial Needs listing under Resources to see what the Agents and Editors are looking to review. Also, visit the websites of the publisher, magazine, or agency. This research will help you determine if you and your writing might be a good fit. Still can’t decide? Let the manuscript processing team choose the appropriate agent or editor to review your submission.

  • All Pre-Conference Manuscripts are due in the Mount Hermon office by Monday, April 3, 2017.

  • There is a two manuscripts maximum for pre-conference submissions.

  • It's important that you follow all of the guidelines for submitting your manuscripts. Scroll down to find the instructions for preparing your pre-conference manuscript submission.

  • Bring extra copies of your manuscript to the conference.

  • If you are unsure who to request to critique or review your manuscript, let the Manuscript Processing Team choose a critique team member, an agent, or an editor for you.

  • You'll find the Instructions for Preparing and Sending Your Manuscripts and the Submission Form below.

  • If you send in your manuscripts and then for some reason must cancel, your manuscript will not be critiqued or returned.

  • All manuscripts must go through the Manuscript Retrieval System for tracking. Please do not allow an editor to hand you your manuscript if it has not been checked back in through the system. Likewise, do not hand your manuscript to an editor for review. Request a signed form from the faculty member and process your manuscript through the manuscript retrieval system in the Hospitality Center (Multi-Purpose Room).

When will my manuscript be returned to me and where do I pick it up?

Manuscripts are given to editors, agents, and freelancers on Thursday and Friday just before the conference begins. Saturday after lunch, the Manuscript Retrieval team, located in the writers Hospitality Center (Multi-Purpose Room), begins releasing returned manuscripts to their writers. Please note that some critique team members and reviewers may have bigger stacks and will require more time for completing their critique or review.

What do I do if the agent and/or editor I chose for my pre-conference submission aren’t interested in my manuscript?

That is a real possibility. It could be that the publisher recently released, or will be releasing, a book or article similar to yours. The editor may be looking for something different and specific to their needs. Keep in mind that the best publishing house or magazine for your project may not be represented at the conference this year. Network with other writers. Talk to the critique team. Find out about other options for your manuscript.

Take advantage of the conference’s professional freelancers on the Critique Team and gain their professional insight in how you can further polish and edit your manuscript. Click here to learn more about what the Critique Team has to offer at the conference.

What if I’m not sending in a manuscript prior to the conference or bringing a project?

That is perfectly fine. You are free to choose to attend the conference to sharpen your writing skills, to network, or to discover more about the publishing industry.

Preparing Your Pre-Conference Manuscript Submission

  • For submitting ONE manuscript, you’ll need one 9x12 envelope and one 10x13 envelope. For submitting TWO manuscripts, you’ll need two 9x12 envelopes and one 10x13 envelope.

  • Please don’t use the bubble packages as they are difficult to open on this end. Thanks!

  • Place each manuscript (see those descriptions above) in a 9x12 manila envelope (Self-adhesive type, if possible. If the envelope has a metal clasp, please cover it with tape and don’t use the clasp. Do not bind, clip, or staple manuscript pages.

  • Tape one Pre-Conference Manuscript Submission Form to the outside, top and front of each manila envelope (any color). See sample in submission guidelines form.

  • Do not seal inner manuscript envelopes (9x12).

  • Place both 9x12 envelopes in one 10x13 manila envelope (any color) and mail them together.

  • See the Guidelines for Preparing and Sending Your Manuscripts, available below.

On each Submission Form, indicate your preference for one of the following:

  • A critique by a published author

  • An Editorial Review by an agent or an editor

  • A Manuscript Critique: A professional writer (most often a freelancer) will critique your manuscript, offering a consultation on the strengths and weaknesses in your writing, and possible suggestions for publishing direction. Unless otherwise indicated, critiques may be written directly in the margins of your manuscripts. That’s why we recommend that you bring extra copies in case you wish to show the manuscript to someone else.

Submission Form

Pre-Conference Manuscript Submission Form

You may also find all the documents you need on our Letters Forms & Guidelines page.