The Main Frustrations of Children's Book Writers

  • How Do I Write It?

    You have an idea for a children's book, but you struggle to get it on the page. It's tough to know how to tell the story so children will really enjoy it.

  • Is It Any Good?

    You wrote your children's book, but you're not sure how to make it better. Sure, kids will sit through it one time -- but will they clamor to hear it a second time?

  • How Do I Publish?

    You have your book but you don't know how to write a query letter, hire an illustrator, approach an agent, or send your book to publishers. It's a very steep learning curve.

Don't Waste Time

I work with a lot of frustrated writers who spent months and even years trying to write and publish their children's book. Let me be your guide and it will radically speed up the process. I've saved thousands of writers from heartache.

Books I've Helped Authors Create

By taking my course, you can transform your idea into a living, breathing children's book, just like all these authors.

A Success Story

See Evelyn's Journey to Publication

  • Evelyn was a writer who had a young child at home, and though she had a great idea for a children’s book, she didn’t know how to write it.

  • My course helped her to tweak her concept, and to get a rough draft on the page.

  • Because of the course, she ended up revising her book thoroughly and then ended up going to a conference and pitching her book to an agent.

  • The agent accepted it and it got published with a huge publishing house in 2019, and even won a prestigious Northern Lights Book Award for Best Nature / Environment children's book.

  • And then she started reading at schools around the country, entertaining children with her story of an environmental superhero who used his superpowers to clean up garbage.

Reviews of the Course

Sandie McCullough

5 star rating

“What an incredibly fun and thoughtful course packed with insider information on how to get your Children’s Book finished and published. The exercises were awesome to help you hone your skills. This is a must take course! 5 stars”

“What an incredibly fun and thoughtful course packed with insider information on how to get your Children’s Book finished and published. The exercises were awesome to help you hone your skills. This is a must take course! 5 stars”

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matt lewis

5 star rating

“Content of course was really good, small chunks easily absorbed. As a published illustrator and author I still gained valuable insight and information from John. Highly recommend this course.”

“Content of course was really good, small chunks easily absorbed. As a published illustrator and author I still gained valuable insight and information from John. Highly recommend this course.”

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Elizabeth Buffolino

5 star rating

“This course was really everything that I've been looking for. I have been googling "tips for writing children's books" for so long, but this course surpasses all of the articles that I have read combined. It is so clear with very useful examples a...”

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“This course was really everything that I've been looking for. I have been googling "tips for writing children's books" for so long, but this course surpasses all of the articles that I have read combined. It is so clear with very useful examples and assignments. Thank you so much John!”

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Thomas DeMuro

5 star rating

“This was a fantastic online course from beginning to end. John is very concise and honest as he guides you from the beginning to the end of the book writing process. His approach is direct and includes all the nuts and bolts while still allowing f...”

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“This was a fantastic online course from beginning to end. John is very concise and honest as he guides you from the beginning to the end of the book writing process. His approach is direct and includes all the nuts and bolts while still allowing for your own personal creativity. I have taken several community college courses on the same topic in the past that cost much more and were not nearly as comprehensive. I highly recommend this course! ”

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Eileen Price

5 star rating

“Even though it took me longer than two weeks, I appreciated the bite sized videos so that you can do the course on your own time at your own speed. You don't lose anything if a few days go by before completing the next lesson. Super helpful, fri...”

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“Even though it took me longer than two weeks, I appreciated the bite sized videos so that you can do the course on your own time at your own speed. You don't lose anything if a few days go by before completing the next lesson. Super helpful, friendly and well presented, extremely respectful of us writers. ”

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Michelle Fitzgerald

5 star rating

“This course is affordable, quick and has many useful parts and information that can be quickly applied and used. John is enthusiastic and practical. I've read quite a few books and blogs about writing children's books prior to this course, but thi...”

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“This course is affordable, quick and has many useful parts and information that can be quickly applied and used. John is enthusiastic and practical. I've read quite a few books and blogs about writing children's books prior to this course, but this course was concise and filled with extremely practical suggestions and ideas, making it well worth the time and money. ”

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Marcia Cope-Hart

5 star rating

“The course covered all aspects of the writing and publishing of children books. The best part was John M.F. himself. His charming personality made it a pleasure to watch and learn the material. I feel inspired and ready to accomplish my dream! 5 ...”

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“The course covered all aspects of the writing and publishing of children books. The best part was John M.F. himself. His charming personality made it a pleasure to watch and learn the material. I feel inspired and ready to accomplish my dream! 5 stars!”

