SCBWI

Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

FREE WEBINAR SERIES: First Page Center Stage

Date/Time
Date(s) - 08/12/2021 - 09/13/2021
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Category(ies)


First Page Center Stage

FREE Webinar Series

August 12-September 13, 2021

@7pm EST

Each webinar will focus on one category/genre—PB, CB, MG, YA and NF. Publishing experts in each category will spend the hour giving live editor or art director feedback (First Pages for manuscripts or First Looks for illustrations) on pre-submitted materials from participants (that’s you!)

Join us for any or all of these focused FIRST PAGE/FIRST LOOKS sessions!

Optional: A limited number of critiques are available for purchase. See the registration below for more information.

(Presentations will be recorded and the recording link provided to all participants registered prior to the event. *Registration for the live webinar link closes 5am the morning of each event. 

**Recording links for the whole First Page Center Stage series will be emailed to all participants AFTER the final webinar in September and will then be available for two weeks.

***You only need to register once to receive the link for all FIRST PAGE CENTER STAGE events.)


 For live feedback/optional critique submission information, scroll down.

August 12: First Pages Middle Grade Night with editor Foyinsi Adegbonmire, Feiwel & Friends

 

Providing live feedback on Middle Grade manuscripts only. All genres welcome! Submissions due by August 5. See below for live feedback submission format details.

 

Get to know the editor:

Foyinsi Adegbonmire is an Associate Editor at Feiwel & Friends, under the Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. She acquires Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction, from contemporary to mystery to grounded science-fiction, and enjoys stories with lighthearted and/or conversational narrative voices. She’s in love with romance and forever searching for fluffy YA contemporary romances that will give the same feels as the To All the Boys series. When not reading or thinking about her very large TBR pile, she can be found watching Black sitcoms from the 90s/early 2000s and crime shows like Criminal Minds, or obsessing over journals and bullet journaling.


 

August 16: First Pages Nonfiction Night with editor Katie Heit, Scholastic

 

Providing live feedback on Nonfiction works only. Picture book dummies and manuscripts for all age categories PB-YA welcome! Submissions due by August 9. See below for live feedback submission format details.

 

Get to know the editor:

Katie Heit is a picture book editor at Scholastic Books where she edits nonfiction picture books and chapter books, as well as select fiction picture book titles. She works with many nonfiction authors, including Monica Clark-Robinson, Charles R. Smith Jr., Sandra Markle, and Denise Lewis Patrick, among others. She is drawn to books that approach nonfiction in a unique, kid-friendly way and is especially on the lookout for nature and STEAM topics.


August 19: First Pages Young Adult Night with editor Holly West, Feiwel & Friends

 

Providing live feedback on Young Adult manuscripts only. All genres welcome! Submissions due by August 12. See below for live feedback submission format details.

 

Get to know the editor:

Holly West is a Senior Editor at Feiwel & Friends and Swoon Reads, imprints of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. She has worked with authors such as Mo O’Hara (My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish); Emmy Laybourne (Monument 14); Tricia Levenseller (Daughter of the Pirate King); Sarah Cannon (Oddity); Dustin Hansen (Game On!); and Aiden Thomas (Cemetery Boys). She edits books for kids and teens of all ages, with a focus on fantasy, sci-fi and other genre elements, along with a few (mostly tech and video game related) non-fiction titles. In general, she’s drawn to books that feature smart kids and which combine magic, technology, and whimsy with snark and heart. She would almost always rather laugh than cry, and likes to describe her job as being a professional fangirl: it allows her to look through all the pop culture shared with her, find stories to fall deeply in love with, nitpick over them obsessively until they are as close to perfect as possible, and then shove them at other people with great enthusiasm.


August 23: First Looks Night with art director Ellice Lee, Philomel Books

 

Providing live feedback on illustration portfolio pieces only. Submissions due by August 16. See below for live feedback submission format details.

