kidlit ABCs (a.k.a. Info for Writers and Illustrators):

If you want to write and/or illustrate children's books ...

* Five blog posts I wrote about making picture books:

1. the path illustrators take to get their work noticed and advance their careers

2. how to write a picture book in twelve easy steps

3. three ways to make a picture book dummy

4. five things for illustrators - a.k.a. five things that helped me and will hopefully help you too

5. ten tips for choosing what to draw for your portfolio, and ten ways to find inspiration

* Write, Draw, Create: You'll need professional level work and a polished manuscript or portfolio to compete in this field. Practicing your craft will help you to get there.

* Read: Read good books, bad books, and every book you're interested in, regardless of the age group (they'll all help you to create your book). Look at how pictures integrate and/or enhance the text (important for writers too). At conferences, I've heard the suggestion that you should read 100 books in your genre BEFORE you start writing.

* Revise, revise, revise: Both writers and illustrators need to revise to make the character, setting, and story clear and inviting. First drafts are great for getting the idea out, but revision is what makes the story shine.

* Research: Everyone expects to do research for non-fiction, but research is usually necessary for writing fiction and probably illustrating it too. Another important area of research is the publishing industry. It will help you target your submissions to the editor, agent or art director that's the best fit for your work. It will also teach you how the industry works, so you know what to expect regarding wait times on submissions, acquisition process, whether you need/want an agent, contracts, publication, promotion, and everything else that might pop up in your journey to be published.

Reference Books For Children's Book Writers and Illustrators:

* Writing With Pictures by Uri Shulevitz

* Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul

* Picture This, How Pictures Work by Molly Bang

* Illustrating Children's Books by Martin Salisbury

* Dear Genius, The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom edited by Leonard S. Marcus

* Take Joy by Jane Yolen

* It's a Bunny-Eat-Bunny World by Olga Litowinsky

* From Cover to Cover by Kathleen T. Horning

* Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market (annual, published by Writer's Digest Books)

* Snoopy's Guide to the Writing Life edited by Barnaby Conrad and Monte Schulz

Note: Choose any writing or illustrating book that will help or inspire you. Everyone has their favorite reference books. These are mine. FYI, I've found that writing books help me with illustration and illustration books help me with writing.

Links to know for the children's book industry:
The SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators)
The BlueBoards hosted by the SCBWI
Editor Cheryl Klein's website and blog
Editor Harold Underdown's Purple Crayon site
The Children's Book Council
The Horn Book

Note: There are many other helpful sites and blogs, but this is a good place to start. All of these were tremendously helpful to me when I started out. I hope they'll help you too.