Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The PB Party Showcase is Open!

Thank you again for another wonderful PB Party! You picture (and chapter) book writers know how to have a good time. Mindy and I are once again in awe of your talents. Below are some things to remember and the link for the agents and editors and all of you to find the entries.

Commenting on entries is for agents only. If you'd like to cheer or rave about a favorite, please hop over to twitter at the hashtag #PBParty. The party continues there as we celebrate and support our fellow writers. Mindy will continue to have fun prompts for you for a few days.

We are thrilled to have an illustrator's art showcase for the second year. We hope the agents love all the entries and go crazy with their requests. 

Again the entries will be seen on my website, not here on the blog.

Here is the link to the 28 entries and on Thursday at 8 am the art showcase will be added to the group.

Notice once you get there, there is a link to the left in the sidebar (Picture Book Party Spring 2020) which will take you back to the entry start at any time.

Thanks to everyone who entered. Stay tuned to the blog or sign up for my newsletter for future contests. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Announcing the Finalists for the PB Party 2020 Agent/Editor Showcase

Welcome back, everyone!

Make sure you read to the end for the list of winners of another great contest from our rhyming expert, Lori Degman. 

Just like last year, Mindy and I gave this much thought and fought for a good variety of stories and artwork. We kept an eye out for diversity, but also for unique concepts or interesting methods. We consult with the agents on what they are looking for and what might not be selling at the moment. We found entries that made us laugh and those that made us cry. You, the writers, are amazing!

There were way more fantastic entries than there are spots. We had so much trouble narrowing down the field. In fact, we were making the last picks just this morning. 

And we did increase our "budget" of entries because we had so many agents and editors signed up this year. Plus everyone needs a dose of happy right now. So we will have 29 entries! 

Before the reveal, I just want to remind everyone that contests are for fun and meeting other writers, building contacts. In no way are they a reflection on a story. There are only 29 picks out of 526 entries. Maybe people have entered contests and gotten no love, only to get an agent from the query slush--like me. For one thing, we are limited to the number of picks we can showcase, while an agent is not. So keep querying, keep writing those adorable picture and chapter books.

It's very tough. I know the disappointment. Hugs. Use it to keep going.

Please if your title is on the list, watch my blog early on Wednesday and check your entry for typos or formatting problems. Let me know as soon as possible what needs fixed either commenting here or @ me on twitter. All the writer showcase posts will be up before 8 am.

So here are the 29 picks for the Writer Showcase, listed in no particular order and color coded like a rainbow just for fun.

Little Robot's First Day
Into the Deep : The Mysteries of the Mariana Trench
Magnificent Mary: The Story of Olympic Boxer M. C. Mary Kom
Moon Bug, The Spotted Zebra
Luna's Green Pet
Cecy Speaks Spanish
A Pair of Plastic Bags
Iggy Crane: The Case of the Missing Bolt
Arabella's Space Webs: The True Story of a Space Spider
Ashe on the Outside
Hannah's Hair
Say Goodbye Hairy Fly
Chicken Coupe
Massimo: The Mighty Thundercloud
A Weed's Worth
Sergeant Diggs and the New Recruit

Arlette Best, Magical Pet Sitter
Diwali Away from Home 
Let's Go Adventuring
Lord Fluffington
Sky Pie
The Loud Librarian
The Underwater Guide to Starting a Rock Band
Dear Human
Always Be Yourself
Sincerely, Seahorse
Firefly Surprise

For finalists only, if you want your entry deleted after the agents/editors are done, please leave a comment below so I have a nice neat list of what to take down. If you want to leave your entry that is great too, as others can read next year and get an idea of what works. (All non-finalists will automatically be deleted from our files.)

But wait, there's more! 

Here are the picks for the Illustration Showcase (artwork only), also listed in no particular order and color coded like a rainbow just for fun. These 12 will be posted before 8 am on Thursday. 

Hilda the Aqua Chick
Hector the Inventor
A Different Kind of Nut
Finding Zero
An Otter Failure
As Young Groundhogs Do
Let Me Out!
Wild Wanda
The Go Away Rain Dance
Deal with a Dragon
Belle and the Dancing Robot

(All of these will be removed a few days after the showcase ends.) 

Congrats to the finalists! 

I hope everyone will stick around #PBParty to cheer during the showcase, which lasts three days and starts tomorrow. Mindy and I are going to keep the party flowing with more daily questions each morning. 

Lori's contest winners!

We’ve had so much fun reading your PBParty entries, chatting with you on Twitter…and seeing your hilarious and witty monster manner tips for the giveaway with our PBParty 2020 rhyming pro, Lori Degman. If you are a winner, please DM Lori on Twitter. 

Here’s Lori with the winners:

Let me start by saying thanks to everyone who entered!  These were all fun entries, which made it so hard to choose.  Now, without further ado, here are the winners:

Best Monster Manner and winner of a critique – Heather Kinser @hethfeth

I chose Heather’s entry because it was clever, with fun rhymes and perfect meter!  I liked the extra rhyming line at the end!

Monster dear, do not be rude, when camping in the park
and commandeering hikers’ food discreetly in the dark,
compose a friendly thank you card, explain “it was delicious!”
Before you go, it isn’t hard to wash the dirty dishes . . .
You wouldn’t want your victim to believe you were malicious.

Monster Manner Runner-up and winner of TRAVEL GUIDE FOR MONSTERS – Shira Zwiren @ShiraZwiren

I chose Shira’s entry because it was well-written rhyme and the surprise at the end was subtle and funny!

When coming inside, your feet may track mud,
Or garbage or leaves or animal crud,
But no matter what, if you catch my drift,
Don’t enter a home without bringing a gift!

