Welcome back for another roundup of online opportunities for picture book writers and illustrators. Scroll through the whole list–February has some amazing events that happen only once a year!
To see more opportunities, visit the PICTURE BOOK SUPPORT resource page.
Fee or free? Here’s a key:
(free) – no fee to enter or to participate
($) – fee to enter or to participate
(*See note) – look for *explanation within the blurb
12×12 Picture Book Challenge ($)
Write 12 picture books in 12 months. Critique opportunities, monthly live webinars with industry professionals, and the support of the entire 12×12 community. Register by February 29, 2020 for a 2020 membership. Hosted by children’s author Julie Hedlund.
#50PreciousWords Writing Challenge (free)
Write a story appropriate for kids ages 12 or under, using only 50 words. Watch for blog post announcement at link. Get a peek at prizes here. February 29 – March 5, 2020. Hosted by children’s author Vivian Kirkfield.
FireButtChallenge (#FiBuCha) (free)
About once a month, without warning, a #FiBuCha notice goes out on Twitter. You have 24 hours to write a new PB draft or revise an existing one. Grab a writing partner to keep yourselves accountable. Hosted by children’s authors Michal Babay and Katie Frawley.
Madness! Poetry March event, register now through February 29 (free)
“March Madness” tournament for writers of children’s poetry. “Authletes” write original poems based on prompts. Thousands of schoolchildren vote on their favorites. Winners advance to the next round. Full explanation here. Register as an authlete here. Teachers, register your classes here. Hosted by kids’ poet Ed DeCaria of Think, Kid, Think!
Making Picture Book Magic ($)
A 4-week course that will teach you how to write a picture book through short, daily lessons. Options for working as part of a small class or on your own. New courses begin the first of every month. Hosted by children’s author Susanna Leonard Hill.
NonFiction Fest (@NFFest) (free)
NFFest turns February into a crash course in writing nonfiction for children. Daily blog posts from authors and industry professionals and a Facebook community. You had to register by January 31 to be eligible for prizes, but you can still participate. Hosted by the NonFiction Chicks: Lisa Amstutz, Stephanie Bearce, Nancy Churnin, Susie Kralovansky, Pat Miller, Linda Skeers, and Peggy Thomas.
A Twitter pitch party exclusively for picture books. Thursday, February 20, 8am – 8pm Eastern Time. Check website for full details, hashtags, and rules. Founded and run by Debra Kempf Shumaker, PJ McIlvaine, Mette Engell, and Mandy Yates.
#FaithPitch (@Faith_Pitch) (free)
Twitter pitch party exclusively for the Christian Book Market (CBM). Thursday, February 27, 8am – 8pm Central Time. Check Twitter account for full details, hashtags, and rules. Hosted by publisher Little Lamb Books.
Lyrical Language Lab ($)
Learn to make your picture books lyrical, whether or not they rhyme. New 10-week class starts February 3, taught by children’s authors Renee LaTulippe and Carrie Finison. Can’t do it this time around? Sign up to receive information about self-study courses and upcoming 10-week courses.
ReFoReMo March event, registration opens February 18 (free)
Read a hundred picture books in one month and you’ll learn a lot about writing them! Add in educational posts each weekday of March from industry professionals, who show you how to study picture books as mentor texts, and ReFoReMo (Reading For Research Month) is like a master class in the picture book genre. Registration for the 6th annual event opens February 18, 2020. The challenge begins March 2. Hosted by our own Carrie Charley Brown and Kirsti Call.
Valentiny Writing Contest (free)
Write a Valentines’ story no longer than 214 words, appropriate for ages 12 and under, in which someone feels curious. Contest open February 12 – February 14, 2020. Prizes TBD. See link for full details. Hosted by children’s author Susanna Leonard Hill.
Attend a writing conference from the comfort of home! Online conference for kidlit writers and illustrators for all levels (PB, MG, YA). Friday February 21 – Sunday February 23, 2020.
The Ann Whitford Paul—Writer’s Digest Manuscript Award (See note*)
Submissions window opened February 1 and will remain open until April 1. Annual monetary award given for a Most Promising Picture Book manuscript. *No application fee, but must be a dues-paying member of SCBWI.
Picture Book Tip
Have you written one picture book? Great! Now write some more. That way, when an agent or editor asks, “What else have you written?” you have something to show them.
Months of a Year Banner Illustrations by Blue Ring Media, Shutterstock
Red Pencil Image by C. Koch from Pixabay