Crash Course in Children’s Publishing: Everything You Need to Know (Online Only) 2020

February 17 - April 13, 2020

This course is currently in progress but closed to new registrants, but we plan to offer it again in the future.  If you’d like to be on the wait list for notice of when that course becomes available, add your name to the waiting list.

 Join Us To:

Understand how the children’s book publishing industry works, including writing, revising, submitting, publishing, and marketing a book for children, teens, or young adults. Learn details about the editorial development process, including what to do once you have a finished book. All of this will be covered in a nine-week online course, plus a 1:1 consultation with faculty after the course to discuss your specific work and goals.

The course is divided into 9 sessions:
Crash Course

  • Session 1: Introduction to the Crash Course
  • Session 2: Books, Publishers, Markets and More
  • Session 3: Your Manuscript and What Happens Next
  • Session 4: Getting Started as a Professional
  • Session 5: Digging into the Work plus Creative Exercises
  • Session 6: Researching and Submitting
  • Session 7: Getting the Deal
  • Session 8: After the Deal: The Editing and Publishing Process
  • Session 9: Where Do We Go From Here?

Please note: our online courses use the Thinkific platform, so when you click to register, you’ll land on the Thinkific site and you’ll register there.

What You’ll Learn:

This is a workshop for serious beginners: learn all you need to know about the business of publishing children’s books! You will:

  • Explore genres of books, types of publishers, types of markets; fiction vs. nonfiction, flat fee vs. royalties, school & libraries.
  • Find out how to get help before you submit: books, conferences, critique groups, beta readers, children.
  • Use writing exercises to get to know your characters and develop your stories.
  • Understand submissions rules and practices: which mistakes to avoid.
  • Find out how to get started as a professional and find your community.
  • Learn about how publishers sign up manuscripts and how to make sense of contracts.
  • Discover the publishing process: developmental editing, line-editing, copyediting and proofreading, design & illustration, production, marketing & distribution.

Attend If:

  • You are a serious beginner. Are you tired of exhaustive online searches, hard-to-sift-through information, or lack of practical advice? This course is a great way to get a jump start on your goals.
  • You want to write for children but don’t know how to get started. Our goal is to demystify children’s publishing and answer ALL of your questions about the process.
  • You’ve written a story for children but have no idea about how to submit it to publishers. This course will give you best practices for revising and submitting your work.
  • You have sold some stories to children’s magazines and would now like to learn more about the book publishing process. Perfect! We’ll give you a behind-the-scenes look at all that goes on, from submission to publication.


The course is divided up into 9 sessions, each with a different topic. Here are the session topics and dates:

February 17, Session 1: Introduction to the Crash Course (Live)

  • Faculty introductions
  • Chapter-by-chapter review
  • How to use the Thinkific platform
  • Writer and Illustrator introductions, and goal setting

February 24, Session 2: Books, Publishers, Markets and More

  • Types and genres in the children’s book industry
  • Types of publishers, and who’s who
  • Today’s children’s book market
  • Additional resources, including Matthew Winner’s “Writers Are Readers” and more!

March 2, Session 3: Your Manuscript and What Happens Next

  • Building your industry knowledge
  • SCBWI, critique groups, & kids
  • Revision
  • Additional resources, including the newly announced ALA and YALSA award winning book list, and more!

March 9, Session 4: Getting Started as a Professional

  • Getting started as a writer
  • Finding community, caring for yourself as a creative, and dedicating time to your craft
  • Additional resources, including “You’re Never Too Old to Write” and more!

March 16, Session 5: Digging into the Work

  • Knowing Your Characters Creative Exercises
    • Character Backstory
    • Little Known Facts
    • Character voice
    • Character interview
    • Place as character
  • Further writing exercises
  • Additional resources, including “Kidlit Illustrators Share Tips and Tricks,” and more!

March 23, Session 6: Researching and Submitting

  • Publishers and Editors
  • Agents & What They Do
  • Submissions
  • Additional resources including, “Query Writing is All About the Pitch” and more!

March 30, Session 7: Getting the Deal

  • Acquisitions
  • The Contract
  • Understanding terms and royalties
  • What to WATCH OUT for
  • Additional resources including “Believing After 10 Rejections” and more!

April 6, Session 8: After the Deal: The Editing and Publishing Process

  • Developmental editing, line-editing, copyediting and proofreading.
  • Design and illustration
  • Production
  • Marketing
  • Distribution
  • The “End”
  • Additional resources including a video highlighting self-publishing in today’s market, and more!

April 13, Session 9: Where Do We Go From Here? (Live)

  • Questions you still have
  • Evaluating your goals and next steps of action
  • Preparing for individual consultations

After the online sessions:

  • Book your 1:1 consultation with faculty.


Who should attend? Watch the video.
Into the Woods podcast talks with Harold Underdown about the online Crash Course
7 Quick Tips for Beginning Writers
How to Start Revising That First Draft
Getting Out of the Slush Pile
Questions to ask BEFORE you submit your story or art

Faculty & Special Guests

Harold Underdown

Harold is an independent children’s book editor and consultant who works with authors and publishers on manuscripts, books, and strategy.…
Learn more