Honorable mentions – 

Brenda Whitehead @Brenda@_Prof

Monsters, take care not to stare, we can’t all have 3 eyes.
Or purple horns, or 16 arm, or feet of massive size.
Celebrating differences is both polite and fun!
So look your new friend in the eye, say hi, then play and run!

I chose Brenda’s entry because it was imaginative and a timely “be kind” message!

Elizabeth Pagel-Hogal, Author @ElizPagelHogan

Monsters should be seen . . . and heard.

K. Marcus found comp titles! @kmarcuswrites

Monsters please remember to pick up any fingers and toes that may have dropped on the floor while you were eating.

I chose Elizabeth and K. Marcus’ entries because they were both simple, yet funny!

Friday, March 6, 2020

Introducing The Picture Book Party Submission Forms!

Hello! Mindy and Michelle are so happy to welcome you to the last post before submission! You've seen our amazing agents and editors, now it's time to share the Entry Forms!

Please read everything carefully and take your time!

Remember that the submission forms will not unlock until 3:30 pm Eastern time on Monday, March 9th. The forms will stay open for two hours until 5:30 pm Eastern time on March 9th.

If you are unable to access a computer during that time, please don't hesitate to ask a friend or relative to load your information for you! Getting help is not against the rules. With that said, we also suggest you have someone else read your query and excerpt before you send. 

You can not revise your entry once submitted so check, and double, then triple check everything before you hit submit.

After you hit submit, there will be a message saying thank you for entering. That is your confirmation. There will not be an email confirmation. 

Below you will find the links to the entry forms and a repeat of the rules and information you will need to enter. Please check out the FAQ post for answers to other frequent questions.

I will post the chosen finalists a day before the agent round starts. I've no idea what time I will post the results on March 17th, because I'm unsure how many entries we will receive and thus how crazy busy we will be. So stay tuned to hear how many entries we receive.

Also please scroll to the very end of this post where you will find our Twitter Party topics. The Twitter party will start on Monday, March 9th and go through March 17th. This is where we hang out and have fun and talk about our love for picture books! Please join us there at #PBParty!

The Links:

Please note there are links to two different forms to load your information to PB Party: one for author/illustrators to include a place for images and another for everyone else. Do not use both!

PLEASE SLOW DOWN and read this again! Do not pick the wrong form. Take the time to get it right.

Please note there are two different forms to load your information to PB Party: one for author/illustrators and another for everyone else. Do not use both!

For author/illustrators only use this link:

You MUST have a Google account to use this link. Make sure you have one (and know how to log into it) before the short submission window opens. This is ONLY for author/illustrators who are including illustration samples!!!

For EVERYONE ELSE use this link:

(Note: this link will NOT allow you to include illustrations.)

The Rules:

Please follow this blog by clicking the "Follow" button in the left sidebar under the Followers app. Or if that is stubborn and won't work, you can subscribe to Michelle's newsletter or follow @Michelle4Laughs and @MindyAlyseWeiss on Twitter. If you aren't on Twitter, Mindy will have updates on her Facebook. Or do all four options. We will be tweeting hints and advice as well as partying!

NEW THIS YEAR: You may send ONE entry and only one entry. We got so many entries last year (818!) that we need to scale down this year. Only one entry will be chosen per person, meaning if you are picked for the story part of the contest, you will not be picked for the illustration showcase. Any attempt to cheat will result in entries thrown out (and sadly it has happened in the past.) 

On March 9th at 3:30 pm Eastern the submission window opens and the Google form will go live for two hours. 

You will see a thank you for submitting as a confirmation of entry.

1. This contest is for unagented writers and writer/illustrators with finished and polished manuscripts. They must be ready to submit if requested by an agent or editor. 

2. Also, if you have had an agent in the past, but no longer have one, you may enter. Or if you are traditionally published without an agent. 

3. If you have submissions, including fulls out, with other agents or editors, you may enter PB Party. But please let us know if you receive an offer during the contest time. This happened last year-we celebrated the great news and made room in the final round for a couple more dazzling entries!

4. If you have self-published other stories--but not this one--you may enter.

5. If a manuscript or illustration was featured in PB Party or a previous contest showcase anywhere in the last year--congrats--but we'd rather not see it. Send us something agents haven't already seen in a contest. 

Info you need for the Submission Form:

In Order as they are on the form:

1. Title

2. Sample/Excerpt

Include your first 50-60 words for a picture book, 100 words for chapter books. Do not stop in the middle of a sentence. We will go by the word count given by Word. 

Do not go over 60 words/100 chapter book. (Entries in the past were disqualified for going over.)
Single space and put spaces in between paragraphs. 

For shorter picture books, less than 50 words may be submitted. *Do NOT enter a PB if over half of it is in the sample—you don’t want that much of your work online, even for a few days.

Please use all caps for titles as the form strips out formatting like italics and bold type.

Art notes count toward your 50 words

Michelle will delete parts of entries after the contest ends for those writers uncomfortable with their work being out there for all to see. Please request this directly to her on Twitter.

3. Query

Your entire query letter. Include everything, including your comps, bio, greeting, closing. Please be sure to note diversity and ownvoices in the query as well. (You may use whatever you want for a greeting. Dear Agent. Dear Michelle and Mindy. But do not address your query to a specific agent or editor.)

Here's the chance to make your entry shine and make the agents and editors fall in love with your words. Dazzle us with your plot and characters, don't just list themes.

Don't worry about including personal information like names, as that will not be copied into the showcase. If you include links in your bio, we will assume those can be made public.

The form scrubs out all formatting. Don't worry, it does this to everyone so all is equal. But for italics you can use all caps for titles (comps). 

4. Word Count (round to nearest ten, hundred for chapter books)

5. Genre Please check all genres for your manuscript—and be sure to let us know if it’s diverse or own voices. If you’re not sure about genre, maybe one of these will help: humor, character driven, metafiction, concept, STEM, STEAM, rhyming, lyrical, board book, fantasy, bedtime, historical fiction, contemporary.

