Agents & Editors Offering Pitches/Critiques

(See How-To Pitch Details below Agent/Editor bios. You will also find the Written Critique Details & Submission form after the bios.)


Stephen Barr, Senior Agent/Writers House

Stephen will hear pitches in the following genres: picture books, chapter books, middle grade, young adult, and graphic novels but no illustration portfolios. >>> Stephen Barr is a senior literary agent at Writers House, where he started out as an intern in the winter of 2008 after graduating from UCLA with a degree in something. He represents a broad stripe of authors across all genres, with a steady hankering for audacious YA, intricate picture books, mysteries that handcuff humor and tragedy to the same radiator, world-bending middle grade, fearless reportage, and really any literary or commercial fiction that tackles heavy themes with a light touch. He’s also the author of The Upside Down Hat, illustrated by Gracey Zhang, which was a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2022, and the owner of a drum kit he built in his basement that he’s hoping his neighbors will somehow not notice. He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, son, daughter, and books.

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Chad W. Beckerman, Agent/CAT Agency

Chad will hear pitches in the following genres: picture book, nonfiction and illustration portfolios. >>> Chad W. Beckerman brings over 20 years of illustration and design experience to the CAT Agency. After studying illustration as an undergrad at RISD, Beckerman went on to be a designer at Scholastic, a senior designer at Greenwillow Book, and then became the creative director at Abrams Kids and Comic Arts, where he spent 13 years overseeing the design of 250 books a year—from picture books to novels. Beckerman is behind the aesthetic for over 40 New York Times bestselling and award-winning books. He represents illustrators and author-illustrators from all over the globe, who create artworks for all ages and genres. In addition to representing illustrators, Beckerman offers packaging of picture books, graphic novels and middle grade series books through his design studio.

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Nick Thomas, Executive Editor/Levine Querido

Nick will hear pitches in the following genres: middle grade, young adult and nonfiction. >>> Nick Thomas is Executive Editor at Levine Querido in the U.S.A. He has previously held roles at Bloomsbury, Chicken House, David Fickling Books, and Arthur A. Levine Books. Nick works on books of all kinds, including picture books, novels, graphic novels, and nonfiction. Among the books he has edited are Newbery and Pura Belpré-winning The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera; Newbery Honor-winning A Snake Falls to Earth and Locus Award Winner Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger; Printz Honor-winning Apple (Skin to the Core) by Eric Gansworth; and Walter Award-winning Man Made Monsters by Andrea L. Rogers. *** (Note: Levine Querido was founded by Art Levine in April 2019, after a 23-year tenure as the President and Publisher of Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic. Check NEWS (link below) for a list of award-winning books and starred reviewed books by this publisher.)

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Melissa Manlove, Executive Editor/Chronicle Books

Melissa will do only written critiques which will be handed out on Writers Day 9/9/23 at the Camarillo Library. (There will be no in-person meeting.) >>> Melissa Manlove is an Executive Editor at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. She has been with Chronicle for 19 years. Her acquisitions encompass picture books, chapter books, nonfiction, graphic novels and novels in verse. When acquiring, she looks for fresh takes on familiar topics as well as the new and unusual. An effective approach and strong, graceful writing are important to her. She has 22 years of bookselling experience. ***IF YOU RESERVED A CRITIQUE, PLEASE SEE THE RELATED FAQs & GET THE SUBMISSION FORM BELOW.***


LIVE PITCH ADD-ON Option: Our Writers Day Pitchfest takes place on Sunday, September 10 via Zoom. Cost is $50. Limit 1 Pitch (or 1 Written Critique). We have a limited supply of live pitch slots available so plan to register early. You will have a 10-minute time slot with your chosen faculty member (see participating Agents and Editors above). You should have a prepared 3-4 minute oral pitch (Note: screen sharing will be allowed only for illustrators pitching their portfolios OR for Author/Illustrators pitching a Picture Book dummy). Please allow the rest of the time for the faculty member to provide feedback. Pitches are one-on one-via Zoom. You’ll receive an email two weeks before the Pitchfest assigning you your specific Pitch time slot. No refunds or makeups if you miss your time or are late.

WRITTEN CRITIQUE ADD-ON OPTION: Cost is $55. Limit 1 Written Critique (or 1 live Pitch). You must choose the Written Critique option and pay for it at the time of registration. You cannot add this on later. We have very few written critiques available so plan to register early. Only Melissa Manlove is doing written critiques. See bottom of this web page to access the Critique submission form. Manuscript submissions for the critique are sent to us via postal mail and must be postmarked no later than August 1. Do not wait until the last day to ask questions. Written critiques will be distributed at the end of the day at our in-person 9/9/23 Writers Day event at the Camarillo Library. Critiques are written only and do NOT include any in-person meeting.

How do I add a Pitch or Written Critique to my conference registration?

*Writers Day add-ons (including live Pitches and Written Critiques) are available during the initial registration process. During that process you will have the opportunity to register/pay for available live Pitch or Written Critique options. 

*Note that when each Agent or Editor's supply of Pitches or Written Critiques is exhausted, you will see a FULL icon by his/her name.

*If the agent/editor you prefer still has availability showing--and you have already registered for the conference--please reach out to Paulina Hill/ARA asap and she will see if she can help add this on for you.

Can I get on a Waitlist for a Pitch or a Written Critique if there weren't any available when I registered?

*We start negotiating early with Agents and Editors to see if we can generate a reasonable number of live Pitches and Written Critiques for our members. However, this activity is time-consuming for Agents/Editors so supply is limited by its very nature.

*Due to the competitive nature of this optional add-on, we provide SCBWI premium members an Early Bird opportunity to register for these--on a first come first serve basis--and then we open remaining slots to non-SBWI members during the regular registration period.

*We are not able to maintain manual waitlists, and it is actual very rare for someone to cancel out of a live Pitch or Written Critique once they purchase it.

What is your refund policy regarding Pitches or Critiques?

*Cancellations prior to August 20 will receive a refund minus a $25 handling fee with the exception of refunds on Written Critiques—no refunds on Written Critiques will be offered (including registration) after August 1.

*To request a refund within the above parameters, please email Rebecca-Langston George/RA at and copy Paulina Hill/ARA at by the stated deadline.

What happens if I don't make my live Pitch? or miss my Written Critique deadline?

*Out of courtesy to the Agent or Editor, if you miss your Pitchfest time there will be no refund and no makeup date.

*Similarly, if you miss your submission deadline for your Written Critique, there will be no refund nor extended deadline.

How do I get my Zoom link for my pitch?

The Zoom access information for the Sunday 9/10/23 Pitchfest will be emailed to you approximately two weeks before it takes place.

What if I have more questions?

Do not wait until the last minute to ask. Please email Paulina Hill/ARA at with your questions. Or email Jaime Zollars for Illustrators' questions (

Access the submission form below for your Written Critique manuscript submission.

Follow instructions on the Critique form to mail in your manuscript to our CenCal coordinator. All manuscripts will be collected and forwarded to the reviewing Editor in one bundle.

(Note that you do NOT need a form for a pitch as your pitch will be verbally presented during the live 9/10/23 Zoom Pitchfest.)