Writer & Illustrator Resources OLD

ResourcesCATEGORIES (In order of appearance)

Some resources are paid; most are free of charge. Many have both paid and free options. Check links for specifics.

making a bookGENERAL
A list of general sources and organizations for both newcomers and established writers and illustrators.

The Basics (on The Purple Crayon)
Are you absolutely brand-new to this and aren’t sure where to start? This post provides a great short orientation of what to expect on your journey to publication.
This next post, on the same site, uses a fun quiz format to walk you through what you need to know to get started.

Writing for Children and Teens
Cynthea Liu’s fantastic Crash Course gives you the basic steps in a few minutes. Step One starts here: http://www.writingforchildrenandteens.com/for-writers/childrens-book-idea/

The intro to this site, launched in January 2014, reads: “Welcome to KidLit411! Are you writing a children’s book? Well, you’ve come to the right place! One website, with all of your favorite sources in one place!” It’s like an extended, illustrated version of the page you’re reading right now.http://www.kidlit411.com/

Absolute Write & Absolute Write Water Cooler
A forum in which writers compare notes and experiences on agents, agencies, and publishers.
Main Site: http://absolutewrite.com/
Water Cooler (Forums): http://absolutewrite.com/forums/

Children’s Book Insider
Monthly magazine and associated CBI Clubhouse online community and resources.

Children’s Writer / The Institute for Children’s Literature
Monthly newsletter of writing and publishing trends. Advice, contests, information about what publishers are seeking. Associated with The Institute for Children’s Literature, a well-established and well-regarded organization that provides correspondence courses for children’s writers.

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)
Professional association for children’s writers and illustrators. Connections to other writers and illustrators in your area. Access to online communities and updated resources. Two major conferences each year plus regional activities across U.S. and internationally. Membership includes THE BOOK: The Essential Guide to Publishing for Children, updated annually, and access to an incredible community of helpful writers & illustrators on the Blueboard message & chat forum.
SCBWI’s Blueboard, A Message & Chat Board (merged with Verla Kay’s board in late 2013): http://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php

Publisher’s Lunch / Publisher’s Marketplace
The latest news in the publishing world across all genres. Free subscription to daily general e-news and once-weekly announcements of select book deals. Paid subscriptions to exclusive content, comprehensive announcements of deals, and Publisher’s Marketplace searchable archives of deals.

Publisher’s Weekly
The latest news in the publishing world across all genres. Influential book reviews. Free subscriptions to daily general e-news & free twice-weekly e-news for children’s publishing. Paid print magazine.

The Purple Crayon
Harold Underdown is an independent children’s book editor and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books. His free site, The Purple Crayon, has a wealth of information for newcomers, established professionals, and everyone inbetween. The “Who’s Moving Where?” page is updated monthly with staff changes at agencies and publishers.

Verla Kay’s Website
Verla Kay is a children’s writer, has taught writing through the Institute for Children’s Literature, and hosts an amazing website chock-full of information for children’s writers and illustrators. Verla Kay’s message board merged with the SCBWI message board in late 2013; find that link above under SCBWI.

Writer’s Digest
Comprehensive articles and news for writers in all genres (not just children’s). Agent interviews. Paid print magazine. Many well-regarded, regularly-updated resource books for sale.

Resources for Teen Writers
That’s teenagers who write, not adults writing for teens. This post on The League of Extraordinary Writers has an amazing list of links.

Ready to submit, but not sure where to send your work? Time to do your research. Check out these resources.

Relevant Posts on This Site
Sending Out Submissions by Heather Fenton
How to Format a Manuscript by Jen Malone
What I Learned in an Agent’s Inbox by Jen Malone

Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market
 By Chuck Sambuchino. Offered by Writers Digest. Includes market lists, plus agent interviews and sample queries. Updated annually.

THE BOOK: The Essential Guide to Publishing for Children
Offered by The Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). PDF download included with paid membership. Over 300 pages with just about everything you need to know, including publishers, small presses, agents. Updated annually.

Agent Query
Offers the largest, most current searchable database of reputable, established literary agents in all genres, as well as query-writing advice, online networking with other writers, and many other resources.

Another database for researching reputable literary agents and editors in all genres, as well as tracking your own submissions, plus online networking with other writers and an informative blog.

Query Shark
This blogger’s tagline is “How To Write Query Letters … or, really, how to revise query letters so they actually work.” Readers submit queries, which are selected for critique by Query Shark. Archives give many examples of what works, what does not, and why, in queries.

Literary Rambles
“Spotlighting Children’s Book Authors, Agents, and Publishing” Great resource for researching agents. Agent spotlights, links to helpful resources, and more.

Manuscript Wish List (#MSWL)
Some agents and editors use this Twitter hashtag to tweet about subjects or genres they are specifically looking for; this can be a good snapshot of what’s “hot” among editors at the moment. Watch for MSWL tweet parties—specific days when many agents and editors tweet at the same time.
Compilation here: http://agentandeditorwishlist.tumblr.com/

Preditors & Editors
A site dedicated to warning writers, artists, and others about less-than-reputable agencies, publishers, contests, etc. Includes many positive resources as well.