If it’s non-fiction, what type of non-fiction (biography, narrative, etc.) 

There will be a place to check Other and add your own genre.

6. Name In case we need to contact you.

7. Email Address 

8. Twitter Handle This is optional, but we suggest Twitter is a great place to learn craft information. And a quick way for us to locate finalists.

On the Author/Illustrator Form Only

9. Upload Two Image Files 

Author/Illustrators may upload two illustrations to show an example of your artwork. They should be from the same manuscript and must be illustrated by the author. Please no storyboards.

You will need a Google account to use this form. You might make sure ahead of time that you have one. 

Now for the #PBParty Fun Topics:

Reminder: Don’t forget to include the #PBParty hashtag!

Monday, March 9  All day: Great parties require great food! What’s your main character’s favorite dish or sweet treat? Even if it isn’t in your book, this can help you know your character better. Dig deep and share!  

PM: Congrats and good luck to those who entered PBParty! Tell us what genre you submitted and what other genres you write. How do you make time pass faster while waiting for news?

Tuesday, March 10  AM: Do you listen to music when you write? Have word count goals? Set aside BIC time (butt in chair)? Share your daily writing routine. 

PM: Which authors and illustrators have influenced your manuscripts the most? Tag the authors to make others aware of their amazing books.  

Wednesday, March 11 AM: How do you handle writer's block or your bossy internal editor? How many drafts do you write before you consider a project finished?  

PM: Share your best tips and resources for writing picture books. What were you surprised to learn about the process?

Thursday, March 12 AM: Tell us if your MC is human, animal or something else. What surprised you most about your manuscript?  

PM:  What are your top tips for getting your word count down and making your manuscript sing?

Friday, March 13 AM: Share a favorite line from a story you wrote.

PM: How have contests helped you or your CPs?

Saturday, March 14 AM: What picture book character would you like for a best friend? 

PM: How many manuscripts do you work on at the same time and how do you decide what feedback to use when revising?   
Sunday, March 15 AM: Are you the type to have a book spring into your head, write it down quickly and then take a long time editing your words....or do you spend a long time meticulously planning and drafting?  

PM: Who has helped you through the writing and querying process? Time to share your thanks and spread the gratitude. 

Monday, March 16 AM All Day: Share your favorite picture books and chapter books, current and from childhood. We hope agents and editors will share their favorites…and ones they’ve worked on, too!

PM: What are some great conferences, workshops, classes, and other events for picture book and chapter book writers and author/illustrators?    

Tuesday, March 17  All Day: The finalists will be announced today! Congrats to them…and everyone who entered. You worked hard on your entry and sent new hope out—that definitely makes you a winner in our eyes!

If a ‘no’ gets you down…what helps take the sting away so you can dive back into writing, revising, and submitting?    

Good luck and have fun everyone! If you have any questions, please leave them as comments on this post.

Monday, March 2, 2020

PBParty Agents and Editors 2020

Introducing the agents and editors for the 2020 Picture Book Party! Hang on to your seats--it's a very long post!

Please read through our announcement post and FAQ here. Submission is Monday, March 9th at 3:30 pm EST! The submission form link will be on this blog on March 6th, along with a repeat of the rules and instructions. The submission form will remain locked until Monday at 3:30 pm and then be open until 5:30 pm. You may send only one entry, and there is a separate form for author/illustrators to allow uploading of two images. 

We can't wait to read them! 

Remember we recommend researching each agent to determine if they would be a good fit for you in the event that you are chosen and receive a request. Note: Listed agents have agreed to take part in the contest, but that doesn't mean they will make requests or that life won't happen and prevent them from appearing. Everyone will do their best.

Check out last year's entries here

Here are the talented agents and editors. Please thank their kindness by following them on twitter. Click on their names below to go to their twitter account and click on their agency names for that website


James McGowan- Bookends Literary

Since interning at BookEnds as an undergrad in the summer of 2015, James has (basically) never left. He's just continuously level-up-ed inside of BookEnds. Now he is the Literary Assistant and Social Media Manager for the team.

James is a Staten Island native, and holds a Master's Degree in English from the College of Staten Island. He’s been a reader since his mom gave him the first A Series of Unfortunate Events book, and ordered the sequels regularly through Scholastic book orders. He only recently learned he could be a writer... now, his debut picture book, GOOD NIGHT, OPPY, publishes in Fall 2021 from Boyds Mills Kane Press. When James is not reading/working/writing, he can usually be found watching an unhealthy amount of sitcoms.

James is seeking submissions in adult, middle grade, and picture book fiction, as well as middle grade and picture book non-fiction. In all age categories, he's looking for more authors from marginalized communities.

On the children's side, he is actively looking for both fiction and non-fiction picture books of any style, realistic and humorous middle-grade fiction including mysteries, middle-grade non-fiction, and select young adult fiction. James is primarily drawn to humor in his kidlit, and loves all things funny and silly. For non-fiction, he's particularly interested in books about science, climate and environment, little known people or events in history, and other STEM-related topics. Some of his favorite kidlit creators include Stacy McAnulty, Jory John, Elise Parsley, and Aaron Blabey. One of his favorite YA writers is Jason Reynolds.


Adria Goetz- Martin Literary Management

Adria Goetz is a Literary Manager, currently accepting queries for picture books, middle grade, young adult, graphic novels, quirky gift books, lifestyle books, cookbooks, adult nonfiction, Christian Living, and devotionals. She represents books both for the general market, and the Christian market.

