Makers Self-Study Logo

Write your story with the same Creative Process used by
award-winning children’s books authors and illustrators.

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

Quick Question . . .

Do you dream of writing a children's book but struggle with self-doubt or feeling lost?

Are you . . .
little sister
  • 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.
  • an educator who knows exactly what types of books the classroom (and world) needs.
  • a writer or artist who wants to hone your skills for the children's market.
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Did you know?

Taking courses on writing and illustrating puts you in the top 3% of people trying to get their children's book published.

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

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

How do I get my stories Published?

You’ve got an idea for a children’s book but where do you go from there? Unfortunately, having an idea isn’t enough. Dreaming about making a children's book isn’t going to make it a reality.

So how do published authors & Illustrators transform their ideas into award-winning picture books? They use a creative process to create stories and rely on a creative community for feedback and revision.

Mastering the creative process with a community of creative people is the most effective way to transform your ideas into award-winning children’s books.

Storytellers aren’t born, they're created.

We collected the creative processes that help storytellers create award-winning books that kids, parents, editors, and agents LOVE and BUY.

Introducing the Makers Self-Study Membership!

Inside the Makers Self-Study Membership, you’ll learn the Creative Processes behind award-winning children’s books taught by professional authors, illustrators, agents, and editors from the children’s book industry.

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.

“Storyteller has provided for me a wonderful resource for classes and professional feedback. The instructors are knowledgeable and caring. They truly do want to help us to create our best work possible. Even though Storyteller Academy is growing larger every year, it still feels like family to me. The connections I've made here are real and meaningful.”

– Bonnie Kelso, author/illustrator of Nudi Gill: Poison Powerhouse of the Sea

“I wanted to learn everything I could about creating picture books. Instructors at Storyteller Academy have introduced me to so many mentor texts. It’s like having a best friend who is super knowledgeable and just piles up your arms with good books. And I don’t just mean the books that have won awards. I mean the books that kids love.”

– Laurie Elmquist, author of City Baby

Learn anywhere, anytime.

With two membership levels, you can select the one that is exactly right for your goals and your schedule.

What's included in your membership:

20+ Signature Courses on writing, illustrating, and publishing children's books

Create your children's book with the creative processes of award-winning authors/illustrators.

What are your creative goals? Whether you're a beginner or more advanced, each course at Storyteller Academy is designed to help you with a specific goal. Choose your course and start learning. 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.

Foundational and Advanced Courses

Say goodbye to feeling stuck and wondering what to do next.

Our foundational courses will help you build a solid foundation for storytelling. You’ll learn how to develop ideas, write manuscripts, make dummies, create characters, and submit your book. And if you are ready to take your work to the next level, we've got advanced courses ready. You’ll learn everything from how to craft your voice, how to write rhymes, how to illustrate, how to create graphic novels, and more!

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Crafting Picture Book Stories
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Character Design
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Rhyming Picture Books
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Picture Book Masters
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Illustration 2
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40+ craft-based mini-classes

Our on-demand 42 craft-based 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.

Social Media
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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.


Start your journey today.


Monthly Membership


  • Instant on-demand access to 10 Foundational courses and 11 Advanced courses on writing, illustrating, and publishing children’s books
  • Instant, on-demand access to 42 craft-based, supplemental mini-classes
  • Time saving checklists and worksheets to guide you through the creative process


  • 24/7 access to a knowledgeable, supportive community of fellow storytellers.


Annual Membership

  • Everything on monthly membership
  • Get a FREE Children's Book Written Critique
  • Save up to 2 months worth of membership



What's Possible?

“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

“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

Storyteller Academy continues to teach me both the fundamentals and the nuances of creating children's books. Beyond this, the process of taking courses and creating for them has provided joy and calm in a challenging period of life. I’m really grateful to SA for that.”
– Mary Catherine Amadu
Jim's course gave me so many wonderful tools to use for developing story ideas, for revising, and for fine-tuning them. I came up with three manuscripts I'm excited about and, although they are not all complete, I know how to approach them. The best part is that I feel more capable than I did before the course, more eager to revise, and extremely lucky to have had this opportunity. A surprise addition to these comments is that I've been offered agent representation and accepted. This all happened thanks to one of my favorite manuscripts that I wrote in Jim Averbeck's excellent class. I followed it up with a one-on-one critique session.”
Ronna Mandel, Author and KidLit Blogger

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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Makers Self-Study Membership

Your membership rate will return to the standard $30/m starting in month two.

Your membership rate will return to the standard $300/y starting in year two.

Makers Pro Membership

Your membership rate will return to the standard $85/m starting in month two.

Your membership rate will return to the standard $850/y starting in year two.