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Holly Owens

5 star rating

“This course is full of bite-sized pieces of information filled with substance and hot tips. I could go at my own pace, review previous videos, and really digest all of the information without being overwhelmed. By the end of the course, I felt lik...”

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“This course is full of bite-sized pieces of information filled with substance and hot tips. I could go at my own pace, review previous videos, and really digest all of the information without being overwhelmed. By the end of the course, I felt like I had an in-depth understanding of what the writing process entails from pre-writing to the marketplace. Best of all, I had (finally) started my first children's book. Thank you, John Matthew Fox!”

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Michael Hall

5 star rating

“John videos and insights make it easy to work on my writing skills and prepare for agents, illustrators and formatting in a friendly assuring way.”

“John videos and insights make it easy to work on my writing skills and prepare for agents, illustrators and formatting in a friendly assuring way.”

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Jayne Caruso

5 star rating

“I am so glad I enrolled in this highly informative and comprehensive course. I'm at editing stage of a children's book manuscript and the information and strategies provided many light bulb moments where I could change or improve certain aspects ...”

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“I am so glad I enrolled in this highly informative and comprehensive course. I'm at editing stage of a children's book manuscript and the information and strategies provided many light bulb moments where I could change or improve certain aspects in my current work. John Matthew covers all areas of the children's writing process, sets out each lesson very clearly and concisely, and makes every video lesson enjoyable to listen to. I took away a much clearer understanding of the children's writing process from this course. I highly recommend it.”

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Paul Felts

5 star rating

“Examples, practical activities, industry insight and much more. This course offers inspiration and ideas to anyone interested in children's books, whatever level of writer you are and whatever stage of publication you are at. The course is short, ...”

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“Examples, practical activities, industry insight and much more. This course offers inspiration and ideas to anyone interested in children's books, whatever level of writer you are and whatever stage of publication you are at. The course is short, sharp, and sweet! ”

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Nicole Juracek

5 star rating

“As a first time children's book writer, I have found this class so helpful. I have come up with other book writing ideas during the session and am going to do through parts of this class again to write my second book. This class has really given...”

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“As a first time children's book writer, I have found this class so helpful. I have come up with other book writing ideas during the session and am going to do through parts of this class again to write my second book. This class has really given me the knowledge and confidence to write my first book.”

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This Course Offers

  • 30 Video Lessons

    Learn how to write, edit and publish your children's book with these practical, step-by-step lessons.

  • Quizzes

    Test your memory of what you've just learned with playful quizzes at the end of each video.

  • Editing Support

    After you've finished the course, you can hire me to personally edit your children's book.

4 Sections of the Course

1. Pre-Writing

Generate the best idea for your book, learn how to build your character, and avoid cliche ideas.

2. The Writing Process

How to use repetition, employ key storytelling techniques, and write illustrator-friendly books.

3. Revision

Learn how to compress your book, choose the exact right language, and find an editor.

4. The Marketplace

(How to Publish)

How to write the perfect query letter and find an agent, or how to hire an illustrator and self publish.

FAQ

  • Do I need to take this course in two weeks?

    No, you can go at your own pace. Start and finish when it's right for you.

  • Will this course be helpful if I've already written my book?

    Yes! There is an enormous amount of information to help you shape and revise your book, as well as the next steps for publication.

  • Will this course be useful if I live outside the United States?

    Yes. The only video specific to the U.S. is the one on copyright law -- all other videos are applicable to writers wherever you live.

  • How long do I have access to the course?

    You have access for one year.

  • Is this course good for Middle Grade (MG) or Young Adult (YA)?

    No, this course focuses on board books, picture books, and early readers. Illustrated books for kids under 8.

Bookfox has appeared in:

Your Takeaways

  • By the time you finish this course, you will have a finished and polished children's book and know the next steps for publication.

  • You'll understand how to pick the right age range, the right length for your book, and the fundamentals of storytelling.

  • You'll have practical know-how about how to work with illustrators, query agents, and self-publish.

Bonus Material

  • Earn a Certificate

    When you finish the course, you will earn a completion certification that shows you've mastered the fundamentals of children's book writing.

  • Access to Instructor

    If you have any questions about the course content, you can post a question within the course and I'll answer it for you.

  • Downloadable PDFs

    To help you with your children's book education, you can download resources which you can consult at any time.

