THINGS I WISH I KNEW EARLIER
12x12 Picture Book Challenge
A Critique Group (Or bunches! Do it! Don't think you can do this alone or with family or friends!)
Children's Bookshelf Rights Reports (sign up is free and they send an email on Tuesday and Thursday of every week. You can stay up to date on what is selling in the PB publishing world.)
Get on Twitter! Follow every author and illustrator you love. Follow every agency and agent that reps PB! You find out inside scoops and if your personality might mesh with a particular agent. And, most importantly, follow every PB writer because the writing community is amazing and so supportive. You can search by hashtags for #SCBWI or #12x12PB or even #PB.
Follow @PBCHAT1 organized by Justin Colón, it meets every other Wednesday at 8 pm EDT to discuss the craft and business of picture books! They also have a mentorship program for picture book creators.
Follow @KaileiPew and @ebonylynnmudd for #PBRisingStars mentorship news! This is the mentorship that I was lucky enough to be chosen for and mentored by the fantastic Kailei Pew!
Twitter Pitch Contests and Parties (#PBPitch, #50PreciousWords, #CookiePitch, #StoryStorm, etc.)
There are so many that I cannot list them all here. But, I have a special place in my heart for Vivian Kirkfield's #50PreciousWords contest. The goal is to write a complete story using only 50 words or less. It is quite challenging and will really help you to focus on word choice. I placed in the Top 20 and Honorable Mention in past contests. I also placed 2nd in the very first #CookiePitch (new name) contest to write a pitch for something completely ridiculous. The pitches are hilarious and great practice!
And some final advice...
READ, READ, READ! The library and librarians are your friends. If the staff doesn't know your name yet, get to know them! Read hundreds of picture books monthly with joy!