Adria is a 2016 graduate of the Columbia Publishing Course in New York City, a six-week intensive course on all aspects of book, magazine, and digital media publishing. She is also a graduate of the University of Washington in Seattle with a B.A. in English with a creative writing emphasis. Adria worked for the Pierce County Library System for two years. Prior to becoming a Literary Manager, Adria fostered her knack for developing creative work during her three years as an intern and assistant at Martin Literary & Media Management.

Adria loves magical stories like The Night Gardener, stories which feature everyday moments contemporary families experience, like Hair Love or My Papi Has a Motorcycle. She is also looking for funny commercial picture books.


Victoria Selvaggio, previously with The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency was drawn to the publishing scene first as an author. She is a prior Regional Advisor for SCBWI: Northern Ohio, where her desire to help writers and illustrators reach their publications goals inspired her to become an agent.

With over twenty-five years as a business owner, Victoria is excited to help grow the agency’s client base with talented writers and illustrators, while also helping build the agency from within with motivated agents who possess the same ideals, literary interests, goals, and approaches to the industry.

As a frequent presenter at conferences, library events, contests, etc., Victoria is always interested in meeting writers and illustrators, and hearing about unique projects!

Victoria is currently closed to queries, except through contests or conferences.


Charlotte Wenger- Prospect Agency

Although my parents didn't intentionally name me after Charlotte A. Cavatica, as a child, I imagined that my white semicircle headboard transformed into a spider’s web at night. From a young age, I was aware of the impact of words and a well-crafted story. Now I’m delighted to work with clients to weave book webs that leave their mark on readers.

I honed my love of stories by getting a BA in English and theatre from Eastern Mennonite University. After graduating, I worked as a project manager and editor for Scribe, a Philadelphia-based publishing services company, for three years. To follow my passion for books and children, I moved to Boston to earn a master’s in Children’s Literature from Simmons College (now University). I interned at Charlesbridge (editorial) and Candlewick (sales), and after grad school, I interned with literary agent Rubin Pfeffer for a year. Prior to joining Prospect Agency, I was an associate editor for just over two years with Page Street Kids, where I acquired and edited more than twenty picture books and grew relationships with authors, illustrators, agents, and other editors.

As an agent, I enjoy the editorial work and the relationship building; so I love attending conferences and leading workshops. I've mentored Simmons MFA students and also serve on the national advisory board of the Mazza Museum, the world's largest collection of original children's book art, in Findlay, Ohio.

I'm interested in working with authors and illustrators of children's books—board books through YA, but especially picture books—as well as adult nonfiction, particularly biographies and memoirs.


Kaitlyn Sanchez- Olswanger Literary

Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez is a mom, wife, math teacher, picture book author, co-host of the kidlit Spring Fling Writing Contest, creator of the Fall Writing Frenzy Contest, and intern at Olswanger Literary, looking to acquire her first manuscript to submit to editors. 

In her free time, Kaitlyn loves to play soccer, binge-watch shows on Hulu and Prime, and, of course, read. Her favorite stories are historical fiction, and short stories are her jam. She’s recently gotten into dramas, fantasies, mysteries, and romances. And of course, she LOVES picture books! Especially when her husband, daughter, and she all cozy up and read together.

For picture books, Kaitlyn is looking to represent the following (but you never know what might catch her fancy! Fiction: STEM/STEAM, humor, magical realism, rhyme, diversity, creative ways of looking at normal things, tear-jerkers. Nonfiction: STEM/STEAM, historical (biographies rock but make sure they have a super creative hook)


Natalie is an agent at Bradford Literary Agency. An honors graduate of the University of San Diego, California, Natalie holds a B.A. in Literature/Writing. Natalie has been an agent since 2009; after nearly four years at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency and a brief dabble in writing author profiles and book reviews for the San Diego Union Tribune, Natalie joined Bradford Literary Agency in February 2011.

Natalie’s specialties are all ages (PB, chapter book, MG, YA) of children’s literature (fiction and nonfiction), adult cozy mystery/crime, female-driven thrillers, and upmarket women’s/general fiction. She also represents illustrators and select adult nonfiction.

In novels, she likes historical (primarily 1800s-1920s), multi-cultural, own voice representation, magical realism, LGBTQ, strong female leads, sci-fi/fantasy, gritty, thrilling and darker contemporary novels, and horror.

In picture books, she likes short-texted (500 words or less), emotionally-resonant, quirky or character-driven. She likes softer, lyrical bedtime books that are beautifully written, humor, strong voices, strong characters, and texts with fun, clever and unexpected twists at the end.

She looks for unique perspectives and fresh ideas in nonfiction. In children’s nonfiction, she likes picture book biographies, STEAM topics, and texts exploring feminist and social issues. In adult nonfiction, platform and innovation are key; Natalie is drawn to prescriptive titles in the areas of self-help, psychology, business, and science, and is also open to quirky gift and humor books, New Age titles, and nonfiction featuring under-represented voices.


Victoria started her career as an editor at Dial Books for Young Readers, moving later to Putnam. In 2001 she set up Bloomsbury USA’s children’s division, starting with three people (and a dog). Bloomsbury grew quickly, soon hitting the bestseller lists and acquiring major awards, publishing such authors as Shannon Hale, Nikki Grimes, Renee Watson, E. D. Baker and many other beloved creators. In 2013 Victoria opened her own agency, Wells Arms Literary, where she represents authors and illustrators for the full range of children’s books, from board books to young adult, as well as some non-fiction. In 2018 Wells Arms Literary joined in association with Hannigan Getzler.

Looking for: I am not looking to grow my list of clients. I will, however, look at what comes in and if I think we might be able to work together I will be in touch. I especially enjoy contemporary young adult fiction, middle grade with magical realism elements, and picture book texts that are fun to read aloud, but leave a sweet and profound aftertaste. Everyone has good ideas; I like to see writers who can put those ideas into their own brilliant words and illustrators who can write their own stories too.


