Behold! The wisdom you seek is found below…

Editorial Appraisal Quandaries

Q: The manuscript I’d like feedback on is not yet complete. Is it okay to submit it for an appraisal? And what do I write where the submission form asks for the word count?

A: You are welcome to submit finished or unfinished manuscripts. The editorial appraisal is a chance to meet with a publishing professional or experienced author to discuss your work- at whatever stage you’re at. In the submission form, where it asks for a word count, reply ‘NA’ or make an educated guess. Appropriate length might be something you’d like to discuss at your appointment.

Q: When are writing samples due? Is that date set in stone?

A: Samples are due to be uploaded by 11:59 PM, 4 October 15 October. We extended the date to allow for late bookings. If you’re unable to make the deadline, please email us. It depends on the editor’s availability. We will consult on your behalf.

Q: Why can I submit only one picture book manuscript? They are shorter than 10 pages.

A: One picture book manuscript takes as long to critique as ten pages of other text. Picture books include an entire story arc, illustration notes, and requires special consideration.

Q: Should I be nervous about this editorial appraisal? It sounds scary!

A: It’s normal to be nervous in this kind of situation, but there’s really no need at all. Not only are all of our editorial appraisers professionals, they are lovely people. It helps if you frame it as a valuable learning opportunity, not as a grade or a judgement.

Q: If I don’t format my writing sample exactly as directed, will I lose points?

A: No, because there are no ‘points’. The formatting guidelines serve two purposes: 1) to make it easier to read for our editorial appraisers; and 2) to follow publishing industry conventions. The guidelines we set out are not arbitrary. They are similar to anything you would submit to a contest or publisher.

Q: How about some tips for formatting the itty-bitty synopsis?

A: Itty-bitty is right! 200 words? Seriously, who picked that number? Don’t worry too much. The Word-Count Police have packed away their calculators and shut up shop. Word on the street is they are currently lounging on a beach in Bali, sipping mojitos, so nobody will be counting to see if you’ve gone over or under. Title, genre, and word count go at the top in a separate paragraph to synopsis body. They’re not counted as part of your 200-word limit. You can, of course, make it shorter than 200, and a little over is fine too. 250 anyone? One last tip, like your chapter sample, double spacing will make it easier to read.

Q: Does a picture book manuscript require a 200-word synopsis?

A: No. However, one of our editors said that a little blurb (e.g., ~50 words) about the story can be helpful. Feel free to include this on the title page rather than as a separate page.

Q: YIKES! I found an itty-bitty typo in the sample I submitted. I’ll die a million deaths of mortification! I won’t be able to look the editor in the eye! Can I just resubmit it?

A: No, sorry. Managing the manuscripts is quite labour-intensive, and behind the scenes, there are a few good-hearted volunteers – not a band of indefatigable elves.

Q: Pretty please? It’s not a silly typo-it’s a huge revision, a radical rewrite.

A: Well, we can try. It depends on the timeframe and the editor’s workload. Please email us to have a chat. If it’s fewer than two weeks to the Conference, we’ll have to say no out of fairness to the editors.

Q: It know it’s crazy… but I can’t remember who I booked. Or the time of the appointment…

A: Eh, it happens. A lot, as a matter of fact. Before you contact our hardworking, good-hearted volunteers, search your inbox for emails from Trybooking as a first step. Look for one with ‘Editorial Appraisal’ in the subject line. There’s a box in the top corner that says ‘Tickets’. Click the box and your ticket will open in your browser. Voilá! Name and time of your appointment. Now is the time to print it out, screenshot it, or tattoo the info on your knuckles. If you have no luck finding the email, get in touch and we’ll look it up! We promise not to laugh at you.

You will be pleased to know we will post a timetable of appointments at the Conference. You won’t be pleased to know that to be allowed to look at it, you first have to jump on one leg and rub your belly at the same time. While singing Advance Australia Fair.

Q: Can I give my editorial appraisal appointment to someone else?

A: Unfortunately, no. The Conference Terms & Conditions state that the editorial appraisals are non-transferable. The appraiser may have started or finished critiquing your sample.

Conference Quandaries

Q: I have some challenging food intolerances. Does the Conference cater to everyone?

A: To keep our costs down, we had to limit our morning/afternoon tea and lunch options to normal, gluten-free, and vegetarian. If these options don’t work for you, please contact us to discuss arrangements.

Q: Can I bring my books to sell?

A: Only presenters’, panelists’ and other Faculty members’ books will be offered for sale on the day through a special arrangement with our on-site bookseller. If you’re an indie author, check out our arrangements on the SCBWI Sparks Showcase page.

Venue Variables

Q: Do I really need to bring my own water-bottle to refill instead of buying bottles of water?

A: Yes. We’re committed to following the EcoCentre’s ethics of working towards a sustainable, less polluted planet. And we hear the water tastes pretty good too.

Q: Is the EcoCentre wheelchair-friendly?

A: Yes, it is indeed.

Q. Is parking available?

A: Yes, both car parks near the EcoCentre are free on a Sunday.

Q: Is carpooling available?

A: A very environmentally-friendly option! Nearer the Conference date, please check the SCBWI QLD FaceBook Page. We’re encouraging people to connect and organise their rides there.