Sean McCarthy


Meet Sean

Sean McCarthy founded his own full-service literary agency in 2013 after working at Overlook Press and Sheldon Fogelman Agency. His clients include Ezra Jack Keats Book Award winner Hyewon Yum, Mark Fearing, Dana Wulfekotte, Heather Ayris Burnell, Bob McMahon, Margaret Chiu Greanias, and Junghwa Park, among others. Sean graduated from Macalester College with a degree in English-Creative Writing, and is grateful that he no longer has to spend his winters in Minnesota. He is drawn to flawed, multifaceted characters with devastatingly concise writing in YA, and character-driven stories or smartly paced mysteries and adventures in MG. In picture books, he looks more for unforgettable characters, off-beat humor, and especially clever endings. He is not currently interested in message-driven writing or query letters that pose too many questions. You can find him at and on Bluesky (, most likely complaining about the Mets.

Sessions + Events

Zoom Critiques + Reviews

Sean will offer individual meetings on Zoom the week before the conference. Dates/times TBA.

  • Manuscript Critique - PB, Chapter Book, Early Reader, MG, Nonfiction, Novel in Verse. Sean says, "I am stronger with PB to MG. I am happy to critique YA, but I rarely rep it."
  • Pitch Package Critique
  • PB Dummy Review

Advanced Picture Book Critique - Full Day Intensive

Limited seating. Participants must APPLY to attend

Everything in Its Right Place: An Overview of Agenting and Publishing - Breakout

Saturday, Sept 21st 8:30 am - 9:30 am


This presentation and Q&A will give a broad look at a literary agent’s perspective on crafting a long-term career in children’s publishing across genres, including some potential deal-breaker missteps to avoid along the way. We will talk about changing market conditions, best practices to determine viable projects, and how to read between the lines on responses and rejections.

First Look Panel

Saturday, Sept 21st 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm


Conference attendees are invited to submit an image anonymously and receive feedback from our industry professionals. Visit the First Look Submission page for details.

Pitchers Anonymous

Results Posted: Saturday, Sept 21st 5:30 pm

Location TBA

Conference attendees are invited to submit to our pitch event and find out anonymously if any faculty have invited them to submit. Learn more.

Faculty Q&A Panel

Sunday, Sept 22nd 10:45 am - 11:45 am

Knox Auditorium

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Hosted by SCBWI Carolinas