Writer Beware
The public face of SFWA’s committee on writing scams, and another good resource for avoiding problems.

Renaissance Learning / Accelerated Reader
If you’re researching the kitlit market, this site has info on hundreds of titles – publishing history, genre, word count, page count, awards, author, language, level, interest level, book level, type of book (fiction or nonfiction).
The post How to Research KidLit at the AR Quiz Store has advice on using this site.

Need a little help and support to get started or to keep going? Check out these online events.

National Novel-Writing Month, held each November. Participants commit to writing 50,000 words of a new novel in 30 days with emphasis on quantity, not quality. Helpful for those who tend to polish paragraphs rather than finish manuscripts. Active online forums offer advice, expertise on arcane topics, and encouragement.

Picture Book Idea Month, held each November. The picture book writer’s answer to NaNoWriMo. Participants commit to creating 30 picture book ideas in 30 days. Hosted by Tara Lazar, a picture book writer.
On this site: Tara Lazar, Debut Author and Social Media Guru

12 x 12
12 Picture Books, 12 Months. Starts in January of each year. Participants commit to writing 12 complete picture book manuscripts in 12 months. A good follow-on to PiBoIdMo (see above). Hosted by Julie Hedlund, a picture book writer.
On this site: 12 questions for 12 x 12 founder, Julie Hedlund

A Round of Words in 80 Days
Online community where members commit to specific, measurable writing goals they’ll meet within an 80-day period, with a requirement to post results regularly where sponsors can confirm that progress is being made. Four start dates each year, and it’s okay to join mid-cycle.

Inked Voices
Join critique groups with other children’s writers and workshop your writing online in private, invitation-based groups. Interact with your group and exchange feedback in a shared group space. Stay organized and on track for deadlines with project management features.
On this site: Inked Voices, a new way to meet & critique (Interview with founder Brooke McIntyre)

Description from the site: A respectful online writing group made up of writers who improve each other’s work with thoughtful critiques and by sharing their writing experience.
Related post on this site: Scribophile: Your Friendly Online Critique Group, by Alison Potoma


Evelyn B. Christensen
Resources for Writers page—links to many good articles & resources

Is Your Idea a Picture Book, Chapter Book, or Middle Grade Novel?
Great post on figuring out just what your shiny new idea will (or should) grow up to be.

Mentors for Rent
A consulting/coaching/critiquing service for those who write for children or young adults.

Mythcreants is a blog for speculative fiction storytellers. To better understand and tell the stories we love, we analyze popular stories and explore techniques in writing, roleplaying, and worldbuilding.

Tips for Successful Author Readings
For those who are already published and are OUT THERE promoting a book, Wendy Van Camp’s blog post has some great advice on how to prepare for a public reading.

Incredibly rich resource for anyone writing in rhyme, or teaching others how to do it.

Rhyme Clinic
A great blog post on writing in rhyme. Linda Ashman guest-posts on Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog.

Writing Irresistible KidLit
“The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers” by Mary Kole, published by Writer’s Digest. Links to buy her book and a comprehensive list of free resource links.

Chapter Book Chat
Marty Mokler Banks blogs about chapter books, which are not picture books and are also not middle grade novels. “Chapter books enter a child’s life at that tender moment when he or she is ready to embark on a more challenging reading adventure… but not so challenging that it’s scary.”
Good post at this site on the difference between chapter books and middle grade, why they are so often confused, and why it’s critical to get it right when choosing books for young readers.

Mrs. Reader Pants
A middle school librarian offers fiction and nonfiction book reviews, library ideas, book fair tips, and lesson ideas. Great for finding out what’s appropriate and what isn’t for certain age groups.

25 Editing Tips for Tightening Your Copy
Great post on The Write Life blog that describes simple and effective ways to polish your manuscript–whether it’s for adults or kids, fiction or nonfiction.

Why Hire an Editor / Copyeditor / Proofreader?
A series of posts that clearly explain types of editing that all books should go through before publication, and why each step is important.
Why Hire an Editor? http://catherineryanhoward.com/2013/03/28/why-hire-an-editor/
Structural Editing for Self-Publishers http://catherineryanhoward.com/2013/04/04/structural-editing-for-self-publishers/
Copy-editors: What They Really Do http://catherineryanhoward.com/2013/10/15/copy-editors-what-they-really-do/
Proofreading Explained http://catherineryanhoward.com/2013/10/17/proofreading-explained/

Suggested updates, revisions, or additions? Comment below.  Thanks!


  1. Thanks for including Inked Voices on this list for critique groups! After 3 months of beta testing, we are officially “up” as of last week. So you can delete the information about the beta. 🙂 If you are up for a blurb to replace that, here is one “Join critique groups with other children’s writers and workshop your writing online in private, invitation-based groups. Interact with your group and exchange feedback in a shared group space. Stay organized and on track for deadlines with project management features.”


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