 

Get to know the art director:

Ellice Lee, Senior Art Director of Philomel Books, joined the team in 2017. She holds a BA in Sociology from UCLA and a BFA from Art Center College of Design. Ellice has worked with award-winning talent including Alexandra Boiger, Rafael Lopez, Loren Long, Le Uyen Pham, Christian Robinson, Kadir Nelson, Angela Dominguez, Ed Young, and Floyd Cooper. Titles she has worked on have appeared on the New York Times best-seller lists, such as Just Ask! by Sonia Sotomayor and She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton, featured in New York magazine, TIME magazine and have won Caldecott honors, Coretta Scott King awards, as well as being a finalist for the National Book Award. Ellice loves working with talent who have a compelling story to share—from the political to the social to the inane.


 

August 26: First Pages Chapter Book Night with editor Bunmi Ishola, Penguin Random House

 

Providing live feedback on Chapter Book manuscripts only. All genres welcome! Submissions due by August 19. See below for live feedback submission format details.

 

Get to know the editor:

Raised in Texas and Nigeria, Bunmi Ishola spent most of her childhood reading. She thought she wanted to be an author, but Nigerian practicality encouraged her to pursue journalism instead. After working for different newspapers and magazines, Bunmi left journalism to teach middle school social studies and English. After seven years in the classroom, she decided to take a chance and find a job working with one of her biggest passions: books. She now works as an editor for Penguin Random House, primarily focusing on faith-based children’s books, and serves on the board for The Word, A Storytelling Sanctuary.


 

 


September 13: First Pages Picture Book Night with editor Sylvie Frank, Disney Books

 

Providing live feedback on Picture Books only. Manuscripts and dummies welcome! Submissions due by September 6. See below for live feedback submission format details.

 

Get to know the editor:

Sylvie Frank joined Disney’s trade publishing team as Executive Editor in June 2021. She spent over eight years as an editor with Paula Wiseman Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Division. She is the editor of award-winning and critically acclaimed books including Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo; I Have a Balloon by Ariel Bernstein, illustrated by Scott Magoon; The Power of Her Pen by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by John Parra; The Crossroads by Alexandra Diaz; and OCDaniel by Wesley King. In her new role at Disney, Sylvie is looking for kid-focused, snappy picture books, especially those by author-illustrators. She is drawn to original and diverse voices across all genres. One of her favorite pastimes is browsing agents’ and illustrators’ websites for new talent. When she’s not reading, Sylvie can be found running while listening to audiobooks.


 Submit for live feedback…
 Live feedback submissions due by the dates listed in the webinars above.

What is FIRST PAGES? August 12, 16, 19, 26 & September 13
Randomly selected First Page submissions will be read aloud during the webinar, followed by live feedback from the featured editor. These will be quick assessments, not detailed critiques. First Page submissions will also be shared on the screen so attendees can follow along.
Due to time constraints, not everyone who submits a manuscript/dummy excerpt ahead of time will have it critiqued. There will be a time of general Q&A at the end of each webinar.
TO SUBMIT YOUR FIRST PAGE [250 word maximum]
For manuscriptsFormat your manuscript in a word document as follows:
double spaced
12pt font, Times New Roman
1″ margins
US Letter paper size
Please indicate the following in the heading:
Type of manuscript–PB, CB, MG, YA, NF [For longer fiction, include genre as well.]
Title of manuscript
Word count of submission (must not exceed 250 words)
**No names, please
***Manuscripts translated into English are welcome. Please add the word Translation after PB, CB, MG, YA, or NF at the top of your submission.

⇒Please SAVE YOUR FILE as FPCS_Webinar Faculty LastName_Catgeory_Genre [Genre not required for PB] as a PDF or DOC or DOCx.

    Example: FPCS_Adegbonmire_MG_Contemporary

⇒Then send your file to Kristen at epa-ara@scbwi.org. The subject should read: FPCS_Webinar Faculty LastName_Category_Genre (same as saved file name) [Genre not required for PB/NF] .

