Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 13, 2014

Homework Help Tip – Additional First Page Critiquer for April


This month everyone who submits a First Page for critique will have double the opportunity to get their page critiqued, since we have two Guest Critiquers for April.

I announced Agent SAMANTHA BREMEKAMP from the Corvisiero Literary Agency on Free Fall Friday’s post and today I want everyone to know that JENNA POCIUS from Bloomsbury has agreed to read four first pages, too.

Jenna’s information is below. Also, I have listed the Guest for May and June and a number of agents and editors who have been Guest Critiquers in the past. Why am I doing this? Well, here’s my tip:

All these editors and agents will be attending this years New Jersey SCBWI Conference at the end of June. I have provided the link to their critiques next to their name, so you can read about them and go over how they think. It might help you decide on whether you should register for the conference and it definitely will help you decide if you would like a critique with one of them if you go.

THE CONFERENCE is 60% FULL in only one week. Here is the link:

If you have already signed up for the conference, it will help you decide who you would like to make sure you meet while you are there.

Even if you can’t attend, this post will give you good information on whether any of the editor/agents are a good fit for your manuscript. Hope you find it helpful.

Jenna PociusJENNA POCIUS, Assistant Editor, Bloomsbury – GUEST CRITIQUER APRIL 2014

Jenna Pocius is an Assistant Editor at Bloomsbury who works on everything from picture books to YA. Before joining Bloomsbury, she worked for Abrams BFYR. She has edited numerous books including Dragon’s Extraordinary Egg by Debi Gliori, A Soldier’s Secret by Marissa Moss, and the upcoming Mad Scientist Academy series by Matthew McElligott. She’s most interested in YA with strong voice and emotional depth, and she is particularly interested in contemporary realistic fiction, magic realism, and well-crafted fantasy and science fiction with a contemporary voice. She’s interested in middle grade that is quirky and character-driven, particularly girl-centered stories. And she loves picture books that are poignant and sweet or humorously clever. She is also a sucker for dog stories.

samanthafor litagency bioSAMANTHA BREMEKAMP, Junior Agent, Corvisiero Literary Agency – GUEST CRITIQUER APRIL 2014

Samantha Bremekamp started her career in publishing in 2008, and quickly realized that she preferred working directly with authors from the other side of the industry. She runs critique groups and writing groups for fun, as she also loves to write and help others to fulfill their writing ambitions. She is fully aware of how hard of an industry it really is in this day and age. Her favorite writing is children’s, middle grade, young adult, and new adult. There is something so pure about each building block of life these book groups represent. Although there may be a difference between a three year old and a 33 year old, maybe, Samantha finds that all of life’s challenges in these age groups really show the potential for amazing growth in a character. Samantha’s background is in English literature, communications, and Spanish. She really thinks that if a writer is confident and believes in their work, their work will show that without having to showboat to prove it via a pitch. Samantha loves reading Children’s, MG, YA, and NA fiction. She is open to any genre within those age groups, but prefers speculative fiction, mystery, and quirky romance.

quinlanQUINLAN LEE, Agent, Adams LiteraryGUEST CRITIQUER MAY 2014

Quinlan Lee is an agent and a published author of numerous books that help young readers learn to read and love reading. She has been a part of the Adams Literary team since 2008, representing clients in all genres from picture books to YA. She enjoys meeting others who share her love of children’s literature and is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and a founding board member of the Charlotte Chapter of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA). Quinlan graduated from Tulane University and has lived all over the United States—from the mountains of Western Colorado to the Garden District of New Orleans to downtown Chicago—and for the past 14 years she’s been happily settled in North Carolina.

Sarah-Bradford-Lit-photoSARAH LaPOLLA, Literary Agent, Bradford Literary GUEST CRITIQUER JUNE 2014

Sarah LaPolla joined Bradford Literary Agency in May 2013. Prior to joining the team, Sarah worked for five years in the foreign rights department at Curtis Brown, Ltd., and became an associate agent there in 2010. She received her MFA in Creative Writing (Nonfiction) from The New School in 2008 and has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Ithaca College. Sarah represents YA and adult fiction. On the adult side, she is looking for literary fiction, science fiction, magical realism, dark/psychological mystery, and upmarket commercial and/or women’s fiction. For YA, she is interested in contemporary/realistic fiction that doesn’t shy away from the darker side of adolescence. YA sci-fi, horror, mystery, and magical realism are also welcome; and she would love to find a modern Judy Blume for the MG market. No matter what genre,
Sarah is drawn to layered/strong characters, engaging narrators, and a story that’s impossible to put down.

susan-dobinickSUSAN DOBINICK, Assistant Editor, Farrar Straus Giroux – GUEST CRITIQUER MARCH

Susan Dobinick is an associate editor at Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers. Among other books, she has edited SPIRIT’S KEY, a middle grade magical realism novel about a girl who sees the ghost of her pet dog and solves a mystery on a small southern island, and DEAR YETI, a picture book about two little boy hikers who go searching for the mythical creature. She is looking for quirky but heartfelt picture books, design-centered picture books, heartfelt middle grade, sophisticated YA, and mysteries and ghost stories for all ages. In nonfiction, she likes books with feminist, social justice, and civil rights themes.

allisonmooreALLISON MOORE, Assistant Editor, Little, Brown & Co. – GUEST CRITIQUER FEBRUARY

