Writing Your Picture Book

Many people believe it's easy to write a picture book – they're short and simple so they must be easy. But writers of picture books have a lot to consider. They must write a complete, satisfying story, usually in less than 500 words for today's market. This course introduces writers to how a picture book works, why and how to revise using tools like book dummies, and how to effectively market your picture book to agents and editors.

At a glance

What: Writing Your Picture Book

When: Start anytime, complete within 1 year

Where: Online

Cost: Option 1: 1 CEU $150 | Option 2: 2 CEUs $175

Continuing education credit: 10 hours (1.0 CEU)

Instructor: Georgia Beaverson

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For additional information, contact Christine DeSmet: 608-262-3447

Who this course is for

  • Beginning writers who have little or no experience with picture books
  • Writers who have a picture book idea but aren’t sure how to start
  • Writers with a draft of a manuscript they want to improve
  • Writers who want to gear their picture books toward today’s market
  • Anyone who wants to learn to write a solid query letter for this market

Course syllabus

Unit 1: What to focus on when writing a picture book

This unit defines and examines picture books. It covers the many categories and genres within today’s picture book market, what today’s editors look for in picture book manuscripts, and the basic rules of picture book fiction, including structure.

Unit 2: Revise your picture book

Learn the basics of why and how to revise a picture book. Students receive an important revision checklist and learn the basic qualities to look for in a solid picture book as they revise their own manuscript. You also learn the basics of critiquing a manuscript.

Unit 3: Use a dummy to revise your picture book

The all-important “dummy” is defined and you learn how and why it’s helpful to writers of picture books. Students receive page-by-page instruction about how the action within a picture book should flow. At this stage, you will create your own picture book dummy.

Unit 4: How to market your work

Having a professional query letter is essential to market and sell your picture book. Learn the necessary query letter elements and what the letter should accomplish. Along the way, you discover what you need to research before you write the query. This unit covers a query letter’s structure, tone, and the most common mistakes made by query letter writers.