Crash Course in Children’s Publishing: Everything You Need to Know – Online Course 2020

October 7 - December 9, 2020

Online Course Info:

This is a ten-week online course featuring live sessions with faculty, pre-recorded lectures, writing exercises, community interaction, goal-setting and a 1:1 consultation with faculty.

You can watch some previews of the course here:
Ta-DAA! Acquisition!
Design & Illustration
More Kinds of Picture Books

Join Us Online 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 this ten-week online course, plus you’ll have a 1:1 consultation with faculty after the course to discuss your specific work and goals.

The course is divided into 10 sessions:
Crash Course

  • Session 1: Introduction to the Crash Course
  • Session 2: Books, Publishers, Markets and More
  • Session 3: Getting Started with Your Story
  • Session 4: Getting Started as a Professional
  • Session 5: Digging into Character
  • Session 6: Research, Submission, Query Letters
  • Session 7: Getting the Deal
  • Session 8: Digging Into Illustration
  • Session 9: What Comes After: The Editing and Publishing Process
  • Session 10: Where Do We Go From Here?

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.
  • You’re ready to devote some time to learn and practice. This course offers long-term support over 9 weeks and allows you to learn at your own pace.

Preliminary Agenda

The course is divided up into 10 sessions, each with a different topic. Here are the session topics and dates (all times are Eastern):

Week 1: Introduction to the Crash Course
October 7
LIVE Zoom session, 8 pm
Introductions, overview, goal setting.

October 8
LIVE Zoom Office Hour, 11 am

Week 2: Books, Publishers, Markets and More
October 14
Pre-recorded content released

  • 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!

October 15
LIVE Zoom Office Hour, 11 am

Week 3: Getting Started with Your Story
October 21
LIVE Zoom session, 8 pm
Pre-recorded content released

  • Reading current books, and how to do it
  • Building your industry knowledge
  • Getting feedback and revising
  • Additional resources, including review sources, how-to books, and more!

October 22
LIVE Zoom Office Hour, 11 am

Week 4: Getting Started as a Professional
October 28
Pre-recorded content released

  • 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!

October 29
LIVE Zoom Office Hour, 11 am

Week 5: Digging Into Character
November 4
LIVE Zoom session, 8 pm

  • Knowing your characters: creative exercises
  • Character backstory
  • Little known facts
  • Character voice
  • Character interview
  • Place as character

November 5
LIVE Zoom Office Hour, 11 am

Week 6: Research, Submission, Query Letters
November 11
LIVE Zoom session, 8 pm
Pre-recorded content released

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

November 12
LIVE Zoom Office Hour, 11 am

Week 7: Getting the Deal
November 18
LIVE Zoom session, 8 pm
Pre-recorded content released

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

November 19
LIVE Zoom Office Hour, 11 am

Week 8: Digging Into Illustration
November 25
Pre-recorded content released

Week 9: What Comes After: The Editing and Publishing Process
December 2
Pre-recorded content released

  • 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!

December 3
LIVE Zoom Office Hour, 11 am

Week 10: Where Do We Go From Here?
December 9
LIVE Zoom final session, 8 pm

  • 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


“I was able to confidently complete my draft and query letter. It was the highlight (no pun intended) of my year! Thank you. I am looking forward to working with my mentor, as well.”

“I loved getting deep insight into the children’s book world today, and also a better understanding of the business of the publishing world and how to navigate it. It was a comprehensive overview – and the instructors were positive and supportive.”

“I can’t say enough about the instructors. The knowledge they shared was incredible and in a very non-threatening manner to one who is just trying to get started. I found encouragement in the midst of the reality of the hard work and time requirements.”

“I am thrilled with this experience. So many of my questions have been answered and I learned a great deal. Harold is wonderful and I enjoyed listening to him. Allison did a great job, too, especially about query letters.”


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

Leah Henderson

Leah Henderson has always loved getting lost in stories. When she is not scribbling down her characters’ adventures, she is…
Learn more