For PB dummies…If you are an author-illustrator, the first 2.5 spreads of a PB dummy [either fiction or nonfiction] may be submitted in lieu of a 250 word manuscript excerpt. Please, submit each spread as a single medium resolution JPG file to be reviewed [3 files max]. Note that nonfiction PB submissions may be selected either for our nonfiction night on August 16 or for our picture book night on September 13.

Submission Deadlines…Please, see the webinar descriptions above for live feedback submission deadlines.


What is FIRST LOOKS? August 23
Randomly selected First Looks submissions will be viewed during the webinar, followed by live feedback from the featured art director. These will be quick assessments, not detailed critiques. First Looks illustrations will also be shared on the screen so attendees can follow along.
Due to time constraints, not everyone who submits illustration samples ahead of time will have them critiqued. There will be a time of general Q&A at the end of the webinar.
TO SUBMIT YOUR FIRST LOOKS (No dummies, please.)
Three or fewer portfolio ready illustrations/sketches medium resolution JPG to be reviewed.  Send your JPGs as separate files to Kristen at epa-ara@scbwi.org. The subject should read: FPCS_FIRST LOOKS (same as saved file name)
**No names, please
 Submission Deadlines…Please, see the webinar descriptions above for live feedback submission deadlines.

Submit for written feedback…
All written/Zoom critique submissions due by midnight Friday, August 13. Critiques to be returned on or about Saturday, September 18.

Critique Opportunity…
Please, select only one critique. For all submissions, format your work in 12 point font, with one-inch margins, and double spacing.
First Page Critiques[cost $25]= the first 250 words [max] of your manuscript. All categories welcome.
Standard Written Critiques [cost $50]/ZOOM Critiques [cost $60]=For picture books, send one full manuscript* plus a 2-3 sentence pitch in the same document. For Early Reader/Chapter Book/MG/YA/Graphic Novel, send up to 10 pages of your manuscript, plus a one-page, single-spaced synopsis. (US Letter paper size-Include synopsis in the same document; please don’t send two documents.)

⇒Please include your name on every page of your work as a header or a footer, as well as identifying information on page one: first & last name, email address, title, genre. If your work is a translation into English, please also provide the original title, language, and author’s name on page one, as well as the English rights status if known.

⇒Please SAVE YOUR FILE as Webinar Faculty Last Name_Your Last Name_TITLE OF MANUSCRIPT as a PDF or DOC or DOCx.

    Example: Chambers-Black_Strocchia_PURPLE CARROTS

⇒Then send your file to Kristen at epa-ara@scbwi.org. The subject should read: Webinar Faculty Last Name_Your Last Name_TITLE OF MANUSCRIPT (same as saved file name).

If submitting a dummy/portfolio pieces [Portfolio=Six or fewer portfolio ready illustrations/sketches medium resolution JPG to be reviewed.]  Send your JPGs as separate files to Kristen at epa-ara@scbwi.org. The subject should read: Webinar Faculty Last Name_Your Last Name (same as saved file name)


Critique Faculty

Please, read each agent bio carefully to see what types of submissions they will be reviewing.

Jemiscoe Chambers-Black–Critiquing: Illustration Portfolios, MG & YA [but please no Sci-Fi submissions]
Jemiscoe, or Jem as she likes to be called, cannot say that reading and writing came naturally. Rather, these interests were inspired by pizza. At seven, her school offered free Pizza Hut and Shakey’s Pizza coupons as a reward for reading books, and Jem was sold. Eventually, the books held more interest than the pizza ever did. From reading, writing soon followed.

Jem was born in Washington, D.C., but now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three kids. She spent more than a decade as an Assistant Director for film and television. In this line of work, she met a diverse group of people from all over the world, which offered inspiration for research and character.
Before joining Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Jem returned to school to pursue her love of reading and writing. She holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing, and an MFA in Fiction and several of her short stories have been published in literary journals and magazines.

