Coaching

Get your work one step closer to publication with a professional illustration or writing coach. Their guidance will elevate your manuscript to a new level.

With three types of coaching available, you can pick exactly the feedback format and price right for you.

Get a written manuscript critique from an industry professional.

After your manuscript has been through peer critiques, it is time for a professional to step in and take it to the next level. Select the perfect industry-published professional to provide you with a comprehensive written critique.

Please review each person's submission guidelines carefully before selecting and allow two weeks from submission to receive your feedback.

Availability of slots will be updated monthly.

How written critiques work:

Step 1: Review the list below of people offering written critiques. Each instructor specializes in critiquing specific types of work, so please make sure you select the person right for your project.

Step 2: Purchase your written critique. (Or use the code in your email to claim your free critique.)

Step 3: Watch your email for a confirmation email. If you don't get a confirmation email, check your spam (or promotions) folder. Email support@storytelleracademy.com if you didn't receive your confirmation email.

Step 4: You will fill out a form and attach one manuscript or dummy for that person to critique. (You will only do this once, so please make sure you have it right the first time. When you submit the form, it will send an email to the person who will be critiquing your work. 

YOU MAY NOT CHANGE YOUR MIND ABOUT WHICH PERSON YOU WANT OR GET A REFUND AFTER YOU'VE SUBMITTED. As the person you have submitted to may have already started your critique, that would not be fair to them.)

Step 5: When you have successfully submitted, you should see a “Thank You” page and get a confirmation email.

Step 6: The person critiquing your picture book has two weeks to finish your critique. Please be patient. You should get an email with your critique attached within two weeks. 

If at any point in the process you have questions, you can email us at support@storytelleracademy.com.

OUR CURRENT ONE-ON-ONE CRITIQUE INSTRUCTORS

Diana Murray is the author of over twenty children’s books, including the bestselling UNICORN DAY series and Jr. Library Guild Selections like CITY SHAPES and GOODNIGHT, VEGGIES. Diana has taught rhyming picture book workshops at the Highlights Foundation and Storyteller Academy, and her poetry appears in many magazines and anthologies. She grew up in New York City and still lives nearby with her husband, two children, and a dancing dog. http://www.dianamurray.com.

Submit one picture book, board book, OR early reader text of 750 words or less. Can be rhyming or prose. Please specify which genre you are submitting.

Jannie Ho has been an illustrator of children's books for more than ten years. Her work has appeared in both trade and educational books, magazines, toys, crafts, and digital media. Currently based out of Boston, MA, she's also known as Chicken Girl. Jannie (pronounced Jane-nee) received her BFA in illustration at Parsons The New School of Design in New York. 

For written critique, you may submit one board, novelty, picture book manuscript, or dummy. Jannie's specialties are books for the younger age group (0-5), working with both text and illustration.

Jodi is the author of the award-winning When A Dragon Moves In When A Dragon Moves In Again, and I Love My Dragon (illustrated by Howard McWilliam, published by Flashlight Press.) She is a member of SCBWI, a raving fan/student of Storyteller Academy, and has been a Critique Ninja for the online 12×12 Picture Book Writing Challenge for the past seven years.

You may submit one picture book manuscript or dummy (1000 words or less) for written critique.

Nadia Salomon (nadiasalomon.com) is a children's author writing on themes of South Asian and Caribbean culture, STEM, nonfiction, and humor. She is the winner of the 2020 SCBWI Service Award and the 2019 SCBWI WOOP Honor Award for work of outstanding progress. Nadia also has two forthcoming books in 2023 and 2024.

For written critique, please include a brief cover letter in the body of your manuscript, noting specific issues you would like Nadia to focus on. You may submit only one of the following:

  • ONE picture book manuscript per consultation and no more than 1000 words or 1,200 for non-fiction.
  • For non-fiction pieces, I will only critique storytelling. Fact-checking back matter/source material is the sole responsibility of the writer.

You will receive a written summary and your manuscript with comments in Microsoft Word.

Rebecca Gardyn Levington is a children’s book author, poet, and journalist with a particular penchant for penning both playful and poignant picture books and poems – primarily in rhyme. Her debut picture book Brainstorm! (Sleeping Bear Press, 2022) hits bookshelves this summer. She has four more rhyming picture books releasing in the next two years.

Rebecca particularly enjoys humorous stories and lyrical SEL concept picture books, but she is open to critiquing all kinds of stories.

You may submit one picture book manuscript (rhyming or non-rhyming) under 600 words as an MS Word Doc. 

Award-winning author Rita Lorraine Hubbard is a retired special education teacher of 20 years. She now writes for children and middle graders full-time. Her books, THE OLDEST STUDENT: HOW MARY WALKER LEARNED TO READ; HAMMERING FOR FREEDOM: THE WILLIAM LEWIS STORY; and AFRICAN AMERICANS OF CHATTANOOGA: A HISTORY OF UNSUNG HEROES, have garnered awards that include the New Voices Award, the East Tennessee Historical Preservation Award, Amazon Editor's Pick, and the 2022 Texas Bluebonnet Master List Award. You can find Rita online at: www.ritahubbard.com.

You may submit nonfiction bios of 1200 words or less or contemporary humor of 600 words or less for a written critique.

Sage Blackwood was an ESL teacher for many years, mostly to Central Yup'ik-speakers on the Bering Sea Coast of Alaska. Her books include Jinx, Jinx's Magic, Jinx's Fire, and Miss Ellicott's School for the Magically Minded, published by HarperCollins. President Obama once bought a copy of JINX on a visit to a DC bookstore with his daughters.

