Get that story idea out of your head
and turn it into a children's book!

Makers Self-Study Logo

Makers Self-Study gives you everything you need to learn how to write, illustrate, and submit your story.

(Even if this is your first time writing . . . you don't know how to draw . . . or you feel like you NEVER have time.)

Is this for you?

Do you feel like an imposter every time you think about writing your children's book? Maybe you wonder if you have the time or if you are actually capable of writing something worth publishing.

We'll let you in on a little secret. That is how everyone feels at the beginning of their creative journey. The very first step to actually turning your idea into a book, is believing that you can do it. You'll fit right in here if you are . . .
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  • a dreamer who longs to write or illustrate children's books but also has to maintain a “real job.”
  • a parent deep in the trenches, spending hours reading children's books, and needing to tuck anything for yourself inside a hectic schedule.
  • a current or former educator who knows exactly what types of books the classroom (and world) needs.
  • a professional writer or artist who wants to hone your skills for the children's market.

Your dream of writing a children's book is achievable.

Don't listen to anyone who tells you otherwise (including yourself).

But how do you get started?

Inside Storyteller Academy, award-winning authors and illustrators teach you their storytelling techniques and tips. Our curriculum takes you from having an idea to getting an agent and publishing your book.

You will have 24/7 access to classes and resources at your fingertips. So if you're ready to make your children's book dream into a reality, join us inside Makers Self-Study.

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Fun Fact:

Did you know that taking courses on writing and illustrating puts you in the top 3% of people trying to get their children's book published?

How It Works

What's included in your monthly subscription:
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Plus access to all new signature courses we develop!

Each signature course takes a deep dive into the creative process with six learning modules, printable handouts, guides, and resources.

Clear action items following each lesson (homework!) allow you to implement the lessons through your story immediately.

The best part . . . all the lessons are pre-recorded and available to watch 24/7, as many times as you like, for the duration of your membership.

Never fall behind or miss a replay window again.

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Social Media

2. 35+ craft-based mini-classes

Plus access to all of the new mini-classes we develop each year!

Mini-classes are bite-sized, skill-based courses designed to focus on a specific element of writing, illustrating, or business. 

Most mini-classes are about a hour long, allowing you to elevate your skills in manageable chunks of time.

All of these classes are pre-recorded and available on-demand.

Member Community

3. engaging, interactive community of fellow creatives

You have found your people!

Our community of over 1,000 members (and growing!) is available to support you in your creativity, encourage you through disappointment, and answer questions.

Your dream of writing a children's book could tuck you into a dark corner of your house all alone, or it could be shared with creative, devoted, friends who share the same goals.

Burning the midnight oil

Did you know?

66% of authors also
work a day job?

*data as of 2017

Do you have time for this?

You are busy. You barely have time for the things you NEED to do, let alone the things you WANT to do, especially when the thing you want to do is follow a creative dream that you may or may not have even told anyone about.

We built Makers Self-study for YOU.
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But here is another little tip we've learned over the years. Your dream is patient. You don't need to put unnecessary pressure on yourself.

There is no time limit.

If you can only give yourself a couple of hours on the weekends, then do that. If you have the summer free, create then. Give your dream the time you have, when you have it. It's not going anywhere, and it's totally worth it.

So much to learn inside. Here's a preview.

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Writing Picture Book Manuscripts

Jim Averbeck, Award-Winning Picture Book Author

  • Learn how to turn your idea into a picture book manuscript.
  • Generate new story ideas when you don't have any.
  • Get unstuck and prepare for publication with powerful revision.

“Being a part of such an amazing group keeps me moving toward my goals. There is such a wide variety of course selections. I want to learn it all. But I struggled with finding the time for the workshops within my time zone. Suddenly I was able to take all the courses I wanted at my own pace.”

– Dorothy Wawa, Children's Book Author

Crafting Picture Book Stories

Crafting Picture Book Stories & Dummies

Arree Chung, Award-Winning Children's Book Author/Illustrator

  • Discover a story structure for picture books that works.
  • Understand the relationship between text and illustrations in modern picture books.
  • Learn the formatting and visual storytelling for a picture book.
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Submission Ready

Ariel Richardson and Melissa Manlove, Editors at Chronicle Books

  • Learn what children's book editors are looking to acquire.
  • Hands-on writing and revising to polish your story.
  • Avoid submission mistakes and submit your story to publishers with confidence.

“Storyteller Academy gave me the encouragement and tools to turn my fine art background into a burgeoning career in illustration. This means the world to me, because, I have always known that I wanted to write and illustrate children’s stories since I was little girl stapling copy paper together to make my own books. However, I was lacking mentorship and direction; I never knew anyone who had walked the path before me. I am grateful to Storyteller Academy for carving a clear path that showed me that my lifelong dream is tangible with actionable steps and building supportive relationships.”

– LaTonya Jackson, Illustrator of Hair and the Holy Spirit

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Drawing 1

Alex Leon, Painter and Artist

  • Overcome your fear of drawing by learning how to draw with simple shapes.
  • Unlock your creativity by learning how to draw out of your head.
  • Learn how to draw characters and backgrounds to start telling your stories visually.
Character Design

Character Design

Vanessa Brantley-Newton, Award-Winning Author/Illustrator

  • Create characters that pop off your page.
  • Beginning and advanced artists learn how to design characters for children's books.
  • Learn how to draw expressive characters with consistency.
“I have been seeking to learn more about the process of writing and illustrating children's books for several years, and have definitely made the most progress since joining Storyteller Academy!