When Jem is not reading or editing–which doesn’t leave many hours in the day–she will most likely be found binge-watching something on Netflix or Disney Plus with her family. At heart, she LOVES books and adores writers, which is why she is an agent, a college-level writing tutor (both formal and creative writing), and a freelance editor.

 


Serene Hakim–Critiquing: MG & YA manuscripts both fiction and nonfiction submissions
Serene Hakim (Ayesha Pande Literary) holds an M.A. in French to English translation from NYU and a B.A. in French and Women’s Studies from the University of Kansas. Born to Lebanese immigrants in the Midwest, she grew up straddling cultures and languages and still feels like a third culture kid. Serene loves to read a variety of genres but is particularly drawn to fiction with strong female voices, both YA/MG and adult fiction and non-fiction with international themes, and LGBTQ and feminist issues. She is always on the lookout for great YA sci-fi and fantasy, realistic YA, and anything that gives voice to those whose voices are underrepresented and/or marginalized. When she’s not reading, she can usually be found trying a new recipe while simultaneously balancing a toddler on her hip.

 


Minju Chang–Critiquing: Illustration Portfolios, PB, MG, YA & Graphic Novels–“I’d love to see: #ownvoices stories across genres and categories; heartfelt MG (contemporary or historical); graphic novels for ages 5 and up; YA rom-coms; dummies from author-illustrators; lyrical picture books; hilarious picture books.”

Minju Chang joined BookStop Literary in 2006. She represents authors and illustrators of fiction and nonfiction in all children’s categories from picture books through YA.

Across genres and formats, Minju is drawn to stories with emotional impact and distinctive voices, especially those that are underrepresented and/or marginalized. She loves whimsical stories with a touch of magic and vivid settings that make a reader want to linger and explore. Some of her favorite themes include finding one’s voice and finding family and friends in unexpected places. She’s also hungry for stories that open her eyes to new worlds and experiences—a fascinating moment in history; non-Western culture and country; subculture, etc.

In particular, Minju is looking for more middle-grade fiction and graphic novels for ages 5 and up but she’s also open to humorous or lyrical, thought-provoking picture books and voice-driven YA about family, identity, and empowerment. Specific areas of interest include: music; Asian diaspora; history; re-interpreting the literary and musical canon; voting rights; poor peoples’ movements; family history; wildlife; fashion; food.

 


Kortney Price–Critiquing: PB, Early Reader, Chapter Book, MG, YA & Graphic Novel manuscripts both fiction and nonfiction submissions
Kortney graduated with a B.A. in English from Greenville University in 2014. Since then she has interned  with several prominent literary agencies and worked as an agency assistant and associate at several leading kid lit agencies. She found her home with Raven Quill in January of 2020 and is building up her list of wonderfully talented authors. Kortney specializes in books for children from picture books through young adult with an eye for all things dark and spooky to light and fluffy. To connect and learn more about Kortney, check out her  Twitter,  Pinterest, or  MSWL page.
 

 


Masha Gunic–Critiquing MG & YA
As an Associate Agent at the Azantian Literary Agency, Masha is currently looking to acquire middle grade and young adult novels. She started her career in publishing as an intern at the Azantian Literary Agency and has since held internships at Red Fox Literary and Writers House before working as an Editorial Assistant at Abrams Books on the children’s side for two years. Her love for books across genres, as well as her desire to find and foster great talent, drove her to make the transition from editorial back to the Azantian Literary Agency on the West Coast.

 PLEASE, SELECT ONLY ONE WRITTEN/ZOOM CRITIQUE.
Submission Deadlines…All written/Zoom critique submissions due by midnight Friday, August 13. Critiques to be returned on or about Saturday, September 18.

*Series registration closes 5am on Monday, September 13. Registration for the live webinar link closes 5am the morning of each event. 

**You only need to register once to receive the link for all FIRST PAGE CENTER STAGE events.

Bookings