Free-tique contest with Jennifer Jaeger of ABLA is now open!


Free-tique contest with agent Jennifer Jaeger of Andrea Brown Literary Agency is open for Entries!
Why do you want to enter?
1) It’s a chance to see how you stand among your competition FOR FREE.
2) If you pass Snoop’s muster, it’s another way to get yourself in front of a notable literary agent QUICKLY!
3) It’s just plain fun, y’all.

Submissions are open from now until 11:59PM (CST) Friday, October 26th.

Snoop will sniff out the ones he’d love to chew the most (these would be the best in his mind), and then pass up those manuscripts to the esteemed Jennifer Jaeger as finalists. From those finalists, Ms. Jaeger will pick winners.

Our finalists will receive a quick-crit from Snoop (answers will be similar to Why? Why? Why?).

And our winners will win a traditional free-tique from Snoop AND an agent critique from Jennifer Jaeger.

Finally, Snoop will also draw a RANDOM winner out of the hat to win a traditional free-tique. So everyone gets a chance to win something.

Snoop Draws a Winner


1) You can enter up to three manuscripts (25 pages max for novels or chapter books. Fulls for PBs). All FICTION categories, except poetry (rhyming PBs are okay), for children’s writers. Any genre. No dummies. No screenplays.
2) You must be unagented, unless your agent only handles adult fiction.
3) The work you submit must be uncontracted (DUH!).
4) The work you submit should be FINISHED.
5) If the ms you are submitting has been out to editors, it should not have been rejected more than five times already.
6) If you’ve submitted the manuscript to ABLA, you must let me know a) if you’re still waiting on a response from the agent b) which agent you queried and c) if it was rejected, which agent rejected the work. (This is to help Jennifer avoid any conflicts of interest. So please be smart about this, people, and disclose this information with your submission.)
7) If you WIN or FINAL or are the Random Winner, you agree your name will be announced on We will include the MS TITLE and genre of your work. (This is so other contestants wil not die from curiosity.)


1) ONE manuscript ATTACHED per email. (for example, if you are subbing three works, send three emails). 25 pages max for novels or chapter books. Fulls for PBs.
2) Title the subject line of your email like so “CONTEST: GENRE (PB, ER, CB, MG, YA), WORD COUNT, MS TITLE.” (e.g., “CONTEST: YA, 45,000 words, What My Bunny Doesn’t Know”
3) In the body of your email, include a brief bio. No need to make this fancy -we won’t be critiquing it. Just say what you write (PBs, ERs, Chapter Books, MG, YA), and list any relevant stuff you want Ms. Jaeger to know about you. Your bio will only be used for reference, not for judging. So if you have no credentials, don’t worry about it. But at the minimum, tell us what kind of children’s fiction you write ( e.g., MG and YA, only PBs, etc.,).
4) If you’ve subbed the ms to ABLA, please tell us the history it has with ABLA (see RULES) and include that in the body of your email.
5) Please send all submissions in WORD or WORKS format to SNOOP AT CYNTHEALIU DOT COM.
6) Email it to Snoop before 11:59PM (CST) on Friday, Oct. 26th. No exceptions.
7) Failure to follow any of these rules means Snoop will eat your email, and you can forget about winning anything. So PAY ATTENTION.

Winners will be announced Monday, November 5th (barring any major catastrophes).


37 thoughts on “Free-tique contest with Jennifer Jaeger of ABLA is now open!

  1. Finished manuscripts only? (long wail of despair) If I weren’t in college my rewrite would be finished… what if I had a finished previous draft, and the new one is 54% done?


    1. That’s a tuffy. Well you have to consider this, if Jennifer likes your manuscript and wants to see the rest, then you might be setting yourself up for a less than favorable interaction with her if you don’t have a finished manuscript. I’d say hold off until your revision is done- unless you think you can get it done by the deadline! 🙂 Hope that helps, Cynthea

      1. Thanks for clarifying. There’s no way I’ll be able to finish the revision before the deadline, unless I find a way to add five more hours to every day or something. I guess I’ll just have to query Jennifer the old-fashioned way when I’m ready.


