Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators


Date(s) - 01/11/2021 - 05/20/2021
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Query Grind

3-Webinar Series for MG & YA authors

January 11–March 4–May 20, 2021


Join us for one, or all three!

Do you have a middle grade or young adult manuscript ready to query? Join us for Query Grind as three industry professionals take a look at how to put the final polish on your work before you submit.

A limited number of Query Package critiques are available. See the registration below for more information.

(Presentations will be recorded and the recording link provided to all participants registered prior to the event. See each webinar for registration cutoffs.)


The Equity and Inclusion Team of Eastern PA SCBWI is honored to announce two full scholarships with the complete 3-query critique package to be awarded to story creators whose work promotes the mission of the Equity and Inclusion Team. These stories should allow all children to embrace and celebrate their own experiences as well as foster appreciation for the richness of other cultures in our world.


To apply, please email the following with “Query Grind Scholarship” in the subject line to


A brief letter of introduction, explaining how you/your manuscript connects to the mission of the Equity and Inclusion Team

A 5-page sample from your manuscript


Application deadline: December 27, 2020.


Current SCBWI members who reside in Eastern PA will be considered first, but current members from other regions may also apply. Please note that if no applicants meet the requirements, Eastern PA SCBWI reserves the right not to award the scholarships for this event.

January 11: WRITING THE QUERY LETTER THAT GETS NOTICED with Literary Agent Danielle Chiotti, Upstart Crow Literary
This short class will walk you through all of the most important elements of a query letter and help you craft the perfect pitch to capture the attention of agents and editors. It will walk you through the most important elements of a pitch and show you the four most important questions to answer in your book description.
Danielle will be offering a limited number of query-package critiques for this event. See ticket information below to register for this opportunity.
*Registration for the live webinar link closes 5am the morning of the event.

Get to know your instructor:

Danielle Chiotti has worked in publishing for eighteen years. Formerly an editor, she joined Upstart Crow when it was founded in 2009, specializing in young adult and middle grade fiction, as well as cookbooks and select nonfiction. Thanks to her extensive editorial background, she enjoys working closely with authors to develop projects. She welcomes first-time authors with a unique voice and point of view.





March 4: TACKLING FIRST PAGES with Literary Agent Samantha Fabien, Root Literary

In this webinar, I’ll discuss the intentions and goals for the first pages of manuscripts. I will share tips to achieve those goals across various genres and age-ranges including examples from published books. Attendees will leave the webinar with actionable feedback and more confidence in how to start their manuscript whether it’s for the first sentence or for the first chapter.

Samantha will be offering a limited number of query-package critiques for this event. See ticket information below to register for this opportunity.

*Registration for the live webinar link closes 5am the morning of the event.

Get to know your instructor:

Samantha Fabien is a literary agent at Root Literary. She previously worked as both a literary agent and the international rights manager at Laura Dail Literary Agency.  After attending the Columbia Publishing Course in 2016, she went on to intern and work part-time at three agencies: Ayesha Pande Literary, Writers House, and Chalberg & Sussman. From there, Samantha fostered her love for sharing diverse, lasting, and inclusive stories with the world. Samantha also works with events and organizations like DVcon, #Edits4BlackSFF, SCBWI, Gotham Writers, and The New York Writing Room among others.

May 20: NAVIGATING THE AUTHOR/AGENT RELATIONSHIP with Literary Agent Reiko Davis, DeFiore & Co. Literary

You’ve written a wonderful manuscript, crafted a query letter that you’ve submitted to agents, and now you’re fielding interest from an agent who wishes to discuss representation with you. What are the next steps? This seminar explores the ins and outs of the relationship between author and agent, beginning with the preliminary conversation you have with one. We will discuss the process of signing with an agent, preparing a project for submission to editors, and beyond. We will cover communication, author/agent agreements, the editorial process, contract negotiation, and the agent’s role once a project is sold to a publisher. This seminar will be a 60-minute presentation followed by 30 minutes of Q&A with attendees.

Reiko will be offering a limited number of query-package critiques for this event. See ticket information below to register for this opportunity.
 *Series registration closes 5am on Thursday, May 20.

Get to know your instructor:

Reiko Davis has been an agent at DeFiore and Company since 2016, prior to which she was a literary assistant at Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency. She focuses on literary and upmarket fiction and narrative nonfiction, as well as middle grade and YA literature. A graduate of Brown University and the Columbia Publishing Course, she grew up in Kansas City and now lives in New York. Her award-winning clients include Devi S. Laskar (The Atlas of Reds and Blues), Genevieve Plunkett (Prepare Her), Shannon Sanders (PEN/Robert J. Dau Prize for Emerging Writers), Lucy Jane Bledsoe (Running Wild), Lindsey Klingele (The Truth Lies Here), Andrea Debbink (The Wild World Handbook), Brittany Geragotelis (The Infamous Frankie Lorde), Alan Gelb (Seven Steps to Confident Writing), and Micah Perks.

Query-Package Critiques with Associate Literary Agent Karly Caserza, Fuse Literary

Karly will be offering query-package critiques only. See ticket information below to register.

Get to know your critiquer:

Associate Agent Karly Caserza was born in the Philippines and immigrated to Northern California as a child. She obtained her Business Marketing degree and has been a Freelance Graphic Designer for over 10 years. In addition to designing a wide range of print and web promotional material for clients, Karly creates book covers for Short Fuse and promotional graphics for Fuse authors.
Professionally, Karly began her career in the publishing industry as a reader for Tricia Skinner at Fuse Literary. Her responsibilities quickly grew and she was promoted to Literary Assistant, a role that also included a spot on the production team of Short Fuse.
Karly is also the Marketing Coordinator of the San Francisco Writers Conference, held every President’s Day weekend. In her spare time, Karly is an Adobe Technical Trainer, freelance graphic designer, Young Adult author, video game geek, and art noob.

Karly has a deep love for characters with a strong voice and seeks out stories she can get lost in. Diversity in genre fiction is a major bonus. She specializes in picture books (fiction and nonfiction), middle grade, and young adult genre fiction (fantasy, science fiction, and contemporary).

Query Package critiques: For MG & YA manuscripts only (at an additional cost; submission deadlines detailed below)

Have your Query Package critiqued by 3 of our faculty–Danielle Chiotti, Samantha Fabien and Karly Caserza–with time to revise in between submissions. A limited number of single Query Package critiques will also be available with each webinar.

Format your work in 12 point font, with one-inch margins. Send…

  • 1-page query letter, double spaced
  • 1-page synopsis, single spaced
  • First 20 pages of a manuscript, double spaced

Include all 3 items–query letter, synopsis & manuscript pages–in the same document; please don’t send more than 1 document.

⇒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.

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

    Example: Chiotti_Strocchia_PURPLE CARROTS

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

Deadlines for Query Package submissions for each webinar as follows:

  • Query Grind part 1 [Monday, January 11, 2021] submissions due by Friday, January 8.
  • Query Grind part 2 [Thursday, March 4, 2021] submissions due by Friday, March 12.
  • Query Grind part 3 [Thursday, May 20, 2021] submissions due by Friday, May 21.

*Series registration closes 5am on Thursday, May 20. See each webinar above for other registration cutoffs.