Those of you in the 12 x 12 “know” realize that this post is late because: 1) my scheduled July author had to cancel right before I went on a week-long Internet-less vacation, and 2) my hard drive crashed immediately upon my return from said Internet-less vacation. Luckily, files have been restored and I am back in action!

Normally I try not to repeat featured authors. After all, there is so much talent out there in the kidlit space, I want to provide a stage for as many as possible. But I was in a serious bind this month and as many of you know, Katie Davis is a close friend of mine, and she graciously offered to pinch hit for me.Β 

We brainstormed many possible topics for the post, as Katie is an expert in so many areas. πŸ™‚ At last I realized what I really wanted was a post about how experimenting with video and making videos can benefit your picture book writing. As a graduate of Katie’s Video Idiot Boot Camp course, I have been so amazed and liberated by my newfound ability to think visually in a way I never was before. It has definitely helped me with my PB writing. Previously, whenever I would dummy a PB, it was always by breaking down the words. But learning to storyboard for videos changed all of that. I feel I’ll never write a PB the same way again.

When I started seeing other VIBC students making similar comments in the class Facebook Group, I knew we had a whopper of a post topic. And of course, Katie made it a video post. And as an added bonus, the video features three special guests, two of whom are beloved 12 x 12 members! So go ahead! Watch the video and find out why Katie is skiing in the summertime!! The read on to find out what you could win this month.

In addition to the fabulous prizes Katie is offering (see below – there will be THREE winners this month), she is also offering a special opportunity for any 12 x 12 members who want to take Video Idiot Boot Camp. The early-bird pricing expired three days ago, BUT 12 x 12 members will be able to get the early-bird rate through the month of July. That means if you decide you want to take the course, you’ll get a $50 discount.

Before I get to the details on that, let me tell you what Katie is offering this month’s winners. One lucky winner will get a FREEΒ 30-minute consultation with Katie on ANY topic related to PB-writing or the business of writing. It could be about videos, social media, marketing, a critique – the choice will be YOURS, lucky winner. PLUS, two additional winners will receive a $10 coupon for any item in Katie’s store.

If you decide you want to take VIBC, follow this link or any of the links to VIBC in this post. Add VIBC to your cart, and when you get to checkout, enter the special code exclusive to 12 x 12 members.* Update the cart and then check out. Voila’! You’ll get the discount.

THANK YOU to Katie for creating such a unique lesson on PB writing on such short notice and for the generous giveaways. Write on everyone! πŸ™‚

*The discount code will be available in the 12 x 12 Facebook Group documents and the 12 x 12 Membership Forum.

Categories: 12 x 12, 12 x 12 Featured Author, Authors, Creativity, Friendship, Giveaway, Goals, Picture Books, Skiing, Video Idiot Boot Camp, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,



  1. Katie is just plain AWESOME! (as is VIBC!) Great prizes! (but I’m getting a “Youtube API error” when I try to view the video…)

  2. Skiing in summer and storyboarding while writing. Two great ideas! Thanks for the enthusiastic tips from Katie, Beth, Tim, and KIm.

  3. Loved the faces, Beth! LOL!

  4. Videos, visualization and picture book writing – great post! Thanks, Katie!

  5. Now I can see the video — it was fun to help out with it! And I’ll reiterate what I said before, Katie and VIBC are AWESOME! And those are awesome prizes she’s offering!

  6. Absolutely mind changing, to storyboard an idea before writing a word! Great videopost Katie. Since a goat c-section and a broken tooth in June knocked my video idiot dreams in the head, I am salivating for my next opportunity to take this course. I know it’s worth it at any price, especially with the testimonies coming from all of my cohorts.
    And, Beth, love those expressions! Hilarious.

  7. Great video Katie. Can’t wait to finally start your course later this month. Beth love the mug shots!

  8. Katie is such a star stepping in at the last minute with such quality stuff! I am still cracking up at Beth’s expressions! I will definitely me doing the VIBC at some point.

  9. You are the perfect person to teach this course, Katie! So comfortable in front of the camera. I have seen the work of a couple of your students, already, and was super-impressed! Great post!

  10. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. How brilliant is the idea of storyboarding your draft ideas! Whenever I think of a story, I do see bits of it in my head first. Tim hit it on the head. And oh that Beth, is such a hoot! I love her vid short. I wish I could take advantage of the July price for this Boot Camp. I would LOVE just LOVE to have my early learners be part of this process. I’ve always wanted to use this tool on my blog with my lit & music program. I want parents to see exactly what their child is gaining from our sessions together. Oh, but I will, I must have this. It won’t be this month, but soon. I”m so glad I have such great resources at close reach. I appreciate you Katie and Julie Thank you.