I'm a literary agent with Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises. My sales include picture books, chapter books and novels by George Shannon, Ariel Bernstein, Angela Dalton, Elizabeth Verdick, Loretta Ellsworth, Karen Briner, Hannah Voskuil, David Cundy, Joy Keller, Ariel Horn, Susan Haas, Lois Barr, Dawn Young, Nick Dyer, Melissa Martin, John Elkins and others.

Houses I've sold to range from Viking and Knopf to HarperCollins, Random House, Philomel, Wiseman/S & S and many more. 

Top of my list for picture books: Love themes. This could be new baby, child and an other (pet, sibling, parent, etc.) or love for the full world and nature. My tastes are pretty broad. I particularly like warmth. Also good are humor, adventure, and quirky charm. Kindness is important to me. I like adorable and cute. I like sad and satisfying. I like gorgeous and lyrical. I like wondrous. I really like love (see above, re. picture book top want). I like energetic and unconventional. I like serious and poignant. (I know. As I say: my tastes are pretty broad).


Leslie joined Dunham Literary in June 2016. Previously, she was an intern for The Bent Agency.

A former librarian with over 20 years’ experience in special, public, and school libraries, Leslie has cataloged rocket launch videos and Lego rocket ship models, presented SEC documents and story times, and negotiated with organizations from Lexis-Nexis to the PTA. Her experience as a librarian has given her a distinct perspective on publishing and readers. A writer herself, Leslie is very familiar with querying from both sides of the desk.

Leslie graduated from Wake Forest University with a degree in English and has a Master’s of Library and Information Science degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

For children’s books, Leslie seeks middle grade and young adult novels, especially mystery and contemporary. Historical fiction set in the recent past, novels in verse, and off-the-beaten path romances are on her wish list. For picture books, Leslie wants unusual true tales, biographies of unsung heroes and heroines, or stories that show everyday diversity to mirror under-represented readers and open windows to others. She is drawn to books about Florida, baseball, and kids with book smarts and big hearts.


It was when Clelia first read Charlotte’s Web in the first grade that she got hooked by the magic of books. Her love of children’s books carried through adulthood and she is delighted to dedicate her life to bringing quality books and stories to young (and whimsical adult!) readers. 

Clelia is originally from the suburbs of New York City. She has a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Boston College. She received her J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law and practiced law as a corporate litigator in New York City. 

In 2011, she decided to dedicate her career to books and reentered graduate school at Emerson College, where she received a master’s degree in Publishing and Writing. While she was studying publishing and taking creative writing courses at Emerson, Clelia gained firsthand experience in the publishing industry working in the children’s book division at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and in academic books at Oxford University Press.  She also taught academic writing and research courses to freshman students as a graduate student faculty member at Emerson College. 

Clelia acquires picture book, middle grade and young adult books. She is particularly interested in developing her nonfiction clientele. With apologies, Clelia is no longer accepting new adult fiction queries at this time.


I started at Writers House as an intern for Brianne Johnson and was quickly pulled from the program to begin working for Senior Vice President, Merrilee Heifetz. Later, I covered senior agent, Stephen Barr's, paternity leave and began working as an assistant to senior agents Brianne Johnson and Rebecca Sherman. I have also worked as a bookseller in both the adult and children’s markets, as well as on the house side of the publishing business in publicity. In 2015, I graduated from New York University with my Masters of Science in Publishing: Digital and Print Media, with a specialization in Media Content Development.

I am actively growing my picture book, middle grade, young adult, and adult lists.

Picture book author-illustrators, a wide range of middle grade and YA, and more speculative-leaning or genre-bent upmarket adult works. I’m committed to working with writers from diverse backgrounds and am looking to put forth a list of outstanding creators who will be able to provide windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors (thank you, Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop) into all kinds of experiences. I’m particularly looking for own-voices stories about historically underrepresented characters, identities, and cultures.

No matter the genre or age-range, I crave a distinctive voice and strong thematic point behind the work—I want to run screaming to my friends and family about your book because there is so much to discuss. I love character-driven stories that revolve around BIG topics (discussing things like mortality or grief in a new and hopefully somewhat uplifting way is always an instant lightbulb!). Upon further consideration, I'm not looking for 'issue books’ per se, rather I’d like to represent authors and stories that stand for more than just a good yarn; I’d like to represent authors who provoke conversations around important and necessary topics in our world today. I don’t just want contemporary versions of these stories, either. Send me your fantasy, your sci-fi, your genre-bender!


Christy Ewers, has been rooted in the children's literature industry since her mother, Chris, started the agency in 1994, and joined as an agent in 2013. Although Christy is not an artist herself, art has been a huge part of her life and career, even before joining the agency. With a degree in English/Journalism and over a decade of experience in various creative fields, Christy offers a different perspective to the agency, while maintaining the enthusiasm and love that her mother brings to the industry. She works closely with the entire “family” of artists, spearheading the promotion and deals for CAT Agency illustrators, as well as working alongside the authors in the group to help craft their stories and hone their writing for young readers.  

Aside from writing, her interests include running long distances, seaside escapes, very hot coffee and pitbulls. Christy is - hilariously enough - a dog person.

Her husband, Chris Ewers, is an artist, too, as a talented cinematographer and film-maker ( They have 2 little ones, Billie & Finnegan, who are The CAT Agency's resident experts and critics. Billie has over 7 years of experience in the world, and is a fan of everything and anything “unicorn”. At age 4, Finn boasts incredible knowledge of CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR, which he can now practically recite. Billie currently enjoys using every marker in the box, while Finn uses the color red. And only the color red. 


