Why Picture Book Writers Should Join 12 x 12


In 2012 I joined the first ever 12 x 12 challenge. The premise was simple: write 12 picture book drafts in 12 months. Since then 12 x 12 has grown and developed into more than just a challenge. It has become an important community and opportunity for picture book writers. I would HIGHLY recommend any aspiring picture book writer to join.

Why? These are my top reasons for recommending picture book writers join 12 x 12:

  1. You will learn so much about writing picture books and the kidlit industry. Seriously. As well as being involved in a community of other kidlit writers, some of whom are already published or who are extremely knowledgeable about picture books, you will also have the opportunity to learn from industry professionals.
  2. Community. If you ask any member of 12 x 12 what they love most about 12 x 12 they will most likely tell you ‘the community’. As I said above, there is a plethora of knowledge about picture book writing that fellow 12 x 12ers are willing to share. There is a genuine desire to help each other succeed. Between the Facebook group (where you can ask for advice, share resources and celebrate successes) and the forum (where you can get your picture book MS or query letter critiqued, learn more about the kidlit industry or connect with fellow writers) you will find a generous, kind-spirited community to share your writing journey and help you grow as a PB writer.
  3. It’s like a PB writing conference that lasts all year!  There are monthly webinars that are available exclusively to members. These webinars involve industry professionals, such as editors, agents, published authors and more. There are opportunities for professional critiques, as well as a plethora of other opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to you.
  4. Opportunity to submit to agents. For those who join at Gold level, you have the opportunity every month to submit to a literary agent who might otherwise be closed to unsolicited queries. Sometimes these agents even reply with feedback.

It is honestly the best writing community I have ever been involved in. You will learn so much, develop connections and be presented with opportunities unavailable elsewhere. I really can’t recommend it enough to fellow picture book writers.

You can find more information HERE.

If the membership fee is a bit off-putting, apparently you can do a 6-month payment plan through Paypal. Honestly, it is completely worth it. I promise.

12 x 12 is currently open to join for this year. You have until 29th February 2016 before registration closes for the year. Feel free to say I referred you 🙂

7 thoughts on “Why Picture Book Writers Should Join 12 x 12”

  1. Hi, Jo. I also participated in 12×12 in 2012, but when she put a price on joining that put it beyond what I could do at the time. I know there is a FB group, but is the Forum also on Facebook – or how is it accessed?


    1. I understand the price is a bit intimidating. If you can afford it, though, it is well and truly worth it (and with the payment plan through Paypal it is a bit more viable as you have 6 months to pay it off). If you consider the cost of attending writing conferences, it actually works out to be quite good value for money. I know, however, that it is still just not viable for everyone. There are several scholarships available each year, including financial need scholarships, unfortunately they have already closed for this year.

      The forum is run through Julie Hedlund’s website. I don’t know if you’ve ever attended Write on Con, but the forum is like that. You have to be a member to access the forum.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Jo, for this helpful response.

    For me, currently it’s more the fact that she started charging after people got interested, although now the cost could be worth it with all she has added over the years. My main nagging concern is the time it takes to be committed to the challenge; I don’t know if I would be wise in taking on 12×12 with how my life is (constantly back and forth between two houses as a family caregiver) or if I would be wasting my money. I do need help working my stories into well-developed and thought-out manuscripts, though. That’s where I’m stuck. Can I commit to 12×12 and manage to keep up?

    I have never attended Write on Con. If I don’t have to use FaceBook to access the forum then that’s a plus for me.

    2016, my year of change. I have to decide soon what to do.

    Thanks so much, Jo.


    1. You definitely don’t need Facebook to join the forum.

      The stuff Julie has added over the years, really does make it worth joining. She puts a lot of work into making 12 x 12 worthwhile for writers. Even if you just take the time to listen to the monthly webinars, you will get so much out of it. It sounds like the forums would be really helpful to you as you would be able to post your stories for critique in the critique forum.

      Obviously if you are investing money into a membership for 12 x 12, you want to make sure you will make the most of it. But perhaps making the investment will also give the push to really commit to your writing journey this year?

      I don’t want to sound like I’m pushing you into it–only you can know if you can commit the money and time. I just know from my experience that it has been worth it so far. The webinars alone have taught me so much and it really is a generous and supportive community.

      Write on Con might be another good option for you. It is a free online conference that runs for about 3 days in August. It’s for kidlit writers (picture book writers through to new adult) and includes webinars from industry professionals and a critique forum. HOWEVER, it didn’t run in 2015 and I don’t know if it is no longer running at all, which is unfortunate as it was a great opportunity for kidlit writers who are otherwise restricted by money or location.

      Liked by 1 person

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