  11. wow! this opened my eyes. I look forward to learning how to storyboard a video once we have moved into our new house & the dust has settled!

  12. No wonder why my ears were ringing this morning! I thought that I would try to start a story using a dummy notebook with plastic page protectors and dry erase markers. Story boarding sounds like it certainly would force the writer to think in more concise terms and actually see how the pages would turn. Katie, taking your video boot camp is certainly in my future; thanks for this post. :0)

    • Donna, that’s actually an interesting idea – I’d go with it! My only worry is that if you “delete” (ie, erase) something, you wouldn’t have a record of it. If it were me, I’d forget it! Maybe if you make notes along the way…

  13. Very awesome Katie. Very great tips in the video!

  14. I can’t watch the video at home (bandwidth issues) but can’t wait to watch it in town with good coffee and free wifi. πŸ˜‰

  15. GREAT video, Katie! I can’t wait to start the boot camp lessons and learn all this stuff first hand!

  16. Wow! You’re very generous, Katie! I’d love to learn how to make videos properly.

  17. Fun and thought-provoking post and video. Will definitely check out the course details. Thanks!

  18. I signed up last week but haven’t really started yet. What am I waiting for? an earthquake? oh never mind. erase that. I think I”ll take that first class out of the folder right now. πŸ™‚

    • Seriously! There are no earthquakes here in NY – well, almost never! So you better get on the stick! We want to see your geniousness! Plus the Facebook group is SOOOO FUN. And generous and just lovely.

  19. Great post, Katie…you are an Energizer bunny…I LOVE your enthusiasm and marketing pizazz!

    I do story-boarding with the kindergartens I visit…we read a story and then they create a three-box story-board…beginning, middle and end. They can choose to do the story we read OR create their own story…what thrills me is that most create their own.:) I’ve not thought of doing the story-board before I write a story…love your out-of-the-box thinking, Katie!

    I’m one of those hesitant, I-can-make-a-video-people…I may have to take the leap at some point soon…after all, I do jump out of a perfectly good airplane two years ago.:)

    • Vivian, did you mean hesitant CAN’T make a video people? I was that way – I was JUST creating a webinar about Video Idiot Boot Camp and writing the story about my beginnings as a video creator and how awful I was at it! If I can get this good at it – and I’m nowhere near the best then anyone can do it! What I know how to do is create effective and creative videos and I know how to teach people who don’t think they can do it that they can… Beth Stilborn has shown GREAT courage in this whole leaping-in-with-her-entire-being thing! I’m so impressed with Beth I can’t begin to tell you. Well, I guess that was a beginning. 😎

      • Yes, Katie…what I meant was I think I ‘can’t’ do it.:) Right now, we are in the midst of an overwhelming clear out of scores of years of accumulation in preparation for a move back to the east coast. When the dust has settled and we are settled in (probably by the end of the year), I will revisit the Video Boot Camp offer. πŸ™‚

  20. Thanks for giving me yet another way to approach picture book writing! For my next draft, I’ll try storyboarding with sketches before writing–looking forward to it.

  21. Awesome video, Katie! I’ve been watching all your video boot camp promos. I want to take the class! I eventually will just waiting for my money tree to grow.

  22. Such a fun post! I love the idea to storyboard during the brainstorming stage. Super smart idea! Thanks, Katie!

    • You’re welcome! I have to give props to Julie! She definitely was a big part of the plan! And everyone in the video, talking about how they were using the storyboarding from VIBC in their writing…it was a slow dawning for me!

  23. Hahahaha. I would love to take this course. As soon as I can save up the bucks. Great way to look at our writing. Thanks Katie! *waving*

  24. Such a fun post and super silly video! I make story boards too and totally agrre how helpful it is!

  25. Thanks, Julie! I was trying to think whose faces would I put in the skaters bodies and then I didn’t have enough time to find someone else and thought it would be funnier if I were skating with myself. Subsequently, every time I went past that part of the video I started laughing. Of course, my kids always tease me that I do have a habit of laughing at the own jokes!

  26. Great idea on storyboarding. I’ve always done it post-writing, but I want to try Tim’s idea of doing in the brainstorming phase. Brilliant!

  27. Self proclaimed idiot here. Very curious, Katie… πŸ™‚

    • Hey, Marcie! How’ve you been, girlfriend?! You know it was Julie telling me she was “an idiot when it came to videos” that I thought of the name Video Idiot Boot Camp! Then she actually said those same words, “I’m a self proclaimed video idiot!” Now we just say Vidiot! Saves time so you can get right to the video making!

