Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Crafting Effective Query and Cover letters

Date(s) - 10/10/2018
7:00 pm

Online Program
SCBWI - Carolinas, Webinar 28201

You may be researching in The Book: Essential Guide to Publishing for Children for just the right editor open for submission, or looking for an agent to develop a career in children’s publishing. 


You’re just back from By Word & By Line. You’ve listened to all the agents and editors describe what they want. And you know, absolutely, this is your moment.  



There is nothing more important to the publication of your picture book, chapter book or novel than an effective letter that queries an agent or editor or one that provides insight into you and your writing when you submit. 



On Wednesday, October 10, 2018 @7:30 PM RED FOX LITERARY agent, Stephanie Fretwell-Hill will walk you through crafting effective query and cover letters.  

Program Description: Before an agent will even look at your manuscript, they have to like what they see in your letter—and they have to notice your query among thousands of others. So what are agents looking for? What might cause one to sit up and notice, and what might land you quickly in the “reject” pile? We will look at pitching your story, hooking your reader, selling yourself honestly but effectively, and avoiding red flags and faux pas.

Stephanie Fretwell-Hill is a literary agent with a sales and editorial background. After starting her career in foreign rights at Walker Books in the UK, Stephanie moved home to the US as an acquiring editor at Peachtree Publishers. In 2016, she joined Red Fox Literary where she represents authors and illustrators of fiction and nonfiction picture books, middle grade, and YA. Some of her clients include Carolyn Crimi, Christina Soontornvat, Beth Anderson, Michael Belanger, Brad Sneed, and Anne Lambelet. Stephanie lives in North Carolina with her English husband, two very small daughters, and a rescued border collie.


Jess represents young adult and middle grade books, as well as adult fiction and nonfiction. In the nonfiction space, she represents memoir and pop culture, with an emphasis on female voices, humor, or single-topic narratives that would appeal to a female audience. She also represents children’s nonfiction and YA memoir.
In the fiction space, Jess is passionate about discovering projects that are compulsive, contagious, and creative. She’s particularly interested in books that are “conversation starters,” novels that bridge the literary-commercial divide, combining a high-concept plot with beautiful writing, and voice-driven contemporary stories. She’s always looking for diverse characters that tell a story from a unique perspective, and through which we see the world differently. Jess is drawn to coming-of-age stories, ambitious women’s fiction, charming and stylized love stories, atmospheric magical realism, dark and twisty suspense, and genre-bending literary fiction. She is not looking for genre fiction, such as high fantasy, sci-fi, romance, westerns, chick lit, cozy mysteries, etc.
Originally from Iowa, Jess was working at her local library when she was offered a job at the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency and packed up for New York City. She spent eleven years at the Naggar Agency before moving over to Foundry in 2013. Some of her books include: Amber Smith’s New York Times Bestseller The Way I Used to Be (Simon & Schuster), Emily Danforth’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post (Balzer + Bray), Linda Liukas’ Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding(Feiwel & Friends), Nora McInerny Purmort’s It’s Okay to Laugh (Dey Street), J.C. Carleson’s The Tyrant’s Daughter (Knopf), Jillian Cantor’s Margot (Riverhead), Bryn Greenwood’s All the Ugly and Wonderful Things(MacMillan/Thomas Dunne) and Laure Dugas’ Champagne Baby (Ballantine). Jess is a graduate of Hunter College with a degree in English Literature.

Program cost: SCBWI Members $15.00  Nonmembers $25.00

Critique cost:  SCBWI Members: $30.00  Nonmembers: $40.00


Important Dates:         

  • October 10, 2018_Online program
    • Recording will be available until submission deadline 10/26/2018
  • October 26, 2018_Deadline to Submit Query or cover letter as a word.docx
  • December 14, 2018_Critiques returned

Submission Information:             

  • *Before submitting your work, please do a spell check.
  • *Only submit one page;
  • *You may address the query or cover letter to Dear Agent or Dear Editor
  • *Sign your letter 
  • *Format your letter in industry standard submission format, that is black color, 12-point Arial or Times New Roman. You may use single spacing,  use a 1-inch or 1.25-inch margin on all four sides of the page 
  • *Submit to
    • **in the email subject line: Crafting Effective Query/Cover Letter
    • **label the document Lastname_Agent Name i.e., Fannin_Fretwell-Hill
  • *The deadline is midnight on October 26, 2018. No exceptions as we have date deadlines in our contractual agreements with our professionals. Unfortunately, if you miss the deadline, your submission will not be forwarded. There are no refunds .
  • *You will receive your critiques back December 14, 2018. 



  • Refunds:
    • No credits will be issued.
    • Consultation fees are nonrefundable
  • We are not responsible for any technical difficulties that may arise during registration.