You may submit 750 words-novel for critique.

Shannon Anderson taught for 25 years and is now an award-winning children's book author of over a dozen books in the traditional market and over 20 books in the educational market. She is the former Regional Advisor for the Indiana SCBWI and has taught many picture book writing workshops and classes. She loves doing author visits and mentoring aspiring writers. You can learn more about her at  www.shannonisteaching.com.

You may submit one picture book manuscript under 700 words for written critique.

Tim McCanna writes rhyming picture books and taught our Storytelling in Rhyme and Meterology 101 mini-classes. He also has his author/illustrator debut graphic early reader releasing this year.

You may submit one board book, picture book, or early reader for written critique. Rhymers can be up to 600 words. Prose can be up to 800 words. Early readers can be up to 1,000 words.

Get one-on-one feedback on your work from an instructor.

A one-on-one with an illustration or writing coach is a 25 to 30-minute critique via Zoom. 

First, review the list of instructors (below) as each specializes in specific types of work.

Next, select and pay for your critique. From the confirmation page we will link you directly to our calendar system to book your date and time.

Lastly, remember to submit your work at least a week in advance via the link provided.

  • You'll need to upload your work at least at least a week in advance to give the instructor of your choice time to give you thoughtful feedback.
  • If you choose someone who specialize in picture book critiques, please only submit ONE manuscript or dummy for critique.
  • The instructors available will fluctuate throughout the year.
  • After checking out, just wait a few minutes to schedule your one-on-one through the instructor's calendar in Calendly. You can book a date from there and add it to your calendar.
  • Make sure you upload your work for the instructor in advance and show up for your one-on-one through the Zoom link provided!
  • If you need help, please email support@storytelleracademy.com.
OUR CURRENT ONE-ON-ONE CRITIQUE INSTRUCTORS

Our Writing Picture Book Manuscripts instructor, Jim Averbeck, is brilliant at helping students see how to revise their picture book manuscripts and dummies. You may be familiar with Jim's Hierarchy of Revision. Jim is a great mentor for any stage your story is in. You will need to upload either a dummy or a manuscript as a Word Doc or a PDF.

Tim McCanna writes rhyming picture books and taught our Storytelling in Rhyme mini-class. If you have a rhyming picture book, you may submit one manuscript for Tim to critique. Tim is also happy to critique non-rhyming picture books

Isabella Kung is the instructor of our Illustration 1 and Illustration 2 courses. For a critique with Isabella, you may submit one picture book dummy OR two illustrations for detailed critique OR an illustration portfolio for an overview. 

Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez is a mom, wife, agent with Context Literary Agency, middle school math teacher, and picture book author. She's also the proud co-creator and co-host of the Spring Fling Kidlit Contest and Kidlit Zombie Week as well as creator and co-host of the Kidlit Fall Writing Frenzy Contest. 

For critique, you can submit one picture book manuscript or dummy.

Helen H. Wu is the associate publisher of Yeehoo Press, a San Diego-based children’s book publisher. She is the author of Tofu Takes Time, and author and illustrator of over 20 picture books.  You may submit one picture book manuscript or dummy for critique.

Rena Rossner has been a literary agent at The Deborah Harris Agency since 2012 and has represented numerous New York Times Bestsellers, a National Book Award Finalist, Morris Award Finalists, a Coretta Scott King award winner, a Caldecott Medalist, and more. Rena accepts queries for Adult, Young Adult, Middle Grade, and Picture Book projects and also works with illustrators.

You may submit one of the following combinations for critique:

  • Two picture book manuscripts or dummies
  • A query* and a picture book manuscript or dummy
  • A query* and the first 10 pages of an MG, YA, or adult novel

Note: You don't have to submit a query if you don't have one ready.

Karen Boss is an editor at Charlesbridge. She holds an MA in Children’s Literature from Simmons College and is now a mentor in their MFA program. Karen also has an MA in higher education administration and worked at colleges and in the nonprofit sector for 15 years.

You may submit one picture book manuscript or dummy for critique.

Eve Adler worked as an editor for over 16 years before becoming an agent. She's building her list with authors and illustrators of board books, picture books, early readers, chapter books, and middle grade projects. She’s drawn to stories that make kids feel comforted, loved, and understood; to diverse voices; to ideas that break the mold; to projects that meet kids where they are developmental; and to books that expand kids’ worlds while helping them understand their own.

You may submit a whole picture book or illustrator portfolio, and the first ten pages of a chapter book or an MG novel.

Mentored Critique Group

Note: Mentored critique groups are offered at the start of every term with select instructors. Next term starts August 2022.

Get guaranteed, targeted feedback on your work-in-progress from an industry professional and other students in your group.

Every term, we offer mentored critique groups with some of our instructors. These small groups meet three times during the term to receive peer critiques and critiques from an instructor on submitted work. Students can see their work advance considerably over the course of nine weeks through guidance from their mentor and application

Our Makers Pro members get first access to all mentored critique group slots.

OUR CURRENT MCG INSTRUCTORS

Tim McCanna

Rhyming Picture Book Author

Jim Averbeck

Picture Book Author/Illustrator

Isabella Kung

Children's Book Author/Illustrator

Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Children's Book Author/Illustrator

Julie Downing

Children's Book Author/Illustrator

Sage Blackwood

MG Novel Author
  • Each group is limited to 5 participants. The three 2-hour meetings ensure that you can get your work critiqued three separate times.
  • Choose to get three projects critiqued or the same project three times over a nine-week term. You may submit new or revised work before each meeting.
  • Makers Pro members get first access to buy these mentorship opportunities with instructors.
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