  28. I feel behind the times regarding video and all the online things, but you make it sound not only easy and actually fun, Katie.

  29. I might actually be too visual (if that’s possible). Is that possible? My problem is applying the (scary) technology to all the stuff in my head without spending a tremendous amount of time trying to figure out which buttons to press or click. (And THEN after all that, being satisfied with the outcome.) Vidiot might be just what I need. Thanks for making it all so much fun.

  30. Melanie Ellsworth

    I really want to watch Katie’s video, but I keep getting a “YouTube API error (0)” message when I click on the video. I’ve tried a couple of different web browsers and still get the same error message. Does anyone know of a workaround for this?

  31. There’s definitely an issue with the video. I’ve been trying with no luck, even after updating all software, etc. Between my husband and I we tried with 3 devices and 4 browsers. I usually can’t watch the videos in Safari with my Mac, for some reason, but usu. can see them in Firefox. Anyway, reading the comments was helpful, and I’m sure at some point I can watch the video – I really really want to! I do storyboard visually in my head as I write, and even see my characters moving around, not static like a picture. So it sounds neat (and challenging!) to take it to the video level, esp since whenever I try to put my visions down on paper, even rough sketching, I get so disappointed at how far short they fall.

  32. Melanie Ellsworth

    The actual YouTube link for the video is:
    but when I go there, it says “This video is private.” So I think Katie will need to change a sharing setting or something to make the video available again.

  33. I did see the video at the start of the month, not sure why it is not working now. Thanks for sharing your take on story boarding Katie.

  34. I love the idea of storyboarding! Thanks for sharing your ideas with us, Katie! πŸ™‚

  35. HELP! I am late reading this post….and after reading all the comments I am desperate to see that video! However, my screen says there is a youtube error and when I click on the video it just disappears and won’t play. Is there another link to this video? It sounds like an amazing, must see, story changing idea!


  36. This sounds very exciting

  37. Great July post! Thanks Julie and Katie πŸ™‚
    Saving up my pennies to get my hands on that video Boot Camp!

  38. I have been following Katie for a while now and always appreciate what she has to say. So, I was really happy to see her featured here. Unfortunately, I keep getting a YouTube error message when I try to watch this video…I’ll try again later.

    • Finally got the video to work. Thanks, Katie, as always for your words of wisdom on creating picture books. Creating storyboards makes perfect sense!

  39. Love the storyboarding–it’s perfect planning for a picture book. And it’s an activity that inspires ideas.

  40. I fold a paper into 32 squares and then just write the first few words of each page from my story in each square to see if it will fit. Thanks for offering another way to storyboard!

  41. First of all, I love Katie Davis. πŸ™‚ She is really inspiring! I’ve also become freakishly attached to storyboarding. It seems to help with pacing and clarifying the “real story”. Thanks for this post!

  42. Oh Katie always so helpful. Can’t believe all the stuff you are up to with your podcast, video idiot bootcamp, etc…maybe you are a robot πŸ˜›

  43. Thank you Katie for all the fun and good info. I am so happy to be taking VIBC!

  44. Thanks for another great post and more fabulous ideas! 12 x 12 is amazing!

  45. Thanks for the post – I wasn’t able to watch the video, but based on the comments, I know that it was full of great ideas and funny too (what else would we expect from you, Katie?). As an illustrator, I do storyboard my stories and I once even had a template (which I lost) which told where in the storyboard (what pages) the problem should be set out, the obstacles, the crisis, and the resolution.

  46. I’m not able to watch the video either! But I’ll be back because judging by the comments it was well worth seeing. I will be taking your course one of these days. I’ve seen others video results and can see how beneficial the class was! πŸ˜€

  47. Thank you for this incredible post! I love Katie’s content…She always seems to know what’s needed and gets it out there! I can’t wait to try this class as soon I get the funds together. πŸ™‚

  48. Great, great idea!!! Thanks so much.

  49. Jessica Pilarski


  50. The video was just what I needed to launch me into doing more videos…I am an artist and a writer….and I definitely think in art layouts when I write my scenes…and being visual is essential ingredient for PB…I loved Katie’s relaxed and easy going approach and hoslw she incorporated the three members with funny photos – Beth was my fav! I feel better about the video process and agree that videos are the new approach on the internet and in networking…and doing business…I hope more of your featured 12×12 authors will more videos as incentive to get us doing so as well…;) thanks

  51. This looks like a blast! It’s on my bucket list now:)

  52. Enjoyed the video. I have to admit, it did get me thinking about the possibility of making videos. It may be down the road a bit, but I can now understand how helpful that art form can be for pb writers. Thanks Katie! And thanks, Julie!

