Conference Critique Pointers: FAQ Take 1

Conference registration opens on June 5. Since that’s only a couple of days from now, I thought it might be time to answer some questions that have built up since last year.

Before I cover some FAQs I want to make one thing totally clear. If you purchase a standard critique, send ONLY ten (10) pages of the material. You may send an optional one (1) page synopsis. I will not send any more than tweleve (12) pages to the faculty member:  cover, synopsis, manuscript. The same goes for extendeds. Send only thirty (30) pages, the cover and the optional synopsis, bringing the total to thirty-two pages. If you send more, I will return the electronic copy to you and you’ll have one chance to delete the extra pages. Beyond that I will destroy the copy and it will not be sent to the faculty member and you will not get a refund. Send ONLY what’s asked for and included in the purchase price.

1.How should I format the hard copies I send to you?
Although some agents and editors have particular instructions for submissions, for the conference, it’s best to stick with standard formatting. All critiques should be in Times New Roman or Courier 12pt font. They should be printed on regular printer paper (20lb., 92 brightness). Make sure all your margins are 1″. For the header, place your name and the working title of your manuscript in the upper left hand corner. In the upper right, insert the page number and the estimated word count (if you know it). Send a title page, for each of the two copies, with the title of the manuscript and your contact information. You may send a one-page synopsis if you’d like–standard format. Bind each copy together with a binder clip, rubber band or paper clip. Now for the DON’T part:  no report covers, no staples and please, PLEASE no cardstock weight paper.

2.How about the formatting for the electronic copy?
Save the electronic copy as a .DOC or .RTF. Name the file like this:


For example, if my manuscript was named The Devil and Hotdog Smith, here’s how the file would look once I save it.

Include all three elements, manuscript, synopsis, and cover page, in ONE file. If I get your manuscript and it’s not in the right format, I will return it to you and ask that you save it in the right format. To select the format, To do this, open your document, go to SAVE AS. Name your document (see instructions above) and then in the drop down, below the name, select one of the above formats.I hate to be a stickler for this but it’s imperative, for all sorts of compatibility issues, that I get the files in this format. While I would like to be able to just fix it for you, I neither cannot nor will not do that. I do not want to alter your work, intentionally or otherwise, in any way.
3. How will I know you got my stuff?
When I get your materials, I will send you an email confirming they arrived safe and sound. In the case of hard copies, I will stamp them with the date and file them alphabetically. In the case of electronic copies, I will open them and check for any file corruption issues. If you have emailed or mailed your materials and you have not heard from me in a reasonable time frame, feel free to email. Please give the Post Office (and me) ample time to process your materials before you email.
4. Where do I send my stuff?
For the hard copies, mail them to the address below. Please copy this address EXACTLY to avoid any snags in delivery.
Lateia Elam Sandifer
SCWW Critiques
PO Box 503
Bamberg, SC 29003
For the electronic copies, attach your file and email them to:
5. Can I revise my manuscript once I send it to you?
No. I will only accept the first version you send, unless of course there is some major disaster like my computer crashes or your file is corrupt. There’s a lot of planning behind this aspect of the conference and to be fair to everyone, I cannot accept revisions. Make sure you send the best, most polished version to me. If you attempt to send a revision, the email will be returned with the attachement unopened and any hard copies will be shredded.
6. Can I change my faculty choices after you get my materials?
No. Once the manuscript has been received and assigned, there will be no changes—unless the faculty member is for some reason unable to accomodate your manuscript.
7. What if I query my faculty member before the conference and receive a rejection letter after I’ve chosen that person to critique my work?
Tough. My advice would be to refrain from querying the person(s) you select for critique. It can make for a very awkward meeting. Save the query letter until after you’ve met at the conference.
8. If my book sells before the conference, can I get a refund for my critique?
Once your materials have been received, logged in and confirmed, there will be NO refunds for critiques. Check out our policy for conference attendance refunds on the registration grid.
9. When will I find out who my critique was assigned to?,
When you check in, at the registration desk, you will be given a card that lists the details of your critique appointment(s). I will not be able to tell you who you are assigned to until that point. I’m not trying to be a meanie, but since the schedule is so complex, it may change several times before it’s finalized. However, since you are able to select your top three choices of faculty member, I will guarantee that you get one of those three people. If I cannot accomodate your requests, I will call or email you and we can figure out what is the best way to handle the conflict. If I cannot offer you a critique slot with someone that fits your needs, I will happily refund your critique fee.
10. Will you call me if you see something terribly wrong with my manuscript so I can change it before it’s sent to a faculty member?
If there is a problem with the file–corruption, weird characters, in another language—I will contact you and offer you the opportunity to resend. However, I will not, in any way, edit or read-though your submission for content or for copy-editing purposes. I will occassionally read the first couple of paragraphs to make sure your manuscript matches the requests of the faculty member. It is your sole responsibility to be comfortable and confident with your work before you send it to me.
Email me with any questions you have–or post to comments–and I’ll answer them. It’s best to get the questions out of the way before the rush of materials in late summer.

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3 Responses to Conference Critique Pointers: FAQ Take 1

  1. angie says:

    Thank you for this post. When are the materials due?

  2. Angie,

    That is sort of an important detail, huh? All critique materials must be postmarked on or before September 1, 2010 and all electronic materials must be received by midnight Eastern on September 1, 2010. Thanks for spotting this ommission!

  3. angie says:

    🙂 I was concerned that I missed it! Thanks.

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