Allison Moore is an assistant editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. She works on a range of titles including picture books by Todd Parr, Marc Brown, Andrea and Brian Pinkney, Sujean Rim, Nancy Tafuri, Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, and Bob Staake; leveled readers; novelty books by Sandra Magsamen and Matthew Reinhart; and novels by Jewell Parker Rhodes, Sherri Winston, and Karen Healey. Allison is particularly interested in smart picture books that can be appreciated by all ages; unique and memorable illustration styles; early readers with a strong voice; inventive novelty ideas; middle grade stories with interesting settings; and YA novels that encourage readers to consider new points of view. Before working at Little, Brown, she interned at Bloomsbury and Walker Books for Young Readers, Barefoot Books, the Kneerim & Williams literary agency, and Simon & Schuster UK; worked at a bookstore and at her hometown library; and attended the Columbia Publishing Course. Originally from Fair Lawn, NJ, Allison graduated from Boston University and now lives in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter @allisonm610.

mccarthysmall200SEAN McCARTHY, Literary Agent, Sean McCarthy Literary Agency – GUEST CRITIQUER JANUARY 2014

Sean McCarthy began his publishing career as an editorial intern at Overlook Press before moving to the Sheldon Fogelman Agency. He worked as the submissions coordinator and permissions manager before becoming a full-time literary agent. In 2013, he founded his own literary agency. He works on children’s books for all ages, and is actively looking to build his client list. His clients include Zachariah O’Hora, Hyewon Yum, Mark Fearing, Jamie Swenson, Andrea Offermann, Dasha Tolstikova, and Judith Robbins Rose. 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 boy-friendly mysteries or 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 high fantasy, message-driven stories, or query letters that pose too many questions.

meredith-mundy-headshotsmallMEREDITH MUNDY, Executive Editor, Sterling Publishing – GUEST CRITIQUER APRIL 2013

Meredith Mundy, Executive Editor at Sterling Children’s Books, is nuts about character-centered picture books (recent projects include BROWNIE GROUNDHOG AND THE WINTRY SURPRISE by Susan
Blackaby, RUFUS GOES TO SCHOOL by Kim Griswell, PUDDLE PUG by Kim Norman, and GOODNIGHT SONGS by Margaret Wise Brown), but she is also seeking everything from funny, original board books to unforgettable middle grade novels to gripping YA fiction. (No vampires, angels, werewolves, or dystopian plots, please.) While she enjoys editing lively nonfiction, she wouldn’t be the
right editor for poetry collections or a project geared primarily toward the school and library market.

rachel orr new_headshot1croppedRACHEL ORR, Literary Agent, Prospect Agency – GUEST CRITIQUER FEBRUARY 2013

RACHEL ORR is celebrating her seventh year at Prospect Agency. She previously worked for eight
rewarding years at HarperCollins Children’s Books, and now uses those editorial skills to help prepare her clients’ work for submission. Her clients include a wide-range of picture-book authors, illustrators, and middle-grade/YA novelists, including A.C.E. Bauer (GIL MARSH), Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen (DUCK, DUCK, MOOSE), Cori Doerrfeld (BARNYARD BABY) and Leeza Hernandez (NEVER PLAY MUSIC RIGHT NEXT TO THE ZOO). Rachel lives in Hoboken, New Jersey, with her husband and two young children. She has no spare time—-but, if she did, she would spend it dancing, running and reading, of course.

PAULA SADLER, Assistant Editor, Random House – GUEST CRITIQUER OCTOBER 2012

Paula Sadler is an Assistant Editor at Random House Books for Young Readers. She joined the group in 2012 after three wonderful years at Putnam Children’s. At Random House, Paula currently edits the Totally True Adventures nonfiction chapter book series and the Ballpark Mysteries, as well as the middle grade Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre. At the moment, Paula is looking for narrative nonfiction writers and chapter book series with a strong hook. In middle grade, humor—whether wry or madcap, nostalgic or plucky—is the key to Paula’s heart. Her wish list includes contemporary escapades with a nerdy twist (think Origami Yoda and The Wednesday Wars), mysteries with a spunky wit (like the Enola Holmes mysteries), and epic adventures with a big heart (like How to Train Your Dragon and The True Meaning of Smekday). In books and in real life, she’s a sucker for strong friendships, pesky siblings, scrappy underdogs, colorful sidekicks, a healthy serving of trouble, and a great big dollop of mischief.

SUSAN HAWK, Literary Agent, The Bent Agency – GUEST CRITIQUER JULY 2012

Susan Hawk is a Literary Agent at The Bent Agency, representing middle grade, YA, picture books, and non-fiction for kids. Projects she represents share powerful and original writing, strong story-telling and a distinctive, sometimes off-kilter voice. In middle-grade and YA, she’s looking for unforgettable characters, rich world-building, and she’s a sucker for bittersweet; bonus points for something that makes her laugh out loud. In picture books, she’s looking particularly for author-illustrators, succinct but expressive texts, and indelible characters. Her favorite projects live at the intersection of literary and commercial. Before
agenting, she spent fifteen years in children’s book marketing at Penguin, Henry Holt and North-South Books; she also worked in Editorial at Dutton Children’s Books, and as a children’s librarian and bookseller. @susanhawk


Liza Fleissig, with her partner Ginger Harris-Dontzin, opened the Liza Royce Agency (LRA) in early 2011. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business with a BSE in Finance, and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law with a JD, Liza brings 20 years of litigation and negotiating experience to the field. On the children’s side of publishing, being a mother to a preschooler girl and a pre-teen boy, she is interested in everything from picture books to middle grade and young adult.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Kathy – I can’t find anything that explains how your “First Page Critique” works. thanks


    • Beth,

      The information is listed every Friday. Here is the link: scroll down to the bottom of the post.



      • I found the submission info but was wondering – how many are chosen? once a month? posted online? other pertinent info? Thanks!


      • Every month four first pages get picked and sent in for critique. Then the four are posted with their critiques. This month, I have an editor and an agent, so their will be eight first pages critiqued.


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