Picture Books with Sarah Stephens

March 14th, 2022 - April 3rd, 2022

with Sarah Stephens

Group started

In this intimate workshop, you'll receive a written critique of a picture book manuscript from literary agent Sarah Stephens with Red Fox Literary Agency, plus get the opportunity to speak to Sarah 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. Sarah 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 Sarah 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 02/16 https://inkedvoices.typeform.com/to/wnKfNY6y


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

About Sarah Stephens

Sarah Stephens is a children’s book enthusiast in every sense. She has worked as an editor, author, and indie bookseller, and before that she was a book-loving child. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, Sarah moved to Rhode Island and got her first editorial job at Houghton Mifflin in Boston. When East Coast winters grew too long for the California native, Sarah returned to the San Francisco Bay Area where she continued her editorial career at Chronicle Books and then Lucasfilm Licensing. Though she eventually left the office for the flexibility of freelance, Sarah never left children’s books. She has continued her work as a freelance editor and authored numerous original (Maiden Voyage, Bug Girl, Rescue Dogs) and licensed (Curious George, Star Wars, DC) titles.

As an agent, Sarah is looking to champion books that make her laugh out loud, delight her with new wonders or quirky surprises, or speak deep truths. She is interested in elevating the voices of marginalized individuals, amplifying stories that need to be heard, and connecting children to nature. She enjoys helping authors hone their craft and tell their own unique tales with humor, heart, and integrity, and loves picture books that are entertaining and do not underestimate their audience.

Critique style: I like to give honest, balanced critiques that point out things that are working as well as areas that could use help. I deliver general comments about tone, character, structure, and story arc in a letter, and include more specific notes in the manuscript.


Monday, March 14th - Submissions due
Sunday, April 3rd - Critiques due
Thurs, April 7th, 7 - 9:15 pm ET - Debrief Call
April 12th - Group closes