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 illustrations that needs a professional evaluation?

CANSCAIP’s Blue Pencil mentorship program puts you in touch with experienced 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
Blue Pencil mentors are professionally published children’s authors and illustrators who are Members of CANSCAIP. They also have experience in reviewing, teaching, mentoring and/or editing. 

How Much Does it Cost?

All Blue Pencil participants must have a current CANSCAIP Friend membership ($45 per year). If you are not currently a Friend, please register for membership before submitting your work. 

The Blue Pencil fee goes to the mentor after the evaluation process has been completed.  Blue Pencil fees including HST are:

  • $170 for ten illustrations
  • $200 for a 28-page or 32-page dummy book (illustration and text)
  • $170 for up to 10 manuscript pages of one work in any genre 
  • $225 for up to 50 manuscript pages of one work (plus $2 per page thereafter)

What Do I Receive?

We’ll pair you with a Blue Pencil mentor who has written in your genre. After reading your work, your mentor will submit an evaluation report directly to you by email. This report will take the form of a substantive critique (at least two pages) rather than a line-by-line edit. 

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

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
After receiving the evaluation report from your mentor, you can respond with up to five follow-up questions that your mentor will answer. 

What Type of Material Can I Submit?

You can submit material in the following genres:

  • Picture book or early reader: illustration, fiction or non-fiction, dummy (text and illustration)
  • Chapter book or middle grade: contemporary, historical, fantasy, science fiction or non-fiction
  • Young adult: contemporary, historical, fantasy, science fiction or non-fiction
  • Poetry
  • Play 

How Do I Submit?

Please provide the following information in an email to

  • contact information: name, address, email, phone
  • title of your work
  • genre (e.g., historical fiction, fantasy, non-fiction topic, play, poetry, etc.) 
  • reading level (picture book, early reader, chapter book, middle grade or young adult)
  • number of pages you are submitting for evaluation
  • which Blue Pencil service you are requesting and its price (see above, How Much Does it Cost?)
  • brief notes about your writing or illustrating experience that would be useful for your mentor to know
  • include Blue Pencil in the email subject line

    Attach your manuscript pages or illustrations to the email. Manuscripts should be in 12-point standard font, double spaced, with one-inch margins. 

    After receiving your manuscript or illustrations, CANSCAIP will email you an invoice for online payment. (Or you can mail a cheque to: CANSCAIP, 720 Bathurst Street Suite 503, Toronto ON M5S 2R4)

    When your payment has been processed, you will be introduced to your mentor via email, and your Blue Pencil evaluation will be underway. 

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