Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

NJ SCBWI Fall Critique Day

Date(s) - 11/15/2020
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

The pandemic doesn’t seem to be stopping—and neither are we!
NJ SCBWI is going virtual.
Please join us for:

NJ-SCBWI Members-Only Virtual Fall Critique Day

Sunday, November 15, 2020 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. 


Registration Opens: Monday, October 19 at noon EST

Registration Closes: Friday, October 23 at noon EST

Format: Zoom video platform

81 critique slots: limited to one per registered member at $75


What’s in store for you!

Attendees sign up for a one-on-one, 15-minute critique with the editor or agent of their choice on a first come, first served basis.
Critiques consist of 15-pages plus a 1-page synopsis for novels (middle grade/young adult) or the entire manuscript/dummy for picture books (typically no more than 500 words).
For graphic novels, include 15 pages of panels (or the text for 15 pages of panels) and a 1-page synopsis.
In conjunction with your one-on-one, you’ll also receive written feedback (post event).
An exclusive submission window for faculty (post event).
By signing up for this event, you are personally responsible for all technical aspects involved such as Zoom knowledge, strong wi-fi connection, video/mic capabilities, etc. and uploading your manuscript in the correct format.



Our stellar faculty lineup will help you on your path to publishing success!


Trisha de Guzman Trisha de Guzman is an Associate Editor at Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan. She is actively building her list of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and select nonfiction books and graphic novels, with a special interest in stories by and about people from the margins. Filipino by birth, she has lived in New York City since she was seven years old. Visit her at or on Twitter at @trishadeg.


Sam Gentry Samantha Gentry is an Editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, where she acquires picture books, middle grade and young adult, both fiction and nonfiction. Samantha is currently building her list after joining LBYR in early 2019 from Crown Books for Young Readers, but is particularly excited about her upcoming titles BRAINS ON! PRESENTS…IT’S ALIVE by Molly Bloom, Sanden Totten, and Marc Sanchez; MILO MOSS IS OFFICIALLY UN-AMAZING by Lauren Allbright; HAIR TWINS by Raakhee Mirchandani, illustrated by Holly Hatam; SOMEWHERE BETWEEN BITTER AND SWEET by Laekan Zea Kemp; and THE EDGE OF SUMMER by Erica George. She has a particular interest in pop-3ulture tie-ins and platform-driven stories in nonfiction. She is always on the lookout for voice-driven middle grade with unforgettable characters, a friendship story at its core, interesting family dynamics, and a touch of magical realism. In picture books, she’d love to see character-driven stories with a touch of humor and quirk, but she’s also a sucker for the charming tales that feel like an instant classic. In YA, she is looking for authors who have a platform, stories and storytellers from diverse backgrounds, contemporaries with a strong and distinctive narrative voice, and a touch of romance is always welcome.


Liz Kossnar Liz Kossnar enthusiastically joined the publishing industry in 2013 at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and more recently joined Little, Brown Young Readers. She acquires picture books through YA, and enjoys fiction, non-fiction, and graphic novels, but loves working on middle grade most of all. While working at Simon & Schuster, she has had the privilege of working with authors such as Stuart Gibbs, Whitney Gardner, Alex Willan, Kristi Wientge, and many others. She most enjoys reading whimsical, diverse middle grade, and subversive, contemporary young adult fiction, or any work of fiction that inspires a sense of empathy or makes her learn something she didn’t know before. Anything feminist is a plus. Liz is not the best match for animals, sentimentality, or traditional romance. You can follow her on Twitter @liz_adventures.


Elizabeth Law In college, Elizabeth Law dreamed of becoming a children’s book editor, and so she moved to New York upon graduation and did just that. She worked at Viking Children’s Books for 18 years, then Simon & Schuster and Egmont USA before her current position at Holiday House. Elizabeth has a soft spot for contemporary middle grade and young adult fiction in particular, such as debut novelist Polly Farquhar’s Itch which has just received two starred reviews. She also likes books about sports, anything funny or scary, and picture books on unusual or interesting topics. Finally, she always has a soft spot for doll and dollhouse books.


