A strong main character is at the heart of good storytelling. How the character is portrayed on the page is the voice, and what the character does is the plot—but it all comes back to character. How can you be sure you’re starting your story with the strongest characterization? Together, we’ll look at expert examples and discover tools for sharpening your characterizations to make sure you always have a strong, eye-catching opening.
Chelsea Eberly is the Director of Greenhouse Literary Agency and represents award-winning and New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors of middle grade, young adult, graphic novels, and women’s fiction, as well as illustrators who write picture books. As a former Senior Editor at Random House, she edited the Newbery Medal winning When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller as well as numerous New York Times bestsellers by Tamora Pierce, Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Sarah J. Maas, Mark Siegel, and Kim Johnson to name only a few. She has a deep understanding of how publishers think and is an expert advocate for her clients. Chelsea is also a Publishers Weekly Star Watch Honoree, which recognizes “the rising stars of the US publishing industry.” Chelsea regularly presents at writing conferences across the country and enjoys teaching craft. Follow her on X at @chelseberly and Bluesky at @chelseaeberly.bsky.social and discover more about her taste and see her latest deals on her Publishers Marketplace page.
Voice: It’s what makes a reader connect with a piece of writing from the very first sentence, regardless of your characters and plot—and it’s how your personality, or that of your narrator, comes through on the page. This presentation will be centered around the sometimes elusive quality that differentiates a good story from a great one. It will give you some tools to identify your individual writing voice and ways to to hone it, thereby make your writing stand out from the pack.
Prior to becoming a literary agent, Kristin moved from Michigan to New York to begin her career in publishing at Penguin Random House and rose to become a senior editor at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. She has edited children’s book legend Tomie dePaola; New York Times bestselling authors like Stuart Gibbs (Spy School) and US soccer star Alex Morgan (The Kicks); and award-winning creators including Daniel Miyares (Float), Jessica Lawson (Nooks & Crannies), and Heather Vogel Frederick (The Mother-Daughter Book Club). She also edited bestselling I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy and Elizabeth Baddeley. She loves guiding authors and illustrators toward their best work and advocating for them in service of building successful, sustainable artistic careers.
For all submissions, format your work in 12 point font, with one-inch margins, and double spacing. For MG/YA, send up to 10 pages of your manuscript, plus a one-page, single-spaced synopsis. (US Letter paper size-Include synopsis in the same document; please don’t send two documents.) ⇒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: Ostby_Strocchia_PURPLE CARROTS ⇒Then send your file to Kristen at firstname.lastname@example.org. The subject should read: Webinar Faculty Last Name_Your Last Name_TITLE OF MANUSCRIPT (same as saved file name). Submission deadline: Sunday, January 28, 2024. We anticipate critiques to be returned on or about Tuesday, April 2, 2024.
A limited number of 10-minute pitch spaces are available with each agent on Thursday, February 15 beginning at 7PM ET. If interested in participating, you must register for this add-on when you register for this event. Please, make sure that you are available on the date and time listed. The pitch meetings are live and cannot be rescheduled. 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 the day before the Pitch Parlor assigning you your specific Pitch time slot. No refunds or makeups if you miss your time or are late.
A limited number of 15-minute career consultations are available with each agent on Wednesday, March 6 beginning at 7PM ET. If interested in participating, you must register for this add-on when you register for this event. Please, make sure that you are available on the date and time listed. The career consultation meetings are live and cannot be rescheduled. You should have a brief list of prepared questions, talking points or 1-2 sentence loglines that you would like to talk about during your consultation. Please be mindful to leave time for the faculty member to provide feedback. Career Consultations are one-on one-via Zoom. You’ll receive an email the day before the Career Consultation assigning you your specific Consultation time slot. No refunds or makeups if you miss your time or are late.
If you registered for JUST THE WEBINARS, you will see TWO SEPARATE events in your My Events feed each named for the respective webinar in the series. Click on MEETING INFO to find the Zoom links. However, the Zoom links WILL ALSO BE EMAILED to all participants on the morning of each webinar. If you registered for an ADD-ON pitch or career consultation, there will be a THIRD EVENT registration titled Meet the Agency: Choose an optional add-on (additional registration fees apply to each). Click on MEETING INFO for the Zoom link for that event. However, these Zoom links WILL ALSO BE EMAILED to registered participants on the morning of each add-on event.