Everything You Need To Know About Children’s Book Publishing: A Crash Course 2019

About This Event


A workshop for serious beginners: learn all you need to know about the business of publishing children’s books!

This intensive weekend is designed to give you a comprehensive look at how the children’s book publishing industry works. You will gain understanding of all processes associated with submitting, selling, developing, and marketing a trade book or magazine article. You will also learn from and make connections with children’s publishing insiders. Our goal is to answer ALL your questions!

Watch some videos to find out what to expect!

What You’ll Learn

How to select a publisher

Trade book and magazine markets and genres

Getting help before you submit

The mechanics of submitting your work

Contracts and royalties

Writing a query letter

The editorial process

Art department: layout, design, and illustration

Marketing and promotion

Opportunities in e-book and self-publishing

Who Should Attend

Anyone who has an idea for a children’s book but doesn’t know how to get it published.

Writers who want to learn how a children’s book manuscript should be submitted–and what will happen after a publisher signs it up.

Illustrators who would like to break into the children’s book industry as an illustrator or author/illustrator.

Anyone who would like to learn more about editors, agents, contracts, royalties and oth


Show and Tell Overview

Explore genres of books, types of publishers, types of markets, including magazines; fiction vs. nonfiction, flat fee vs. royalties, school & libraries.

Getting started, Part 1. Getting help before you submit: books, conferences, critique groups, beta readers, children.

Getting to Know Your Character Inside and Out

Optional Peer-to-peer critiques

Getting started, Part 2. Mistakes to avoid; submissions rules and practices.

After the contract is signed

Editorial development process, copyediting, production, finished book.

Leaving Room for Your Illustrator

How an illustrator is chosen, the illustrator’s role in the process, putting it all together.

Behind the Scenes with a Bookseller: Advance reading copies; price point; discover how to approach a bookseller and what works for getting a buyer’s attention; create a proposal for an in-store event.

Submitting to magazines

Markets; submissions; contracts; selling to magazines.

Getting Started as a Professional

Overview of self-publishing: Opportunities and mistakes to avoid with self-publishing.

Writing a Query Letter

Faculty Q&A


Watch some faculty and student videos to find out what to expect!

Faculty Interview: Leah Henderson

Harold Underdown: 7 Quick Tips for Beginning Writers

Behind the Scenes With a Bookseller: Dave Richardson

Harold Underdown:How to Start Revising That First Draft

Harold Underdown: Getting Out of the Slush Pile

Questions to ask BEFORE you submit your story or art


“The varying perspectives of author, editor [and] bookseller gave us a round view of what it’s like to publish and sell a book.”

All the faculty were professional and courteous. They were open to speak with us the entire weekend and willing to answer any questions we had. I learned all the basics of publishing I could’ve hoped to in such a short amount of time, and feel it is time well invested.”

“The value of this course stands out to me the most. For the cost, nowhere could I get the information from leaders in the field, one-on-one feedback, accommodations, high-end meals, and the take-away resources. This is the smartest money I have spent on this journey to publishing.”

“I attended the Crash Course in 2010 at Highlights. I had the solitude of writing in the cabins. I enjoyed the camaraderie of other fledgling authors and illustrators at the dinner table. I found the tour of Highlights to be an end of cycle, for I loved Highlights magazine as a child. The information was delivered in an intimate and honest way. I even had the science editor ask me to write a short piece about my birds at the feeder. I would recommend this course to anyone desiring to write for children.”–Marie J. Evans

“By attending the Crash Course, I feel I have gained an understanding of the workings of the children’s writing market, specifically the process by which an idea becomes a published book, and the rocky journey it may take to complete the trip. So far, I have had two small items published and many more in the works. The key takeaway for me was to persevere and not take rejections personally.”–Mike Vreeland

“I always recommend Highlights Foundation workshops because I know how valuable they have been for me. The Crash Course is a great example. I took that workshop twice, nearly 8 years apart. The first time, I had so very much to learn, and the questions I asked were answered respectfully. I had a couple magazine pieces published by the time I went the second time. I had a whole new set of questions by then. Also, because of greater internet use in the business, there was much more to learn. Some of the presentations were more helpful than others because of my own writing interests and knowledge, but all were interesting. Being able to ask questions at anytime during the workshop was a tremendous benefit. I am still in touch with a workshopper I met that second time. Meeting other people with similar interests tends to breed friendships. Now with 3 published books, I attribute nearly all I know about the business to Highlights Foundation workshops.”–Kathy Cannon Wiechman

Cancellation Policy

100% deposit refund for cancellation 30+ days before event.
50% deposit refund for cancellation 15-29 days before event.
0% deposit refund for cancellation 0-14 days before event.
The remaining balance (total price minus deposit) is due upon arrival.
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