We've gotten a couple of questions about how we schedule critiques.
While it's a somewhat complicated process, here's the bottom line:
FIRST TO REGISTER, FIRST TO BE SCHEDULED.
When I download all the registrations, I sort them by the time they were submitted. Then I go down the list in strict order and assign the critiques, pitches and real-time queries. The earlier you register, the more likely you are to get your top choice.
It's the only fair way to handle things.
There's only one potential reason I would deviate from this process. If you classify your manuscript as something that the faculty member you've listed as your top choice does not accept, I will automatically move to the first choice that is appropriate for your manuscript.
Why, then, you ask, can I not confirm who your appointment is with and at what time before the conference begins?
There are several reasons:
1. The schedule shifts quite a bit from February to October.
2. Before I "concrete" the critique schedule, I have to make sure I recieve them at the proper time and in the proper format. Last year, a particular attendee signed up for one of our most requested faculty members. When, after dozens of phone calls and emails, the attendee never responded or sent materials, I assigned the slot to another person who ultimately got first-choice faculty instead of third-choice.
3. When I send the critique materials to the faculty members, I may get a call that he or she is not comfortable with the material, doesn't want that type of manuscript, etc. In that case, I'll move the manuscript to the next person on the list.
Rest assured, I put a lot of time in effort into making sure you get an appointment with the faculty member of your choice. I take this job very seriously and I want everyone to leave the conference feeling inspired, better educated on the publishing business, and ready to work on creating a masterpiece.