Crash Course in Children’s Publishing: Everything You Need to Know Online Course Feb-Apr 2021

February 3 - April 7, 2021

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: What Comes After: The Editing and Publishing Process
  • Session 9: Digging Into Illustration
  • Session 10: Where Do We Go From Here?

Scroll down to see a detailed agenda with dates.

Please note:
If you’re unable for any reason to attend any sessions, you’ll have access to the recordings of each through May 7, 2021.

What You’ll Learn & Experience:

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.

Join Us 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
February 3
LIVE Zoom session, 8 pm Eastern
Introductions, overview, goal setting.

February 5
LIVE Zoom Office Hour, 11 am Eastern
Bring your questions for open discussion


Week 2: Books, Publishers, Markets and More
February 10

Pre-recorded content released

  • Types of books 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!

February 12
LIVE Zoom Office Hour, 11 am Eastern


Week 3: Getting Started with Your Story
February 17

LIVE Zoom session, 8 pm Eastern

Additional 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!

February 19
LIVE Zoom Office Hour, 11 am Eastern


Week 4: Getting Started as a Professional
February 24

Pre-recorded content released

  • Getting started as a writer
  • Finding community, caring for yourself as a creative, and dedicating time to your craft with Leah Henderson
  • Essential conversations in children’s publishing: responsible representation, anti-racism and anti-bias books
  • Additional resources, including “You’re Never Too Old to Write” and more!

February 26
LIVE Zoom Office Hour, 11 am Eastern


Week 5: Digging Into Character
March 3

LIVE Zoom session, 8 pm Eastern

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

March 5
LIVE Zoom Office Hour, 11 am Eastern


Week 6: Research, Submission, Query Letters
March 10

LIVE Zoom session, 8 pm Eastern

Additional content released

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

March 12
LIVE Zoom Office Hour, 11 am Eastern


Week 7: Getting the Deal
March 17

LIVE Zoom session, 8 pm Eastern

Additional content released

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

March 19
LIVE Zoom Office Hour, 11 am Eastern


Week 8: What Comes After: The Editing and Publishing Process
March 24

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!

March 26
LIVE Zoom Office Hour, 11 am Eastern


Week 9: Digging Into Illustration
March 31

Pre-recorded content released

The illustration process:

  • sketches
  • approval of sketches
  • art samples
  • final art
  • the book design
  • and more with Daria Peoples Riley

No Office Hour this week


Week 10: Where Do We Go From Here?
April 7

LIVE Zoom final session, 8 pm Eastern

  • 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.

For more information about scholarships, click here.


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.…
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Leah Henderson

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