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Have you ever wanted to write a children's book?

Do you have the best idea for a picture book? Have you come up with a catchy title that would shine on the shelf of your local book store?

You are not alone.

I am embarking on that journey as you read this.

About 5 years ago, I had an idea for a book that I couldn't get out of my head. So I started writing. I finished my first draft and was pretty proud. Then I started researching the children's book publishing


I quickly found out if you were serious about publishing a children's book, there was only one association to join - The Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators #SCBWI. The mecca for all things #kidlit.

So, after I edited about 15 drafts and had a few people read it, I was ready to attend my first SCBWI conference in D.C. with manuscript in hand.

I was all ready to go. Paid extra for author critique and off I went.


From there I learned about:

  • More Conferences - 'Soooo many.'

  • Critique Groups - 'Oookay. Not sure I need those.'

  • Editors - 'Who comes first - editors, publishers, agents?'

  • Publishers - 'So cool - a publishing house!'

  • Agents - 'Do I need one of those? How do I get one?'

  • Master Classes - 'Maybe...'

  • Author critiques - 'Sure I'll pay extra for that!'

  • First page read alouds - '?'

  • 32 pages; first 70 words - '??'

  • Self publishing vs traditional vs co-publishing vs ? - 'I want traditional.'

Psssh! I'm sorry... Come again?!

After the conference I had these takeaways:

  1. My writing is the pits.

  2. How does ANYONE get noticed?

  3. And, therefore, how does anyone get published?

  4. I am not in education or journalism... AND everyone else is... so, where does that leave my chances?

  5. How does ANYONE get published?

  6. This is impossible. I'm out. Pssh.

So, I mourned my "being a crappy writer and person" feelings and tabled my manuscript and author dream for a year. At the urging of my family and a few good friends plus a huge desire to share my story and experiences to children, I started again.

This time, I researched and reset my expectations. I realized the journey to become a traditionally published children's book author is a commitment that requires persistence, persistence, thick skin and more persistence.

So, what I've learned nearly 4 years later...

  • Conferences - 'Yep, in small doses they are so helpful.'

  • Critique Groups - 'Lifesaving! I am a better writer and author because of mine.'

  • Editors - 'Work with publishing houses but can also hire separately and they can also request manuscripts... still kind of confused about this one.'

  • Publishers - 'So cool - a publishing house! Unsolicited is my friend until I get an agent. LONG lists of when they open and close to submissions.'

  • Agents - 'Need one to get into most publishing houses... but not all of them. I think they are valuable and I will start querying them soon.'

  • Master Classes - 'Yep - done a few.'

  • Author critiques - 'Yep - done a few. Kind of helpful - if you know how to frame what you want out of it.'

  • First page read alouds - 'Not for picture books.'

  • 32 pages; first 70 words - 'For picture books - know the structure and hook.'

  • Self publishing vs traditional vs co-publishing vs ? - 'I still want traditional.'

Welcome to the sharing of my author journey. (Let's hope it works out...)

I hope I can help to inspire or encourage others who have ideas that deserve to be a shelf in a bookstore one day. With persistence, dedication and time - we can do it!!

-xo H

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