– Cathy Wu, winner of Little, Brown Emerging Artist Award for 2021


Start your journey today.


Monthly Membership

  • All access to 21 signature courses on writing, illustrating, and publishing children's books.
  • All access to 42 craft-based, self-study mini-classes.
  • Step-by-step guides, checklists, and worksheets to help you through the creative process.
  • Access to our illustration and writing community of storytellers!
  • Early access to buy a place in a mentored critique group or one-on-one critiques with instructors.

$15 on your first month


Annual Membership

  • All access to 21 signature courses on writing, illustrating, and publishing children's books.
  • All access to 42 craft-based, self-study mini-classes.
  • Step-by-step guides, checklists, and worksheets to help you through the creative process.
  • Access to our illustration and writing community of storytellers!
  • Early access to buy a place in a mentored critique group or one-on-one critiques with instructors.
  • GET A FREE How to Write Children's Books Workbook or How to Illustrate Children's Books Workbook (for ANNUAL membership only).

$240 on your first year



Frequently Asked Questions

I'm really busy. Do I have time to make a children's book?

With the Makers Self-Study membership, you take courses at your convenience, and are able to create children's books with the time you have.


In fact, having a membership will save you time! No more searching the internet for the answers to your questions. No more worrying over coordinating schedules to make live events happen.

Are my stories good enough?

We don't lie to you. Writing children's books is not easy. It takes time, creativity, and thought, but it is a skill you can learn.

If you have a story and the desire to bring it to life, then your story will be good enough.

Inside the Makers Self-Study membership, you'll discover what makes a great story and how to improve your story.

You'll sharpen your creative skills and turn your hobby of writing or drawing into a life-long, successful career.

What will I learn with a Makers Self-Study membership?

You will learn how to write and illustrate children's books. You'll also learn how to get an agent, self-publish, and build a successful business. Basically, it's everything you need to know. All in one place.


Can I buy an individual course?

Occasionally we sell our individual courses, but the Makers Self-Study membership was built to give you access to all of the information you need, whenever you need it. Each course you take, every skill you master, will leave you hungry for the next one.

What is the difference between a signature course and a mini-class?

Our signature courses dive deep into the craft of writing and illustrating. Each course contains pre-recorded lessons and handouts designed to improve your craft one module at a time. 

Our mini-classes are bite-sized, skill-based courses designed to focus on a specific element of writing, illustrating, or business. Ranging from 30 minutes to 8 hours, depending on the topic, mini-classes are pre-recorded and available on demand.

Are these all online? What equipment do I need?

All of Storyteller Academy’s courses can be accessed ONLINE. We recommend that you have a personal computer or tablet for an optimal experience.

What if I am not computer literate?

While Makers Self-Study is completely online to allow for unrestricted access to resources, technology does come with the potential for headaches.

Our student support team will walk you through any technical knowledge you need to know. Our staff is there to answer questions whenever they arise.

If I join the membership, how long does it last, and if I don't think it is for me after all, can I cancel?

You can cancel anytime. And there's a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it risk-free. You can sign up to renew monthly or annually.

Will I get individual feedback?

Makers Self-Study members do not have this feature. If you would like more support, you can purchase more direct feedback through a written critique, a 30-minute one-on-one critique, or you can upgrade to Makers Pro.

Which courses do you offer?

You get access to our 21 signature courses and 42 mini-classes. You'll also receive access to all NEW courses and mini-classes as they are released throughout the year for as along you are member.

Signature Courses:

Build a Lead Magnet

Build and Test FB Ads

Character Design

Crafting Picture Book Stories

Drawing 1: Drawing with Mental Models

Drawing 2: Drawing in 3-D

Find and Build Your Audience 

Graphic Novels 

Hire a VA and Build a Team

Illustrating with Collage

Illustration 1 

Illustration 2

Making Picture Book Dummies

Picture Book Production Design

Picture Book Wordsmith

Plotting Your MG Novel 

Rhyming Picture Books 

Self-Publishing Children’s Books 

Submission Ready

Writing Picture Book Manuscripts

Writing the Middle-Grade Fantasy Novel 


Adobe Illustrator

Best Creative Year Ever

Build an Author Business

Building an Author Website

Crafting a Strong Beginning

Creating Atmosphere 

Creating Characters

Creative Focus and Habits

Drawing People for Children's Books 

Find My Art Style

How to Query Agents

Illustrating Novelty and Board Books

Illustrating Early Readers

Illustrating Middle Grade Covers 

Making Comics


Middle Grade Novel in Verse

Nailing Your Middle Grade Voice

Nonfiction Picture Books

Overcoming Fear

Painting People with Acrylics

Perspective and Point of View 

Photoshop Basics

Picture Book Story Frameworks

Pitch Your Story

Presenting a Winning Portfolio

Picture Book Biographies

Revise Your Novel 

Social Media 

School Visit Presentations 

Storytelling in Rhyme

Symbolism & Storytelling

Textures in Your Illustrations

Unlock Your Maker Mindset


Writing Chapter Books

Writing Early Readers

Writing For the Educational Market 

Writing Humor

Writing Natural Rhyme That Sells

Writing Nature with All 5 Senses

Writing Voice

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