Josh Funk's Guide to Writing Picture Books
If there's one thing that's important to know, it's that you don’t know everything. So …
You don’t have to do it alone. The kidlit community, both online and in person, is full of friendly people who cheer each other on. Whether through SCBWI, Storystorm, Kidlit411, 12x12, ReFoReMo, or one of the many other social networking groups, there is a profusion of resources available. You just have to ask.
Find a critique group. This is critical. This may sound like the cheesy acknowledgements section of a middle grade novel, but the truth is that I’d be nowhere without the many critique partners who’ve made my writing better over the years.
But don’t be the best in your critique group. If you want to keep improving your writing, be sure to work with people who are better than you (by this, I mean better at writing). I can definitively say I have never been the best one in any of my groups – and that fact has played a large role in any success I’ve had.
There are many other ways to continue learning. One is by going to conferences, retreats, and workshops. This can get expensive and potentially prohibitive, but luckily lots of classes have popped up online that range from very affordable webinars to many that are even free. Expand your social network and you’ll certainly find some.
Read books in the genre you write. This is important for several reasons. It will help keep your focus on the audience for which you’re writing. It will also give you an idea of the business side of the writing world. What are publishers buying? What are librarians, teachers, parents, and children enjoying?
There is more to learn than anyone could in a lifetime. You'll never run out of kidlit places to explore.