Advanced Picture Books, with Sara Sproull

November 9th, 2022 - December 7th, 2022

with Sara Sproull

Group started

In this intimate workshop, you'll receive a written critique of a picture book manuscript from Sara Sproull,  Editor at Abrams Children's, plus get the opportunity to speak to Sara individually in the live group call that follows critiques. You'll also exchange critiques with your workshop peers.   

Who may apply

You must be an Inked Voices member, and you must meet one of the following for this advanced group: 1) traditionally published or under contract; 2) agented (or previously agented in the past 2 years); or 3) querying and getting requests for additional manuscripts. APPLY.  

How it works

You'll submit your pages at the group start, then spend the next weeks critiquing peer stories. The editor will submit their notes near the critique deadline. After critiques are complete, we host a live group debrief over Zoom, in which each writer gets individual time with the editor 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, this workshop 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 an advanced group. Please see "Who May Apply" above for the application and rules.

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: $101; Non-members: $121

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

About Sara Sproull

Sara Sproull is an Assistant Editor who joined ABRAMS in 2018, working primarily on the Books for Young Readers list. While her heart lies with picture books, she’s also on the lookout for the occasional early reader, young graphic novel, or middle-grade fantasy that she just can’t resist. Her past life as a bookseller and children’s librarian informs her love of stories that open the imagination and speak directly to kids, especially readers who don’t often see themselves reflected. A native Kentuckian, she enjoys binge-watching, hiking, trying new foods, and learning to bake through lots of trial and error.

Critique style:
Before I put my editor hat on, I evaluate manuscripts first as a reader, taking note of where my curiosity naturally sparks, where my attention wavers, or where I find myself feeling lost. My goal is to help shape the manuscript into the best that it can be while preserving the writer’s voice, and I aim to give feedback that’s both exploratory and specific. Because I view the editing process as very collaborative, I tend to ask lots of questions to help the writer find and bring forth the story that they’re most interested in telling. While “Who is this for?” is front of my mind, I tend to focus more on the bones of a story (character, plot, structure, flow, etc.) before marketability, believing that an exceptionally well-told story always has an audience.


Wed, Nov 9th- Submissions Due
Wed, Nov 30th - Critiques Due
Wed, Dec 7th, 4-6:15pm ET - Debrief Call