Course curriculum

  • 01

    Day #1 - Pre-Writing

    • Get the Most out of this Course

    • Find Your Best Book Idea (and Avoid these 3 Cliches)

    • 7 Steps to Becoming a Children's Book Author

    • Book Idea Quiz

  • 02

    Day #2 - Pre-Writing

    • The Golden Rule of Page 3

    • Picking a Mentor Book

    • Quiz Time!

  • 03

    Day #3 - Pre-Writing

    • 5 Steps to Choose Your Ideal Age Range

    • 7 Examples of Children's Book Age Ranges

    • How to Build Your Character (4 Easy Steps)

    • A Visual Guide to Children's Book Lengths

    • 30 Questions to Improve Your Character

    • Quiz: Can you guess the age range?

  • 04

    Day #4 - The Writing Process

    • Launch Day! Writing Your First Draft

  • 05

    Day #5 - The Writing Process

    • Repeat, Repeat, Repeat - Use Language Repetition

    • Repetition of Story Structure

    • Repeat after me: I Will Get All These Quiz Questions Correct

  • 06

    Day #6 - The Writing Process

    • Storytelling with Problem:Solution

    • Storytelling through Mystery

    • Storytelling Quiz

  • 07

    Day #7 - The Writing Process

    • The Power of Humor - Be Funny, Zany, Wacky

    • Should I Rhyme or Not?

    • Funny Rhyme Quiz

  • 08

    Day #8 - The Writing Process

    • Who is Telling Your Story?

    • Harness the Power of Emotion

    • Quiz: Mistakes to Avoid

  • 09

    Day #9 - The Writing Process

    • How to Write an Illustrator-Friendly Book

    • Find Your Deeper Meaning - Metaphor and Subtext

    • Quiz: Layers of Illustrations

  • 10

    Day #10 - Revision

    • The Art of Compression

    • The Right Language

    • Compression Quiz: Can You Edit Like John?

  • 11

    Day #11 - Revision

    • Beta Readers - Feedback from Children and Adults

    • How to Choose an Editor

    • 20 Questions for Beta Readers

  • 12

    Day #12 - The Marketplace

    • Why You Shouldn't Copyright (But I'll Show You How)

    • Writing the Perfect Query Letter

    • 3 Fantastic Examples of Query Letters

    • Quiz: Queries and Copyright

  • 13

    Day #13 - The Marketplace

    • How to Find the Right Illustrator

    • Don't Freak Out About Formatting

    • How to Find the Perfect Literary Agent

    • Illustrator Cost Ranges

    • 9 Examples of Formatting

    • A Challenging Quiz

  • 14

    Day #14 - The Marketplace

    • How to Find the Perfect Literary Agent (Part II)

    • A Guide to Self-Publishing

    • 3 Action Steps as We Conclude

    • I'd Love to Know Your Thoughts (Survey!)

Instructor(s)

Instructor Bio:

I’ve spent the last ten years working as an editor and my book “I Will Shout Your Name” was published by Press 53. I've been published in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and won fiction contests at Third Coast and Shenandoah. In a former life I was a college professor — I earned an MFA from the University of Southern California and an MA from New York University, but now I focus on Bookfox full time.

John Matthew Fox

Write, Edit and Publish Your Children's Book

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Even More Reviews!

Gemma Coombes

5 star rating

“Totally new to this, but within a few videos I was flying with my writing and looking critically at my own creations. This course streamlined the crucial points of writing children's fiction - and I didn't know that I needed to know it! On top of ...”

Read More

“Totally new to this, but within a few videos I was flying with my writing and looking critically at my own creations. This course streamlined the crucial points of writing children's fiction - and I didn't know that I needed to know it! On top of this, the tips on the next stages of getting agents and publishing has been insightful and I am excited to continue with the process. I will be recapping all the tips John has given when writing my next story.”

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Belinda Hiebert

5 star rating

“John's course allowed me to go through the content at my own pace. I loved that I could pick up wherever i needed to, go through the videos and rewind when I wanted to hear some piece of info again. The provided pdf's were helpful and really I had...”

Read More

“John's course allowed me to go through the content at my own pace. I loved that I could pick up wherever i needed to, go through the videos and rewind when I wanted to hear some piece of info again. The provided pdf's were helpful and really I had a great time while learning SO much. Thanks John for putting together this great course in an easily accessible and organized platform. ”

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Ann McIndoo

5 star rating

“What a GREAT way to get started! Love the videos, excellent exercises and resources. This answered a lot of questions -- especially the age range and creating memorable characters. Thank you!!! Annie Olson Author of "The Adventures of Emily ...”

