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PB class OR 12 x 12 challenge?

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I think I want to give myself a Christmas gift of something that'll help with my PB writing. I have considered either an online PB class or joining the 12 x 12 challenge community, but I'm not sure which would be most helpful for someone just starting to seriously learn the craft. If you have experience with either 12x12 or online PB courses, can you say a little bit about how it may have helped your writing?

For me, the problem with writing is not getting ideas or drafting them, but revision. Like many people, I often think my work is "done" when it is not, and I don't feel like I know how to revise to make it better.  So if you have recommendations on resources that would particularly help with learning to revise, I would love to hear about them.
#1 - November 20, 2017, 01:50 PM

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The 12x12 challenge has webinars you can take every month (or most every month) plus they have an option to submit to one of two different agents every month. It has different levels. I participated for 3 years (I would have done it this year but I used the money to buy a couch for a friend.) I enjoyed the webinars with 12x12 and you can post your picture books to the private boards for critiques.
If you do a class find one that is comparable for the price.
#2 - November 20, 2017, 04:00 PM

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Teresa, Kid's Book Revisions will be offering an online class in picture book revision in February-April. We have posted the dates in our workshops page on the Kid's Book Revisions site, and we will be posting more information in the coming weeks.
#3 - November 21, 2017, 08:28 AM
Harold Underdown

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What a great Christmas gift to give yourself! Both options sound wonderful. I can't wait to see which one you choose.

As for knowing when something is revised enough to submit--I think everyone struggles with that to a certain degree. I used to send things out way too fast when I first started writing and can usually tell how close I'm getting by the feedback from my critique groups/beta readers and paid conference critiques.

Are you part of a great critique group? They're absolutely priceless, and I love being in both in person and online groups.

I think I want to give myself a Christmas gift of something that'll help with my PB writing. I have considered either an online PB class or joining the 12 x 12 challenge community, but I'm not sure which would be most helpful for someone just starting to seriously learn the craft. If you have experience with either 12x12 or online PB courses, can you say a little bit about how it may have helped your writing?

For me, the problem with writing is not getting ideas or drafting them, but revision. Like many people, I often think my work is "done" when it is not, and I don't feel like I know how to revise to make it better.  So if you have recommendations on resources that would particularly help with learning to revise, I would love to hear about them.

#4 - November 21, 2017, 10:46 PM

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Thanks for the responses, everyone! Now I'm still torn as to which to do, but I do have more information to consider.
   
Re: critique groups:  I am just getting started in an online critique group. I'm hoping that helps me with revision.  I am nervous  because I don't feel that I know enough about the subject to offer really helpful critiques yet. But I guess everyone has to get started with critiquing at some point!
#5 - November 24, 2017, 10:57 PM

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Teresa,

I'm a little late to my party, but will offer my two cents as someone who has both participated in 12x12 and online PB classes, like Susanna Hill's Making Picture Book Magic, which is excellent.

I think 12x12 is helpful at two different stages. It is definitely helpful when you are ready to submit, as you would have the opportunity to submit to an agent each month if you are at the gold level.

I also found 12x helpful when I was first starting out in PBs. It helped me find my critique group (though classes like Susanna's where you critique each other's work can result in critique groups too.) 12x also helped me find a community and learn about the industry, though it is not the only way. Nowadays there are many other online groups, like Kidlit411, which can help fulfill this function.

Though the 12x webinars are good, they are quite different from the hands-on craft focus that you'll get from a class. If you feel like you need to focus on craft, that's what I would do. That will be the most helpful part of your journey. And the 12x community will always be there when you are ready.

Best of luck with whatever you decide!

Kirsten
#6 - November 25, 2017, 07:33 AM
Kirsten W. Larson

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I purchased a few of the 12 X 12 webinars or videos last christmas & they were excellent. I took the StoryTeller Academy course & it really helped me work through many revisions of my manuscript & helped a ton. Very in-depth & caters to different stages of learning. Plus you get access to future versions of the course. I opted for a crit group with Arree which was great for getting pro feedback.  (I found my long-term critique group here on the boards. ) I'm currently doing a KBR course (revising your novel/chapter book) and it's great too but the webinars are just late enough that despite my best intentions most weeks I end up going to bed early & missing them - thank goodness for recordings!
#7 - November 25, 2017, 03:37 PM

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I'm currently doing a KBR course (revising your novel/chapter book) and it's great too but the webinars are just late enough that despite my best intentions most weeks I end up going to bed early & missing them - thank goodness for recordings!

Sorry about the timing, Marla! We settled on 8:30 PM Eastern time in an effort to make them feasible across the 4 timezones of the continental US.

#8 - November 25, 2017, 03:57 PM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
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It's a fantastic time Harold! The problem is other things making me tired & I have to choose between staying up or going to bed early... and lately I've been wanting to go to bed by 8 - 9 pm. I really want to make the live version of the next session though.
#9 - November 25, 2017, 05:43 PM

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In case anyone's curious, I decided to do Susanna Hill's Making Picture Book Magic e-course (the interactive version), since I've heard good things about it from a couple of people.

I'm considering ALSO doing the 12 x 12 silver level course --since you have to do the silver level for a year before you get into gold-- but I'm still on the fence about that.
#10 - January 06, 2018, 05:04 PM

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Hi Teresa,

If you have the budget, I think doing 12x12 as well is a fantastic investment. I'm starting my 4th year! Not only are the monthly webinars super educational, you have a community of like-minded folks at your fingertips for support. I've made great critique partners and friends through 12x12. Would love to see you there!

Lisa
#11 - January 07, 2018, 05:15 AM
Lisa Katzenberger
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In case anyone's curious, I just completed the MAKING PICTURE BOOK MAGIC course Susanna Hill offers. It was great.  I produced a much stronger draft than I usually do, and now I have the resources to use for future manuscripts. I did the interactive version and I think it was worth the additional cost.  My only regret is that I really wish I had done this class four or five years ago, when I first started trying to write picture books and was really clueless.  It would have prevented me from having to learn some lessons the hard way.

I am also now a member of 12 x 12. It's amazing and I feel like it's really improved my writing, even though I'm only 3 months in.  I'm only at the silver level, but again, it's definitely worth the cost.   


#12 - March 29, 2018, 11:09 AM

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Thank you for following up, Teresa. This is great feedback and gives me plenty to consider for the next step in my journey!
#13 - March 29, 2018, 11:44 AM
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Hi Teresa,

A very interesting thread. Thanks for sharing it.  I´m a 12x12 member and  it´s been a great learning experience, not only the webinars, but the feedback and comments of different topics.  It´s help me work more on my PBs, too.  I participated in Picture Book Summit for two years and the conference was very instructive and practical.   I brought the Picture Book Blueprint created by Laura Backes.  It has a step by step process to write and revise picture books.  I´ve found it very useful.  She has created blueprint for different types of books: chapter books, easy readers, middle grade.

#14 - April 05, 2018, 03:35 PM

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