Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers<br>La société canadienne des auteurs, illustrateurs et artistes pour enfants

Do you have a manuscript or series of illustrations that needs a professional polish?

CANSCAIP’s Blue Pencil Mentorship Program puts you in touch with professional children’s authors and illustrators, enabling you to:

  • Connect with an expert in your field
  • Receive a personal critique of your work
  • Submit up to five follow-up questions

What Type of Material Can I Submit?

You can submit material in the following genres:

  • Picture book: illustration, fiction or non-fiction, dummy (text and illustration)
  • Middle grade: contemporary, historical, fantasy, science fiction or non-fiction
  • Young adult: contemporary, historical, fantasy, science fiction or non-fiction
  • Poetry
  • Playwriting

Middle grade refers to ages 8 to 12, while young adult refers to ages 12 to 18.

Who Are the Mentors?

Mentors are professional children’s authors and illustrators who are Members of CANSCAIP. They have a minimum of three books published, plus experience in reviewing, teaching, mentoring and/or editing. You can read more about our individual Members here.

What Will I Receive?

We’ll pair you with a mentor who is a professional in your genre. Your mentor will submit a report directly to you by email. This report will take the form of a substantive critique (at least two single-spaced pages) rather than a line-by-line edit. You can respond to the email with up to five follow-up questions. The follow-up must be completed within one month of receipt of the critique.

Illustration reports include discussion of:

  • technical ability, including style, execution and suitability for picture books.
  • character, expression, action, variety, unity (where applicable).
  • steps to further develop the illustrations.

Manuscript reports include discussion of:

  • technical ability, including style and execution.
  • character, structure, plot, setting, point of view, voice, dialogue, believability (where applicable).
  • steps to further develop the manuscript.

Note: This is not an editing service. CANSCAIP does not help place a manuscript with a publisher.

How Do I Submit?

Complete the attached form and mail it, including a cheque, to CANSCAIP. You will then be contacted by our office with your mentor's name and information about how to submit your manuscript or illustrations. Manuscripts must be double spaced with 12-point type in a standard font with one-inch margins. You may include a covering letter and/or one-page synopsis with your submission.

To have the manuscript or illustrations returned, include a self-addressed stamped envelope with sufficient postage.

How Much Does it Cost?

The Blue Pencil fees, including mentors' HST*, are as follows:

  • $170 for ten illustrations.
  • $203 for a 32-page dummy book (illustration and text).
  • $170 for up to ten manuscript pages of one work in any genre (double-spaced, 12-point font).
  • $226 for up to 50 manuscript pages of one work (plus $2 + HST per page thereafter).

All applicants must be Friends of CANSCAIP. If you are not currently a Friend, you can become one at the discounted rate of $35 (regular annual Friend membership is $45).

* If your mentor does not charge HST, you will receive a small refund.

Click to fill out the Blue Pencil Submission Form

Call for Mentors

If you are a CANSCAIP Member who is interested in becoming a Blue Pencil mentor, please contact the office.

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