I began my publishing career in the editorial department of HarperCollins Children’s Books/Katherine Tegen Books in New York City. In the past decade, I have also held positions in the marketing department at a small publishing house, in a library, and as a bookseller at one of the nation’s best independent bookstores. What I love about agenting is being the author’s number one cheerleader through all these parts of the publication process!

I am seeking young adult and middle grade fiction with a special interest in contemporary and fantasy-with-a-twist. I look for engaging voices, commercial hooks, and immersive worlds. My YA tastes are pretty commercial whereas my middle grade tastes can skew more literary and I’m especially interested in middle grade that might lend itself to illustration.

For picture books and graphic novels, I am especially seeking authors-illustrators (although I am open to both solo authors and illustrators) who bring a unique vision. My tastes are diverse, ranging from sophisticated to quirky to gently humorous. I am interested in art in all mediums, but especially appreciate a smart use of color and perspective. I am not the right fit for “issue” books, rhyming texts, or overly sentimental stories.

In nonfiction for children and young adults, I am seeking biographies, histories, and explorations of STEM elements, especially projects with an age-appropriate hook and series potential.

In every category, I am seeking voices that have previously been underrepresented and stories that have been overlooked.


Rick Margolis- Rising Bear Literary

For nearly 15 years, I worked for School Library Journal, the world’s largest reviewer of books for young readers. As SLJ ’s executive editor, I had the pleasure of interviewing many remarkable children’s book creators, including Kate DiCamillo, Mo Willems, Katherine Paterson, Gene Yang, Rita Williams-Garcia, Markus Zusak, Rebecca Stead, and Jon Klassen. One of the best parts of my job was writing a monthly interview column, “Under Cover,” which highlighted new and promising authors and illustrators (like John Green, Suzanne Collins, and Stephenie Meyer) who went on to have amazing careers. Along the way, I also met many publishers and children’s book editors. Because I’ve read so much and so widely, I have a strong sense of the stories that appeal to them, and I know the literary market well. And for some reason, almost every year I was able to predict the winner of the Caldecott Medal, which honors the year’s best-illustrated book.

Although I loved my stint at SLJ, I was ready for a new challenge. But not just any job would do.

I wanted to find one that felt like my true calling—one that I was wild about—and that could contribute something of value to the world. I also wanted to stay connected to kids’ books—because I love them and because I was once a reading specialist (working with students who struggled to read) and I know firsthand what a profound difference the right book can make in a young person’s life.

To make a long story short, after lots of praying and scores of meetings with some very insightful folks (and a fair amount of snacking), I launched Rising Bear Literary Agency, LLC, specializing in what I most love: picture books, early- and middle-grade fiction, young adult literature, and adult novels with unforgettable teen characters.

Rising Bear aims to help writers and illustrators do their best possible work, to pair them with the perfect publisher, and to see them develop long, rewarding careers. We’re excited to work with people who are passionate about creating exceptional books—and who are ready to change the world, one fabulous title at a time. We offer a full range of services that include foreign, film, and merchandising rights in all forms of media.


Abigail is passionate about stories for young people, especially those that are hilarious, poetic, quietly heartbreaking, and/or swoon-worthy, and she cares about voice, above all. She gravitates towards picture books that feel entirely original, chapter books with big personalities, and novels about unforgettable teens falling in love. She is committed to advocating for the work of marginalized authors and artists, and she’s actively looking for stories that allow young readers to recognize themselves in the books they love. She is also looking for select adult projects, including narrative nonfiction (especially if it explores pop culture, healthcare, or higher education) and rom-com-y commercial fiction. 

Abigail joined the Greenburger team in 2017 after interning at Writers House. Formerly an assistant to Brenda Bowen, she now assists Faith Hamlin with her extraordinary and eclectic list of clients. Abigail graduated with a degree in English Literature from Swarthmore College and worked in healthcare before pursuing her passion for books.

Abigail is searching for thoughtful and clever writing that never underestimates the subject or the reader, and she cares about voice, above all. She is committed to advocating for the work of marginalized authors and artists, and she’s actively looking for stories that allow young readers to recognize themselves in the books they love.

Prior to joining The Seymour Agency, Lynnette spent seventeen years freelance editing. She worked with new writers, advanced writers, as well as New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors. Lynnette earned a bachelor of education degree from the University of Manitoba, where she specialized in English and French. She excelled in Advanced Creative Writing in university and studied writing for children and teens through the Institute of Children’s Literature. She was a Pitch Wars mentor in 2015 and 2016. Both her mentees acquired an agent.

Although Lynnette was born and raised in Manitoba, Canada, she now lives in Minnesota with her husband, twin girls, and many pets. Her personal interests include reading, writing, exercising at the gym (okay, that’s a love/hate relationship), working on an assortment of crafts, all things having to do with animals (if she could own a farm, zoo, and animal shelter, she would), and enjoying time with family and friends.

In adult fiction: thrillers, psychological suspense, horror, contemporary romance, romantic comedy, and mysteries (traditional, amateur sleuth, and cozy).
In young adult fiction: thrillers, psychological suspense, horror, mysteries, sci-fi, fantasy, and contemporary.
In middle grade fiction: fantasy, sci-fi, action/adventure, mystery, contemporary, horror, and humor.
In children’s fiction: picture books (non-rhyming preferred). 


In the spring of 2018, Melissa joined ALA as an intern and a year later she moved to an Associate Agent role and began developing her own client list.

She holds a degree in Marketing, as well as a background in elementary literature education–both assets that will benefit our clients, old and new.

Melissa has been working as a writer for years, with publishing credits in The Washington Post, Focus on the Family, Florida Today, Space Coast Parent, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and many more. She had a children’s fiction serial run in an online magazine for over a year, is a current staff columnist, and coaches writers on a part-time basis.

