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Picture Book First Pages Workshop

Real Agent Feedback on Actual Picture Book First Pages

Have you ever wanted to hide inside an agent's brain while she was reading picture book submissions? Would you love to know:

  • What kind of first sentence hooks her?
  • What's working in the manuscript? What still needs work?
  • Would she want to read more? Why or why not?
  • What revision suggestions she would make?

Now you can!

Agent Deborah Warren, owner of East-West Literary, and Author Erin Dealey (represented by Deborah and a second reader for the agency) join 12 x 12 to critique SEVENTEEN picture book first pages submitted by members.

In this webinar, you will get an inside perspective on how agents read manuscripts to evaluate whether or not they want to offer representation. You will learn:

  • the importance of titles;
  • how to incorporate pacing to create tension;
  • the critical role of illustrations in picture books;
  • how to ramp up your story arc;
  • why (every) word choice matters;
  • and more!

This course is a video presentation only, due to the anonymity of the authors' submissions.


Your Instructor


Deborah Warren, Erin Dealey
Deborah Warren, Erin Dealey

East/West Literary Agency, Inc. is, purposely, a boutique agency, to facilitate hands-on, personalized service and attention to our authors and their books. E/W represents a wide range of #1 NYT, #1 PW, IndieBound, USA Today, WSJ, and Amazon best-selling and best-illustrated books, Newbery, Coretta Scott King, Pura Belpre and Geisel medalists, as well as Andre Norton, Gelett Burgess, Children’s Choice, Parents’ Choice, Prism, Audie, Green Earth and Crystal Kite award-winners and nominees.

Deborah Warren founded E/W in 2000, after 17 years at Harcourt, and has a strong background in sales and marketing. She’s a strategist, incorporating long-term goals to help E/W clients not only grow a career, but to flourish within that career. With over 35 years’ of experience in the publishing industry, and over 16 years at the helm of the Agency, Deborah not only represents authors and illustrators of picture books including Jim Averbeck (One Word for Sophia), Anna Dewdney (of the Llama Llama franchise), Kimberly and James Dean (of the Pete the Cat franchise), Gianna Marino (Night Animals) and Antoinette Portis (Best Frints in the Whole Universe), she represents authors and illustrators—both debut and established--in the board book, concept, novelty, multicultural, non-fiction, middle-grade and young adult markets.

Deborah’s looking to fall in love with character-driven stories with heart, enhanced by a hook, told in a unique, fresh or distinctive way. Her sweet spots: short, quirky picture books and smartly layered, memorable and insightful MG and YA fiction. And she LOVES finding debut talent – in fact, it’s a bit of a specialty for the Agency.

As an example, we're thrilled to have helped launch and nourish (among others) the careers of authors Kwame Alexander, whose debut MG, The Crossover (HMM) was awarded the 2015 Newbery Medal and the 2015 Coretta Scott King Honor; Dave Butler, whose debut MG, The Kidnap Plot, the first in a trilogy, has recently been released by Knopf/RH; NYT-bestselling Alethea Kontis, and her debut YA Fantasy novels launched by the YALSA nominated and Gelette Burgess Award winner Enchanted; and author/illustrator Sarah Aspinall, whose debut picture book, Penguins Love Colors, is slated for publication from Blue Sky Press/Scholastic, along with the companion volume, Penguins Love Their ABC’s.

Erin Dealey is a children's author of many genres, from board books to YA, including DECK THE WALLS~a kids’-eye view of the holidays, GOLDIE LOCKS HAS CHICKEN POX, and LITTLE BO PEEP CAN’T GET TO SLEEP. Among Dealey's forthcoming 2017-18 titles are BABIES COME FROM AIRPORTS (adoption/Gotcha Day), A KINDERGARTEN ALPHABET, and PETER EASTER FROG.

Her energetic school visits featuring her books and her YouTube Writer’s Rap have elevated her to “rock-star status” at elementary and middle schools everywhere--30+ events per year since 2002. (After one such visit, two 5th grade boys darted into the library, told Dealey, “You’re funnier than Will Smith!” and dashed away.)

OH; and talk about drama! Erin Dealey has been K-12 Theater and English teacher “for decades,” and heads the Theater Department of Sugarloaf Fine Arts Camp each summer.

Author, actor, teacher, and motivational speaker, Erin has appeared on CBS/KOVR’s Daybreak, Good Day Sacramento, PBS’ Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators, PBS Young Writers and Illustrators contest (keynote, judge, writing workshops) and more. As a member of the Area 3 Writing Project (University of California at Davis), she leads language arts workshops for teachers and students of all ages, including California School Library Association, California Reading Association, university/student teacher training programs, and SCBWI. She was honored with the 2011 International Reading Association Celebrate Literacy award. For full bio and more riveting details see http://www.erindealey.com .

Erin is represented by Deborah Warren of East-West Literary Agency, and serves as a second reader of submissions for the agency.


Class Curriculum


  First Section
Available in days
days after you enroll

Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

Get started now!