Jim McCarthy Jim McCarthy interned for Dystel, Goderich & Bourret while studying urban design at New York University. Upon graduating, Jim realized he would much rather continue working with books than make the jump (as he had originally intended) to the field of city planning. Twenty years later, he remains at DG&B as a VP and agent. As an avid fiction reader, his interests encompass both literary and commercial works in the adult, young adult, and middle grade categories. His clients include New York Times bestsellers Richelle Mead, Morgan Rhodes, Victoria Laurie, Robin Talley, Livia Blackburne, Suzanne Young, and Michael Arceneaux along with critically celebrated and award winning authors such as Tehlor Kay Mejia, Joy McCullough, Fonda Lee, Remy Lai, Eric Gansworth, and many more.


Quressa Robinson Quressa Robinson joined the Nelson Literary Agency in 2017 after working at a previous agency and as an editor for five years. She is originally from San Francisco, but has been living in New York City for over a decade. As a New York based agent, she is eager to build her MG, YA, and Adult lists. When not curled on her couch reading, she plays video games, enjoys too much TV–mostly Sailor Moon and Harry Potter (Slytherin!), eats delicious things, drinks champagne, hangs out with her very clever husband, and adds another “dramatic” color to her lipstick collection. Quressa is also a member of the 2017-2020 WNDB Walter Grant Committee and holds an MFA in Creative Writing: Fiction from Columbia University.


Leslie Zampeti After experience as a librarian and writer, Leslie Zampetti became a literary agent. Her clients include Ann Clare LeZotte (Show Me a Sign) and Lisa Rose (The Singer and the Scientist, 2021). For children’s books, Leslie represents picture books through young adult. Mysteries for all ages, novels in verse, inclusive voices, and chapter books are high on her wish list. @leslie_zampetti


Luana Horry Luana Horry is an editor of board books, picture books, and young graphic novels at Harper Collins Children’s Publishers. She has been part of Nancy Inteli’s group for nearly five years and worked on bestselling titles such as Pete the Cat series created by Kimberly and James Dean; the Fancy Nancy series written by Jane O’Connor; The Bad Seed series created by Jory John and Pete Oswald; I’ve Loved You Since Forever written by Hoda Kotb; Welcome to the Party by Gabrielle Union; the #1 New York Times bestseller I Promise by LeBron James; Fresh Princess written by Denene Millner; Not Quite Snow White written by Ashley Franklin and more. Luana is looking for character-driven, inspirational, and clever commercial picture books, with a strong interest in stories that center Black and brown women and girls.


Michaela Whatnall Michaela Whatnall joined Dystel, Goderich & Bourret in 2019 as the assistant to Michael Bourret in the West Coast office. After graduating from Emory University with a degree in English and linguistics, Michaela completed the Columbia Publishing Course. Her background in school and library marketing accounts for her strong interest in children’s literature, from picture books up through middle grade and young adult novels and graphic novels. In the adult fiction space, she is particularly seeking character-driven fantasy and science fiction. She is also interested in nonfiction for both children and adults, especially narrative nonfiction in the areas of history, the creative arts, and lifestyle. 


You will receive the link to upload your manuscript in your registration confirmation email.

Double spaced lines, left justified, 12 point Times New Roman or Courier font.
Allow one-inch margins all around, half-inch indents for each new paragraph.
Put your name and full contact information on the first page.
On subsequent pages, put your name, title (shortened if necessary), and page number in a header or footer.
Include the entire manuscript for picture books (typically no more than 500 words). (Picture book dummies in PDF format accepted.)
Submit up to 15 pages of a novel, plus 1-page synopsis (pasted at the end of your 15 pages). Chapter breaks need only be several lines of obvious separation, not starting on a new page.
For graphic novels, include 15 pages of panels (or the text for 15 pages of panels) and a 1-page synopsis.
Before uploading be sure your file is saved with the correct naming convention:
For example: RosanneKurstedt-Daisy-Zampetti


Registration Instructions

1. You must be a NJ SCBWI member to register. Enter your SCBWI username and password, and login.

2. Fill in the fields in the Event Registration section.

4. Critique Section: Select an editor or agent. If you want to change your selection, you must first uncheck your current selection before selecting a new one. (Note: If an editor’s or agent’s name is grayed out or doesn’t appear, all slots for that person are taken.)

6. The SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy: Scroll to the bottom to read the policy. Click the checkbox to indicate acceptance.

7. Payment: Click the “Continue” button. You will be prompted to enter payment information.


Manuscripts must be uploaded by noon on Friday, October 23.

You will receive the link to upload your manuscript in your registration confirmation email.

This event is fully booked.