Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Fall 2020 Agent and Editor Day

Date(s) - 11/21/2020
10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Join us on Saturday, November 21st for a terrific set of writing craft and business virtual presentations by several kidlit agents and editors. 

The event will be presented on Zoom. Attendees will be emailed later with the links and instruction.  The day will wrap up with a Q&A with all four of the presenters at 3pm, CST.

Here are our presenters and their presentation topics and times:

10am CST:

Katie Heit is a picture book editor at Scholastic Books where she edits nonfiction picture books and chapter books, as well as select fiction picture book titles. She works with many nonfiction authors, including Monica Clark-Robinson, Sandra Markle, and Denise Lewis Patrick, among others. She is drawn to books that approach nonfiction in a unique, kid-friendly way and is especially on the lookout for nature and STEAM topics.

Katie’s presentation topic is:

Turning Pages: In this 1-hour presentation, Editor Katie Heit will discuss how to build drama and suspense in your picture books by using well-placed page turns.


11am, CST:

John Cusick is a VP and literary agent with Folio Literary Management, representing a diverse list of award winners and New York Times bestsellers. His focus is middle grade, young adult, and crossover fiction. He is also an author, most recently of the middle-grade novel Dimension Why: How to Save the Universe Without Really Trying (HarperCollins). He tweets at @johnmcusick and discusses the craft and business of writing on YouTube at His submission guidelines are available on Publishers Marketplace:

John’s presentation topic is:

The Agent: What They Do, How They Think, and How to Get One. This one-hour presentation goes into detail about how to approach agents through different mediums (including different social media platforms, with dos and dots, etc), what to ask an agent who’s offering on your work, and how to trouble shoot problems with an agent, etc.


1:00pm, CST:

Known as the first literary agent to represent marginalized creators in the digital publishing space, Saritza Hernandez is a self-proclaimed geek with a passion for all things Star Wars, Star Trek, and tabletop gaming. Her love of great storytelling is what has driven her work in the publishing industry for the past 17 years and her passion for amplifying queer and BIPOC voices is what continues to drive her today. An avid romance and science-fiction reader, and strong advocate of the LGBTQ+ community, she enjoys fresh voices in YA, MG, and adult genre fiction.

A complete list of genres she accepts:

Saritza’s presentation topic is:

The Author’s Toolkit: A one-hour presentation exploring resources all aspiring Kidlit writers can benefit from.


2pm, CST:

A Literary Agent for Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency, Thao Le handles her own client list as well as the agency’s financials and some select contracts. She joined the agency in 2011 and represents authors of adult fiction and children’s literature.

Thao’s children literature interests include young adult fiction, middle-grade fiction, and picture books. Thao is seeking young adult and middle-grade contemporary fiction that offers authentic, unique and emotional narratives. She is particularly interested in stories that focus on families and friendships from the point of view of a diverse protagonist. Thao also enjoys narratives that feature characters that are passionate about arts, sports, STEM, activism, and geeky fandoms. She also enjoys reading stories that are based on mythologies, magic, and fairy tales. With regards to children’s picture books, Thao is particularly looking for author/illustrators, whose work is both emotive and vivid. She enjoys character driven, progressive narratives that end with a twist.

Thao’s presentation topic is:

How to Write a “Good” Bad Guy: An agent’s perspective and tips on how to write and create a villain or antagonist character who is believable, well developed, and compelling.


3pm, CST: An Editor and Agent Panel Q&A with all of our presenters


All agents and editors will be open to submissions from event attendees in the month following the event.

For written critiques, please submit no more than one picture book manuscript or up to 10 pages of a novel or longer manuscript no later than November 13th. Send to

This event will be recorded and available to view for two weeks after the event to those who register before November 21st.

***We do have three scholarships available, two for BIPOC creators (Black or Indigenous people of color) and one that is for a member who identifies with any other marginalized group, including but not limited to LGBTQ+, neurodiverse, and disabled creators. Please write to Monica Clark-Robinson at if you’d like to be considered for either of these.