Picture Books with Jennifer Mattson

January 12th, 2022 - February 11th, 2022

with Kim Pfennigwerth

Group started

In this intimate workshop, you'll receive a written critique of a picture book manuscript from literary agent Jennifer Mattson of Andrea Brown Literary, plus get the opportunity to speak to Jennifer 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.  Jennifer will submit her notes near the critique deadline. After critiques are complete, we host a 2-hour group debrief, in which each writer gets individual time with Jennifer 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.

We are pleased to offer a workshop spot free of charge to a writer of color or from a traditionally marginalized background. Apply by 12/20. https://inkedvoices.typeform.com/to/xGSLKHQK


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: 8 writers

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


Members: $96; Non-members: $115

About Kim Pfennigwerth

I look for picture books that have a clear target audience and layers that ensure that the target audience is as broad as possible; even more specifically, if you can visualize a teacher or a librarian pulling out your book as a go-to storytime to complement a curriculum topic, then it's probably a manuscript I'll like. Other elements I look for: evidence that an author thinks visually and has a great grasp of how illustrations will extend and advance the story; a strong and consistent kid voice; humor that directs itself primarily to a child audience; and a story arc that feels satisfying and complete. https://www.andreabrownlit.com/Team/Jennifer-Mattson

Critique style: I evaluate manuscripts first from a global point of view by asking myself two questions—is this working at a craft level, and is it working at a marketplace level?—and then pinpoint opportunities for development and strengthening. I always assume that writers are present because they value constructive feedback, so I tend to be pretty direct in my commentary, but I also work to encourage, inspire, and cultivate an attitude of excitement about the revision process. I absolutely love brainstorming revision approaches with engaged authors. It's one of my favorite things to do!


Wed, Jan 12th - Submissions due
Wed, Feb 2nd - Critiques due
Mon, Feb 7th, 8-10:15pm ET - Debrief Call
Fri, Feb 28th - Group Closes