Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Critique Groups

Greetings MN SCBWI members,

I am Kristi Janikula Herro, the Minnesota critique group coordinator. I am excited to help coordinate creating new critique groups for illustrators and writers in Minnesota. These groups are invaluable to an illustrator/writer’s process and you will find that our most successful members are, or have been, involved in them.

If you are interested in getting involved in a new critique group, pursuing more members for your existing group, or just want to be current on what our state chapter is doing, please read on. We want illustrators to be involved as well; this is not strictly for writers!

In addition to this listserv postings and Facebook…critique group information will be available at our website (check the calendar).

For those critique groups that are well oiled and not looking for any changes, keep up the good work and send me a note if you have the time. I’d love to hear what you like about your group so I can help the new critique groups to grow. If I haven’t been in contact with anyone in your group…let me know you exist.

If you are interested in joining or adding to your existing critique group, here are the options:
1. Online critique group (these groups can meet in person 2–4 X/year)
2. In-person critique group (monthly or bi-monthly)
3. Informal meet-ups (bring your work and share dialog)

When responding to me, it is essential that you include the following information:


Address: (Especially for groups meeting in person.)


Background: (Include how long you have been writing and how long you have been an SCBWI member.)

Published credits: (If any.)

Why you want to be in a critique group: (Include if you have been in one previously.)

Frequency of critique: (Fast pace where you critique a few per week, weekly, monthly.)
*NOTE: You must be reasonable! No one will benefit if you over commit yourself.

Genre: (I have found that it works best to get picture book writers/illustrators and Easy readers in a group and middle grade or YA novella and novels writers together. Poetry writers work well as a group and also with the PB/Easy reader groups. If your prefer writing for the magazine genre, note that as well.)

Group leader: Would you be willing to act as the group leader once the group has worked together for a few months? If so, I will forward details to you at that time.

The requested information is so that I can best group together writers and illustrators. I will not be posting anyone’s feedback or sharing it with others. If you are new to critique groups and unsure whether an online group or a meet in-person group is a better fit for you, I can help you to determine that as well from the information you share above.

And lastly, it is my observation that the online critique groups are for those that are DEDICATED to illustrating/writing, but have very heavy schedules. An in-person group can go either way, some will serve more as an outlet for the lonely illustrator/writer, and some will be all business.

Once you are committed to group, I ask that you give it your all, be thoughtful about your critiques and stay committed for a year or more. Like everything worthwhile in life, there can be growing pains. It takes a lot of time to organize these groups, but the rewards are endless, especially when a group continues to grow together over time.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to getting to know you and helping you to find your fellow critters (short for critique group).


Kristi Janikula Herro
Critique Group Coordinator