So you want to make and share picture books? Well let me give you some recommendations to help you along the way.

 

Organizations

SCBWI
Join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. If you haven’t yet, please stop reading! Go to SCBWI.org and join! Do it now. I’ll be here when you’re back.
websitemembership registration

 

People to Follow

Author-illustrator Katie Davis
Her Brain Burps about Books Podcast inspired me to create the Picturebooking Podcast. She is also a huge Pat Flynn fan! I would recommend paying attention to him too. The structure of this site mimics his Smart Passive Income blog. And I used his guide to start my podcast.
websitepodcast

Illustrator Will Terry
Will is an amazing artist who has a great pulse on the children’s book illustration industry. I highly recommend his YouTube Channel.
websiteyoutube

 

Classes and Courses

The Institute of Children’s Literature is a home study organization. I took a writing class through the Institute and learned the basics of writing for children. My instructor was Bonny Becker.
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Schoolism offers online art classes. I’ve taken Digital Painting with Bobby Chiu, Fundamentals of Character Design with Stephen Silver and Designing with Color and Light with Nathan Fowkes. I also took a storyboarding class that they no longer offer. I’ve done both the self-taught and the video feedback options. If you can afford it, the feedback classes are so much better!
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Printers

Next Day Flyers print my marketing materials. They have always been easy to work with and I have never been disappointed. They are good. Use them!
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Note: If I’m doing a variable marketing piece, I use a local digital print center. It’s super handy to find a local digital print center for large format and variable pieces.

Worzalla printed my first picture book (hardcover with a short run). If you have an audience and a way to distribute your books to them, I highly recommend using them to print your books.
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Making Your Website

Content Management System
WordPress is more than just for bloggers. You can set up a complete website in minutes (including a portfolio page) without the need of an expensive web designer that charges you for every change.
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Themes
A great theme will help make your WordPress site stand out. I use ThemeTrust’s Hardy theme, but I have also used WooThemes and I highly recommend you check them out too. My favorite free theme is MesoColumn.
ThemeTrust websiteWooThemes websiteMesoColumn website

Hosting
You will need a place to host your site. I use Bluehost. They have an easy to use, 1-click WordPress installation. They get the job done at the right price.
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Email Subscriptions
I use MailChimp’s free email marketing tool. I can have up to 2,000 subscribers and send 12,000 emails … all for free!
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Books

Illustrating Children’s Books: Creating Pictures for Publication
By Martin Salisbury
This is the book I recommend to anyone interested in illustrating a picture book. It a fast fun read. It has a little picture book history. It goes over some mediums to create picture books. And it gives you a good overview of the industry and how to approach beginning a career the traditional way.
Amazon linkMartin’s bio

Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children will Change Their Lives Forever
By Mem Fox
My sister had to read this book during college. I borrowed it from her … and never gave it back! If you are wondering if dedicating your life to picture books is worth the effort … read this book.
Amazon linkMem’s website

Directing the Story: Professional Storytelling and Storyboarding Techniques for Live Action and Animation
By Francis Glebas
Are you wondering how to get your audience to care about your story? Directing the Story has that answer. This is the book that I feel like I need to reread again. There is just so much good information that I haven’t grasped yet. As soon as I get this I’m going to change my title from author-illustrator to jedi story warrior.
Amazon linkFrancis’s bio

Nuts & Bolts: A blueprint for a successful illustration career
By Charles Hively
This is a quick guidebook from 3X3 Magazine for young illustrators getting into the business of making art for a living. You’ll read this in one sitting. Good stuff.
Amazon link3X3 Magazine

 

How to Promote Your Children’s Book: Tips, Tricks, and Secrets to Create a Bestseller
By Katie Davis
Full disclosure: I have just skimmed this book. But it is high on my list to read. I was shocked at all the information pilled into this book (301 pages of it!). Katie knows what she is doing … which is why this 2nd edition was a bestseller right out of the gates. Amazon linkKatie’s blog

 

I am constantly reading self-help and business books. I’m kind of addicted to improvement books. So I’ll just list the ones I love here and try to keep the descriptions short.

 

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill: The grandfather of all self-help. A must read if your into these kinds of books. Amazon link

Getting Things Done by David Allen: Don’t take parts of this book and adapt them to your system. Throw your system away and just do what Dave tells you! Amazon link

Anything Seth Godin has written … either in his books or on his blog: He is the Napoleon Hill of our time. Pay attention to him! I really enjoyed Linchpin and The Icarus Deception.
Seth’s BooksLinchpin Amazon linkThe Icarus Deception Amazon link

Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeirer: Planning is guessing. Inspiration is perishable. Fire the workaholics and emulate drug dealers. Underdo the competition and pick a fight! What’s not to love about this book? Amazon linkBook website

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain: I’m a proud card carrying introvert. Susan’s book shines a light on society’s bias for the loud. And she give us a place to begin fixing the problem. Amazon linkSusan’s website

Drive by Daniel Pink: This book reveals the surprising truth about what motivates us. I believe if we get our mindset and situation right, we will be more creative and more productive. This book show’s you how. Amazon linkDaniel’s website