To build her client list, Melissa is focusing on children’s book authors—picture books through young adult. She’s drawn to witty wording and whimsical design for picture books, humor and quick pacing for chapter books, charming mysteries or magic in middle grade, and fresh, character-driven stories in young adult. She’s not the best fit for horror, high fantasy, or graphic violence of any kind.

I’m looking for picture books that are so heartfelt they get me choked up or are so funny they make me laugh-cry. (Either way, bring me to tears, I guess?) Non-fiction in picture books is awesome too. I love chapter books with quick pacing, a great hook, and a well-researched world. In middle grade, I adore magic, humor, and a sense of imagination. For young adult, I’m typically drawn to contemporary and historical work, but a good fantasy draws me in too. Use subtle wit and intelligent wordplay, and I’m all in.

Some of my perennial favorites include Harry Potter (Rowling), A Series of Unfortunate Events (Snicket), Junie B. Jones (Park), The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (Avi), The Messenger (Lowry), and A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens). More recent titles that I’ve loved include Stay Sweet (Vivian), The Unexpected Everything (Matson), Salt to the Sea (Sepetys), An Ember in the Ashes (Tahir), What to Say Next (Buxbaum), and Words in Deep Blue (Crowley).


Samantha Wekstein grew up in Westchester, NY. She attended the University of Maryland, College Park and received a B.A. in English. She now lives in NYC with her husband and dog. After internships with Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency and Rowman & Littlefield, she began her career in 2013 at Writers House LLC. She then briefly worked as an assistant at The Agency Group (now UTA) before returning to Writers House for the next 5 years where she began supporting the CEO, and then the Founder, before becoming an agent.

She’s been lucky to work with a variety of best-selling and award winning authors across all genres. She joined TLA in 2019 where she’s excited to grow her list. In YA, she loves creative and epic fantasies, but she is also drawn to realistic stories with multi-dimensional female characters. She is always interested in elevating diverse voices, particularly through feminist narratives. She is seeking middle grade of all stripes, but especially stories that deal with themes of friendship, adventure, or encountering tragedy for the first time. She is also on the lookout for whimsical, meaningful, and funny picture books.  On the adult side she is drawn to commercial voices in Romance, Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction, Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Her clients include Lani Forbes, Korrie Leer, and Jessie L. Star, among others.


Writers House is a full service literary agency that was founded in 1974. I started in our California office in 2009 as an intern to Steven Malk, and I have been in love with publishing and this company ever since. In NYC, I first learned under Brianne Johnson, and then went on to assist Rebecca Sherman and Geri Thoma. I've had the opportunity to work closely with a variety of bestselling and award-winning authors and illustrators, in genres ranging from picture books to middle grade and YA, to adult literary fiction and nonfiction. I'm actively building my own list of clients.

I studied Literature & Writing at University of California, San Diego and earned my MFA in Fiction from Columbia University—not only do I understand the revision process from an agent’s point of view, I also understand it from a writer’s perspective. I truly love editorial work, and am hands-on when it comes to helping authors revise and build projects.

I’m looking for quirky and humorous picture books filled with heart, and stories that help kids learn more about environments they know well, and other ways of life they're less familiar with. I’m passionate about working with author/illustrators who have stories they can’t help but tell, and who are excited about sharing tales that children will remember in their teens, in their thirties, in their sixties...stories they’ll want to pass on to their own children and grandchildren. I remember reading MARTHA SPEAKS and A BARGAIN FOR FRANCES countless times as a kid, and I’m looking for books that will also be read multiple times, with characters who are what Martha and Frances were to me. **At this point in time, I'm only taking on author/illustrators and illustrators of picture books.** some illustrators whose work I admire: Dana Wulfekotte, Scott Campbell, Diana Sudyka, Matt Phelan, and Sydney Smith...just to name a few! (The list could really be SO, so long.)


Shari graduated from Duke University with a degree in English, and later studied Dramatic Writing at NYU. Following a stint at The Children’s Television Workshop on international productions of Sesame Street, she published both novels and non-fiction, and worked as a writer and editor. Shari has also written Parenting & Lifestyle columns for several websites. A mother of three, she lives in New York with her husband.

Shari Maurer is currently seeking contemporary & historical YA and MG (no fantasy, please), and book club fiction. She also seeks funny picture books, New Adult, Romance, Women's Fiction, and nonfiction.


I started at Writers House in the West Coast office, where I apprenticed with Steven Malk and had the opportunity to work with some of the very best authors and artists in the industry. Before taking time off to start a family, I helped launch the careers of several bestselling and award-winning authors. I've now recently re-joined Writers House and I'm actively building my list. I'm seeking picture book, middle grade, and young adult manuscripts, including illustrated and graphic novel submissions. Growing up, I loved (and still love) stories by Lois Lowry, Beverly Cleary, Roald Dahl, Madeleine L'Engle, Mildred D. Taylor, Philip Pullman, Katherine Paterson, and E. L. Konigsburg. I've always been passionate about children's and young adult literature, and, as an agent, I'm eager to help bring fresh voices, characters and stories to a new generation of readers.

I'm particularly drawn to mysteries, fantasy, historical fiction, friendship stories, romance, magical realism, adventure, and books with humor--light or dark or both. I would love to see submissions from diverse or underrepresented authors.

Melissa Nasson has spent her life living in and around Boston, attending college at Boston University (Go Terriers!). While studying at Boston University School of Law, she realized that becoming a literary agent would combine her passion for books with her legal background, and she began interning at Zachary Shuster Harmsworth, and later at East-West Literary Agency and Rubin Pfeffer Content. After taking the bar exam in 2012, Melissa worked as a foreign rights intern at Perseus Books Group before starting as contracts director at Beacon Press. Melissa loves dogs, craft beer, making pickles, tending to her tiny vegetable garden, and her pet tortoise, Norton.

