Picture Books, with James McGowan

August 3rd, 2022 - August 28th, 2022

with James McGowan

Group started

In this intimate workshop, you'll receive a written critique of a picture book manuscript from Literary Agent, James McGowan from Bookends Literary Agency, plus get the opportunity to speak to James individually in the live group call that follows critiques. You'll also exchange critiques within your group of up to 9 writers. 

How it works

You'll submit your pages at the group start, then spend the next weeks critiquing peer stories. James will submit his notes near the critique deadline. After critiques are complete, we host a 2-hour group debrief, in which each writer gets individual time with James to dig into feedback, brainstorm next steps, and discuss any writing questions. 

Our goal with these events is to help writers become stronger storytellers. That said, each opening pages event we offer also comes with a submission opportunity.

About the group workshop format

Participants should be sure they have at least 1 hour to give for critiquing each person's manuscript (plus reading time). Because this is a group of 9, this means you should have at least 8 hours available for your peers' stories.

This makes for an intense workload for the few weeks of peer critique. However, we've also found that this format accelerates learning because you are able to read a professional's feedback on each story you have read and critiqued, and you will listen to each one-on-one in the debrief. Many writers have told us that listening and learning from the professional's notes to others has been just as beneficial to their learning as the feedback on their own work.


Who this workshop is for: This workshop is best suited for writers querying, preparing to query, or who have an agent but are looking for a high level educational opportunity.

Focus: Children's - Picture Books - Fiction - Children's - Picture…

Group size: 9 writers

Submissions: Submit one picture book. Fiction submissions should be under 900 words; nonfiction should be under 1500 words.


Members: $96; Non-members: $115

We are pleased to offer a spot free of charge to a writer from a historically marginalized group. Applications for this scholarship have closed.

About James McGowan

For James, in picture books: anything goes! He works on humorous picture books, lyrical picture books, fiction, any non-fiction, but particularly those about STEM topics, and the occasional rhyme.

James approaches all critiques the way he does his client revisions: with an eye towards enhancing the marketability, addressing any plot or characterization issues, and delivering feedback in a kind, but organized and concise manner.


Wed, Aug 3rd - Writers submit
Mon, Aug 22nd - Critiques due
Thurs, Aug 25th, 5-7:15 pm ET - Debrief call
Sun, Aug 28th - Group closes.