Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Faculty Spotlight: Stephanie Fretwell-Hill

Welcome to our series of blog posts spotlighting faculty at our 2023 Spring Mingle Conference.

As faculty, Stephanie Fretwell-Hill will be leading breakout sessions, participating in the quickfire portfolio review and also offering paid critiques. 

Stephanie joined Red Fox Literary in 2016. She represents authors and illustrators of literary fiction and narrative nonfiction picture books, middle grade, and young adult. Her clients include two-time Newbery Honoree Christina Soontornvat, Beth Anderson, Carolyn Crimi, R. W. Alley, and Archana Sreenivasan. The books she represents have won numerous awards, including Newbery Honor, Sibert Honor, the Jane Addams Book Award, the Youth Book Prize for Social Justice, YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction, and many, many starred reviews. Stephanie’s tastes are eclectic, but across all genres, she looks for compelling, diverse voices and strong hooks combined with literary merit and classroom value. Most of all, she loves stories and art with the perfect mix of humor and heart.

Before joining Red Fox as an agent, Stephanie worked in London for Walker Books selling foreign language rights and also as an acquiring editor at Peachtree Publishing. During her four years there, her acquisitions received such honors as YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults, Bank Street Best Children’s Books of the Year, Parents’ Choice Awards, and starred reviews from major trade magazines.

For writers and illustrators sending out queries and trying to find the right agent for their career journey, Stephanie’s breakout sessions will provide great insight:

Crafting effective query and cover letters: Before an agent will even look at your manuscript, they have to like what they see in your letter—and they have to notice your query among thousands of others. So what are agents looking for? What might cause one to sit up and notice, and what might land you quickly in the “reject” pile? We will look at pitching your story, hooking your reader, selling yourself honestly but effectively, and avoiding red flags and faux pas.

Just the right fit: How finding an agent is like finding romance: The first barrier to finding an agent is the quality of an author’s work. But even skilled writers with stellar manuscripts get turned down, often with the mysterious phrase “not a fit for me.” What does that really mean? And how do you find the right fit? Just like in love, the best author-agent relationships involve respect, communication, mutual admiration, and a little bit of chemistry. In this session, we talk about finding and querying agents, selling them on you and your work, and moving on if he or she isn’t “the one.”

For illustrators hoping to find a great match for their art style, don’t miss the chance to get your portfolio in front of an agent!

Registration for Spring Mingle is open until March 15th. We hope to see you there!