  2. It was great meeting you last weekend!
    Wow! A critique from you and Jennifer Jaeger…that’s got to be the best prize offered in children’s/ya literature offered on the web right now! (Or ever!)

  3. I goofed when I sent in my entry. I said my word count was 4 times bigger than it is. (Brain dead, thinking of page count and turned it into thousands) Should I send a corrected entry or just forget about it?

  4. Cynthea
    If I am submitting a picture book and I am the illustrator (I am professional/graphic designer) how do I submit a dummy? Do I just send text and have the suggested illustrations in parenthesis.


    1. If you do a dummy, you are including both pictures and the corresponding text (that will go in the actual book). No need for illustration notes since you are actually providing sketches of the illustrations. A dummy should be your closest approximation to what the finished book will look like. To submit a dummy, you mail it to the appropriate editor or art director at the publishing company. This article has a whole section on how to submit your dummy once it’s finished.

      1. BTW, in case anyone is reading this: The contest is not accepting dummies.  The commenter was asking a general question.  Thanks!

      2. I would also like to submit a digital dummy of my book to your Free-tique
        but since it is already designed and illustrated in InDesign
        I would have to save a copy in a PDF or Jpeg format instead of WORD or WORKS
        Would that work?

  5. Cynthia,
    Great site for writers and very fun contest! I found you through a google search for Jennifer Jaeger as I was thinking about querying her for the following project.

    We’ve written the screenplay, Glam Girls, which we will translate into a middle grade contemporary adventure series. The screenplay hosts 4 cliques of 5 girls each. Log line: A middle school chick clique competes with their rivalry group, high school cheerleaders, and rock start idols for a chance to illuminate their true selves. It will take a series to explore all personalities. The series will focus on the Glam Council of America’s motto, “It’s not what you wear, it’s who you are!”

    Action in the screenplay will be the first book. May I enter this screenplay into the contest?

    Tracy Gilliam

  6. Drat! I’m not sure if my manuscript qualifies! I guess it’s kind of a rhyming picture book, in that it’s a rhyming alphabet book with funny pictures. The MS is currently in PDF format, having been created in Quark XPress. If it’s eligible for the contest, should I submit the text only in a Word document, or drop the graphics into the Word document along with the text.

    Sorry to be so ignorant. 🙁

    1. If there are images with the text, then this almost classifies as a dummy. If you want to send the manuscript in Word without the images, you can certainly do that and we will judge the story based on the merit of the text.

  7. Cynthealiu, This contest is the greatest thing you’ve offered us yet! I’m sooo glad you’re letting us enter three different times. I hate putting all my carrots in the same basket!

  8. I am following your rules on your website for submitting a maunscript for emailing my work. Are you expecting a cover letter and query letter? Also, if I do a cover and query letter who do I address the letters to Mrs. Liu, Ms. Jeager or both? You have great instructions for submitting a chapter book, but how do you submit a manuscript for a picture book? Do you type PAGE ONE and then the text and do the same for the rest of the pages? I want to follow the rules. I don’t want Snoop to eat my email!

  9. I found everything you suggested and entered the contest. This is my first manuscript and submission to any author, agent or contest and I am trying my best to not let it to end up as Snoop poop! Thanks for helping me.

    You’re the best.

      1. I’ve waited with baited breath…(and tried not to think TOO long or hard about Snoop munching on the many manuscripts!) but the day is FINALLY here! Yippee! Now, where do I look to see the list of finalists? Inquiring minds (and mine, too!) want to know! 🙂

  10. Hi,Cynthea!

    I’m curious, too! Can you tell us how many entries you received? I also posted this question at on Verla Kay’s Chat Board. Thanks so much for this contest!


    1. Hi Cynthea!

      I know everyone is anxiously anticipating the results of this contest. And I know there was a HUGE number of entries to judge, but was wondering if you could give us possibly an approximate time as to when the final results will be posted. Thanks SO MUCH again for having this contest!


      P.S. Could you also post your reply on the Blue Boards? There’s a thread under Contest. Thanks!!

  11. As we anxiously await the comments, I want to take a minute to thank Cynthea, Snoop, and Jennifer for this great contest. Congratulations in advance to the finalists and winners!


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