In this workshop, picture book writers will work with literary agent Sean McCarthy and a curated group of peers to revise and polish a manuscript for submission. At the start of the group, writers will submit three stories to determine which story to focus on for the remainder of the workshop. Writers will do a broad revision of the selected story for their second submission, and will polish their work for their third submission. Writers will peer critique one another's work in addition to receiving feedback from Sean.
Before applying, please be mindful of your schedule to be sure you have the time for critiques and revisions between each round. You should have space in your schedule to spend 1-2 hours per peer critique. The first round is particularly intensive, and even though your notes for this round can be shorter for each story than in future rounds (think one fat paragraph), this still requires a high level of engagement and you will have 18 stories to read. For rounds 2 and 3, you will be reading 6 stories.
From previous participants in Sean McCarthy's Fall 2019 group:
"The access to such a stellar agent was invaluable! Getting a professional critique is always helpful, but the chance to revise and resubmit several times, and to get feedback as the manuscript grows and takes shape, was so valuable." - Shay
"Great workshop format that allowed me to take one WIP forward; lots of work but well worth the investment of time (and $)." - Val M.
"I loved being able to dive in fully on one manuscript this fall. Now that the workshop is complete, I can also go back and revise my other two initial submissions with the fantastic notes from Sean and the group." - Brooke
This group will be capped at 7 writers.
Who this workshop is for: The workshop is geared towards picture book writers who are farther along in their journey, who are querying, preparing to query, agented, or published. Writers must apply for this group. Apply by 1/5. If there are more than 6 qualified applicants, we will draw spots at random the week of 1/6. If selected, you will have one week to claim your spot.
Focus: picture books
Group size: 7 writers
Submissions: There will be three rounds of submissions. Writers will begin by submitting 3 stories. After the first round, writers will select a single story to work on for the remainder of the workshop.
Members: $270; Non-members: $325
Sean McCarthy began his publishing career as an editorial intern at Overlook Press and then moved over to the Sheldon Fogelman Agency. He worked as the submissions coordinator and permissions manager before becoming a full-time literary agent. Sean graduated from Macalester College with a degree in English-Creative Writing, and is grateful that he no longer has to spend his winters in Minnesota.
He is drawn to flawed, multifaceted characters with devastatingly concise writing in YA, and character-driven work or smartly paced mysteries/adventures in MG. In picture books, he looks more for unforgettable characters, off-beat humor, and especially clever endings. He is not currently interested in issue-driven stories or query letters that pose too many questions.
Thurs, Mar 5th - Writers submit 3 manuscripts
Sun, Mar 29th, 8pm - Critiques due
Wed, Apr 1st - Debrief Call #1 8-10pm
Tues, Apr 28th - Submission 2 due
Sun, May 10th - Critiques due
Wed, May 13th, 8-10pm - Debrief Call #2
Wed, June 3rd - Submission 3 due
Sun, June 14th- Critiques due
Wed, June 17th, 8-10pm - Debrief Call #3