Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Meet Our 2019 Conference Faculty: Sean McCarthy

Meet the faculty of the 2019 Austin SCBWI Writers & Illustrators Working Conference. We’ve asked all our faculty members to answer 4 quick questions so we can get to know them better.

Sean McCarthy, Agent at Sean McCarthy Literary Agency

Sean McCarthy founded his own full-service literary agency in 2013. He began his publishing career as an editorial intern at Overlook Press and then worked at the Sheldon Fogelman Agency as the submissions coordinator and permissions manager before becoming a full-time literary agent. His clients include New York Times Bestseller Zachariah OHora, Hyewon Yum, Mark Fearing, Dana Wulfekotte, Heather Ayris Burnell, and Kurt Cyrus, among others. 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.

Sean McCarthy
Sean McCarthy

What attracted you to children’s books?

I worked in the children’s section of a bookstore in high school, and although I was happy just being around so many books, I quickly fell in love with children’s books. There’s something special and magical in playing a small part in creating something that can literally change a child’s life.

What’s the best part of your job?

I love everything about my job, but I will always be excited about working on debut books – there’s nothing like being able to tell a client that their lifelong dream is coming true.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Being patient with editors to respond to submissions (and being mindful that I can also be slow when authors and illustrators submit to me!).

What’s the best piece of advice you were given that helped drive your career?

Focus on the decisions and outcomes that you can control, and that it’s better to be lucky than good.

Come see Sean McCarthy at the 2019 Austin SCBWI conference, May 18-19, 2019