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“What a GREAT way to get started! Love the videos, excellent exercises and resources. This answered a lot of questions -- especially the age range and creating memorable characters. Thank you!!! Annie Olson Author of "The Adventures of Emily and Kooper" ”

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Mirela Szitar-Sirbu

5 star rating

“Particularly useful information, very well structured, easy to follow (even for a person who is not a native English speaker). It was a real pleasure to watch the course and do the exercises (and I will continue). I truly appreciate your work.”

“Particularly useful information, very well structured, easy to follow (even for a person who is not a native English speaker). It was a real pleasure to watch the course and do the exercises (and I will continue). I truly appreciate your work.”

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Zac Peter

5 star rating

“This course was exceptionally helpful, entertaining, and kept me on track to creating my children's book. Upon completion, I felt like I had the tools and resources needed in order to make this dream a reality. Thank you!!!!!”

“This course was exceptionally helpful, entertaining, and kept me on track to creating my children's book. Upon completion, I felt like I had the tools and resources needed in order to make this dream a reality. Thank you!!!!!”

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Karen Abramo

5 star rating

“I'm a first time writer and what a wealth of information this is. Hesitated at first to purchase but I am so happy I made the investment. John is animated and interesting and clear and exceptionally helpful. ”

“I'm a first time writer and what a wealth of information this is. Hesitated at first to purchase but I am so happy I made the investment. John is animated and interesting and clear and exceptionally helpful. ”

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Deborah Fraser

5 star rating

“If you are looking this over - DO IT !!! I love this course. The content is perfect, the topics covered are so simply and directly explained that they are totally relatable and understandable. And it covers the lot. Beginning to end of the whole p...”

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“If you are looking this over - DO IT !!! I love this course. The content is perfect, the topics covered are so simply and directly explained that they are totally relatable and understandable. And it covers the lot. Beginning to end of the whole process. It has made the world of difference to me already in the first few lessons. I feel like I have a good understanding of the process now and it is not so out of reach! So grateful I came across this!”

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Vanessa Reilly

5 star rating

“I have been on a number of children's writing course, some with big publishers and this is the first realistic course. John gives fabulous information I have never received on any other course. His ideas about finding an agent and writing a 'qu...”

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“I have been on a number of children's writing course, some with big publishers and this is the first realistic course. John gives fabulous information I have never received on any other course. His ideas about finding an agent and writing a 'query letter' are invaluable. I would highly recommend this course to both new writers and also to those of us coming from a different field of children's writing wanting to to write children's stories. ”

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Leila Kochis

5 star rating

“So glad I signed up. Tips are great and the lessons get right to the point. Love his enthusiasm and conciseness; just exactly the kick start I needed. ”

“So glad I signed up. Tips are great and the lessons get right to the point. Love his enthusiasm and conciseness; just exactly the kick start I needed. ”

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Larry Sterne

5 star rating

“John Matthew Fox gives you your money's worth--and more! He is a charming and enthusiastic teacher who throws himself into showing you how to do this thing! I checked out several courses before choosing this one. I can't speak for the others, but ...”

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“John Matthew Fox gives you your money's worth--and more! He is a charming and enthusiastic teacher who throws himself into showing you how to do this thing! I checked out several courses before choosing this one. I can't speak for the others, but I am a very satisfied customer. He does a great job!”

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Jared Barel

5 star rating

“As a published writer of comic books and graphic novels, I found this course to be the perfect gateway into the world of children's books. I found it while searching online for children's book rules and age ranges and what I found with this course...”

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“As a published writer of comic books and graphic novels, I found this course to be the perfect gateway into the world of children's books. I found it while searching online for children's book rules and age ranges and what I found with this course was so much more. If nothing else, the energy and passion John brings to his lessons really had me excited to get to work on my book. ”

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Sophie Nguyen

5 star rating

“Everything about this course was wonderful. I don't know what else to say; but this is money worth spending. ”

“Everything about this course was wonderful. I don't know what else to say; but this is money worth spending. ”

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Success Story

TESTIMONIAL FROM AUTHOR NANCIE MEEK: "A friend who was 85 read my first published book on Amazon, "The Only Lonely Cow," which I wrote after taking your course. She made every effort to tell her friends about it and bought extra copies to give to people. She died Tuesday morning after I visited her on Monday. It gave me joy to know my book brought her joy."

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