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?

Provide the following information on a single sheet of paper:

  • your contact information: name, address, email, phone
  • information about your work: title, genre (e.g., historical fiction, fantasy, non-fiction topic, etc.) reading level (e.g., early reader, middle grade, young adult), number of pages
  • which Blue Pencil service you are requesting (see below, How Much Does it Cost?)
  • brief notes about your work that would be useful for your mentor to know
  • short summary of your writing experience 

Mail CANSCAIP your sheet of information (but not your manuscript or illustrations; you'll email these to your mentor) with a cheque. The cheque amount should include the applicable Blue Pencil fee, plus an additional $35 for a Friend membership (if you don't already have a CANSCAIP membership). Mail to:

720 Bathurst Street, Suite 501
Toronto ON M5S 2R4

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 cover letter and/or one-page synopsis with your submission. 

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 or Members 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).

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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720 Bathurst St, Suite 501, Toronto, ON, CANADA, M5S 2R4

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