A new session of each course opens each month, allowing you to enroll whenever your busy schedule permits!
How does it work? Once a session starts, two lessons will be released each week, for the six-week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.
Keep in mind that the interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes 2 weeks after each lesson is released, so you’re encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
The Final Exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the Final Exam has been released, you will have 2 weeks plus 10 days to complete the Final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.
Lesson 01 - Through the Eyes of a Child: Exploring the World of Children's Literature
Are you a beginning writer with a story to tell or a published writer who wishes to build on your successes? Do you dream of creating books that children will love? In our first lesson, we're going to explore ways to learn about the audience and the different types of children's literature. We'll also talk about the many awards given to honor this genre.
Lesson 02 - Read to Me, Mommy: The Integration of Artwork and the Printed Word
In this lesson, we'll focus specifically on children's picture books. We'll start by defining the broader category of picture books and then dissect a few samplings on the shelves—board books, cloth books, picture books, and picture storybooks.
Lesson 03 - I Can Do It: The Beginning Reader
In today's lesson, we'll explore books for beginning readers and discover resources available to writers. We'll dive into emergent readers and first chapter books. We'll also examine the impact of Harry Potter on children's book writing as a whole. And you'll learn about the market and gain tips to help you create books children will love to read!
Lesson 04 - Growing Up: The Next Level
Today we'll explore the world of literature designed for the middle-grade and high school readers. We'll uncover the reasons why these books are demanding a larger amount of shelf space in libraries and bookstores. Young adult fiction is one of the hottest categories in publishing today, and this lesson shows you why.
Lesson 05 - Beyond Biographies: The World of Nonfiction Writing and Research
In today's lesson, we'll embark on a nonfiction book tour. Now, if your writing love is fiction, this lesson still has much to offer you. Like nonfiction, good fiction is rooted in accurate facts, so stellar research techniques are something we'll spend a good deal of time on. You'll discover how you can improve your writing by uncovering facts through primary and secondary sources. We'll also look at the myriad of different kinds of children's nonfiction—and how fascinating it is. We've come a long way from bland biographies!
Lesson 06 - Story Patterns: The Easy Way to Create a Great Story
Do you know the difference between story and plot? There's a vital distinction that will make your writing easier. And speaking of easy, once you understand story patterns, your children's stories will almost write themselves! We'll also visit with a panel of experts who share tips on getting started.
Lesson 07 - Dramatic Elements: Structuring Children's Literature
Four dramatic elements form the structure of almost all children's literature. This lesson shows you how to make those elements work for your story. We'll also talk about homework―writer's homework! Research is important to writing well, and I'll provide some important resources in this lesson. You'll also learn techniques on how to craft your critical first page, along with tips to keep the pages turning.
Lesson 08 - With Fresh Eyes: Editing the Manuscript
Grab your red pens—it's time to edit! Today you'll explore tools for turning first drafts into contracted manuscripts. You'll discover how to read like an editor and improve your publishing opportunities. And we'll explore the differences between proofreaders, copy editors, and critique groups.
Lesson 09 - In Search of a Publisher: Market Research
In this lesson, we're going to explore the needs of publishing houses. You'll discover how to improve your chances of publication through market research. And you'll uncover the resources other writers use to target publishers and discover how to recognize the right time to send your manuscript.
Lesson 10 - Dear Editor: Submitting Your Work
Today you'll learn how to submit your manuscript like a pro. We'll explore query and cover letters, and you'll see how to craft them to grab an editor's attention. You'll also learn the correct way to format your manuscript—which will help you keep your submission out of the slush pile and get it onto an editor's desk!
Lesson 11 - From Passion to Profit: The Business of Publishing
In today's lesson, we'll explore the business side of children's publishing. We'll move beyond the writing and submission components and into the world of contracts and promotion. You'll learn how to get your books off of bookshelves and into the hands of your readers.
Lesson 12 - A Lifelong Adventure: Growing Your Writing
As we wrap up this course, I'll share some ways that you can continue to grow yourself as a writer. You'll discover organizations and online communities that offer support to writers. And you'll get some final words of advice from our guest authors as you embark on your journey into the world of children's publishing. Dream big, and happy writing!