Melissa is seeking middle-grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction. She is also accepting picture book queries. She is open to all genres, but has a special love for fantasy and science fiction. She enjoys unexpected settings and loves a good romantic angle. For nonfiction, she’d love to see manuscripts that bring to light untold stories from history, particularly featuring individuals from marginalized groups. Above all, she wants to see strong, polished writing, fully developed and multifaceted characters, and fresh concepts. Tip: Melissa is not a good fit for bathroom humor.


FRANCES GILBERT started her career in children’s books when she was still a child, working in the children’s department of her town library throughout high school. After graduating from university with an M.A. in English, Frances’s first job in publishing was as a Book Club Editor at Scholastic Canada in Toronto. She moved to New York in 2000 to set up a children’s editorial division at Sterling Publishing, where she stayed till 2012. Frances then moved to Random House Children’s Books, where she is Editor-in-Chief of Doubleday Books for Young Readers. Titles she has acquired and edited include: The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine by Mark Twain, Philip Stead, and Erin Stead; I Don’t Want to Be a Frog by Dev Petty and Mike Boldt; the Hello, World! board book series by Jill McDonald; Bunny’s Book Club by Annie Silvestro and Tatjana Mai-Wyss; and Wordy Birdy by Tammi Sauer and Dave Mottram. 

In addition to editing children’s books, Frances also writes them: She is the author of the picture books Go, Girls, Go! (Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster) and I Will Always Be Your Bunny (Doubleday); the Step Into Reading titles I Love Pink!, I Love My Tutu!, and I Love My Grandma!; and an abridgment of The Secret Garden (Little Golden Books).


Sarah Rockett- Sleeping Bear Press

Sarah Rockett is a picture book editor with Sleeping Bear Press. She loves stories about nature and kindness--as well as anything that encourages big, joyful belly laughs. Recent projects include Winged Wonders: Solving the Monarch Migration Mystery, Snow Globe Wishes, A Boy Like You, and Nature's Friend: The Gwen Frostic Story. She lives with her husband, young son, and cocker spaniel outside of Ann Arbor, but vastly prefers the woods of northern Michigan. 


Alayne Kay Christian is the content and developmental editor for Blue Whale Press and an award-winning children’s book author. She is the creator and teacher of a picture book writing course, Art of Arc. She shares more or her knowledge and tips for writers through her Writing for Children Webinars. She has been a professional picture book and chapter book critique writer since 2014, and she worked as a 12 X 12 critique ninja for three years. Alayne is a graduate of the Institute for Children’s Literature. In addition, she has spent the last eleven years studying under some of the top names in children’s literature. Alayne’s focus at Blue Whale Press is content editing, creative direction, and working with authors and illustrators to coordinate the path to quality books.

Blue Whale press is looking for unusual characters, strong narrative arc, strong voice, fresh/unique premises, and surprise twists. We are drawn to unique stories that standout from all the rest. We gravitate toward humor, but we would love some stories that tug at the heartstrings, but again, in a unique, standout way. Clever and/or humorous informational fiction that is written with young readers in mind tends to get our attention.

Note from Alayne: Some have asked what we are not interested in, so I will offer that we are not interested in trends. Trends eventually lead to an abundance of similar stories. If you haven’t seen it before, your chances are probably better with us. We aren’t able to produce board books at this time, so manuscripts for the newborn to three age range are not for us. We are not against faith-based stories that give a mild universal message. However, heavy messages about specific beliefs based on specific religions aren’t a good fit for us. We are currently not looking for young adult manuscripts.

I’m excited about the many talented picture book and chapter book writers in our kid lit community, and I look forward to spotting some gems in your entries! Let the party begin!

ASIA CITRO, M. Ed, is a former classroom science teacher with a Master's in Science Education. She is the author of 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids, The Curious Kid's Science Book, and the Zoey and Sassafras chapter book series, among others. She is also the creator of the popular blog Fun at Home with Kids, the owner of (and an editor at) The Innovation Press, and the founder of the Seattle Children's Book Festival. Her work has been featured on Apartment Therapy, The Chicago Tribune, Today, Disney Baby, MSN, King 5 TV, and Highlights, among others.

I love quirky and creative manuscripts that aren't iterations of children's books that currently exist; an ideal manuscript either covers a new subject or uses a new presentation or approach to cover a perennial topic.  Manuscripts that make me laugh are a huge plus.  As a former classroom teacher, I also appreciate having some form of learning tied in and definitely have a penchant for manuscripts that promote STEM skills/learning.  We love diverse characters (and are VERY interested in any #OwnVoices manuscripts) and characters who challenge traditional gender roles.  The Innovation Press is open to all kinds of submissions (board books, picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and graphic novel), so long as the target audience falls in the PreK-5th grade range.


Hi! I am Callie Metler-Smith. I am the CEO and founder of Clear Fork Media Group in Stamford, Texas. I answer to the following titles: Publisher of Books, Newspaper Chick, Bookstore Owner, Writer, Illustrator, Wife, Mom, and Friend.

I am the illustrator for the Enchanted Snow Globe Chapter Book series written by Melissa Stoller. I have also written two other books: Swensons, Penick, and the TCR and Ben’s West Texas Snow. My third book, How to Babysit a Logan, tells the reader about autism from the perspective of my son Logan’s cat has a release date of April 2019.

When I'm not working on my corner of the Stamford Square, I love spending time with my husband, Philip and two sons, Logan and Ben.

CFP's Mission statement is to publish books that promote creativity, diversity, and books that expand your mind for adults and children. Our adult titles include poetry, non-fiction, and science fiction books. Our children's titles include board books; picture books; chapter books; and young adult.


Ninja Editor Dragonfly  

This editor wishes to stay anonymous. Authors will be contacted by us with specific instructions if Ninja Dragonfly makes any requests.