  53. Margaret Greanias

    I missed this the first time around. Making videos actually sounds really fun and I can see how it would be helpful in developing that picture book mindset. Loved seeing the 12×12 authors! Thanks Katie and Julie!

  54. Fun video with such helpful information! Thanks, Katie! πŸ™‚

  55. Love the video!!! Great info packed action. Go SKIING KATIE! haha.
    Story boarding really does help with visuals and gets the word count down.

  56. I am in the midst of VIBC right now… and while I am slacking significantly in the video department, I love it so far! Great video!

  57. Thanks Katie! Great video! I really enjoyed the VIBC course!

  58. Your enthusiasm is contagious, Katie! Thanks for the boost.

  59. looks like so much fun and I am so intimidated by doing video. Thanks for the encouragement.

  60. Katie,
    When I first found your website last year – one thing that definitely made an impression was the video content. You really have a gift for choosing the right music and images to create engaging and informative videos. Thanks for sharing some of your knowledge.

  61. Sure wish I could view the video, but we are in an area with sporadic WiFi. . .and I’m using an IPad. Arrrrrrrgggghh! You always have clever and fun ideas, Katie, and I’m sure this video is no exception. Julie, what useful tool for story boarding. . .who would have thought!

  62. What a great post – thanks for the wonderful advice.

  63. Thanks for sharing the video!!

  64. I am looking forward to making my own PB video soon..Thanks for the inspirational video.

  65. It’s always a joy learning from you, Katie! You have such a strong voice in every video you create! I enjoyed Video Idiot Boot Camp, and am applying those skills in a regular fashion. Thanks!

  66. I hope to one day have the funds to take Video Idiot Boot Camp. Your video in this post sure was inspiring, not to mention fun to watch. Thanks for offering the discount on the course. Even if I can’t join in the fun right now, I still appreciate it.

  67. All my hours spent in the editing booth in college, from when I thought I wanted to be in television, won’t go to waste! I never thought I would be able to integrate my love for editing with my love for PB writing, but I am excited to see how this will pan out for me. Awesome post!

  68. Great post! Thanks so much Julie and Katie!!!!

  69. Kathleen Cornell Berman

    Thank you Julie and Katie for another great post. It all makes perfect sense. Picture book writers need to hone their creative, visual skills. And Katie’s video boot camp sounds fun.

  70. Sharalyn Edgeberg

    Thanks for sharing. Like the info on storyboarding. Thanks again.

  71. Thanks for an inspiring post, Katie. I’m a very visual person and use the storyboarding tool when I taught writing to elementary kids. Now I’ll use it for myself too!

  72. Pamela hamilton

    I like the idea of story boarding first….sort of like a visual outline.

  73. I enjoyed this post and the video along with it. Thank you so much Katie for offering these wonderful prizes! We are so lucky to have a chance to win.

    I wont be able to take the course this time around, though it looks like a great course. I’d really like to take it. My friend Amanda who is great with video keeps encouraging me to make videos myself. I know a lot about creating videos already. I took a lot of computer animation courses in college and that included storyboarding. Even though I know how to do all these things I still see a lot of value in your course. It would allow me to focus on creating videos. Right now I could create them, but I think this would inspire me and teach me more of what I need to know. Hopefully I will be able to take this course in the future! Thanks again for everything!

  74. Hi Katie! Thank you for your contagious excitement, enthusiasm, and expertise. I am resolving to getting my writing life back in order as the kids head back to school in the next few weeks. I have your video boot camp at the top of my wish list! Thanks again for the awesome video!
    Beth Thaler

  75. Hi Katie, thank you for the valuable information.I hope, someday, not to be such a video idiot. This is very important information in today’s world where video prevails. Angie πŸ™‚

  76. Wow, this is intriguing. I’ve not ventured down the video path yet, but this makes a lot of sense. Thank you for sharing!

  77. Super post! It’ll be fun to delve into videos πŸ˜€

  78. I am loving the course, and am so inspired by what I am learning, experimenting with, and cannot wait to put it all into action! Nicky Johnston

  79. Thanks, Katie! Never thought of video before to help with pacing. Makes so much sense!

  80. Thanks for the great post, Katie! I look forward to taking your class in the near future!

  81. Hey Katie! Thanks so much for this incredibly creative post on the video way to storyboard. I’m so new to all this, I can’t even say “video idiot”. It comes out as “vidiot”, so that must be one of those brain burps! Anyway, I toast to your post, and I’m putting VIBC on my wish list ! πŸ™‚

  82. As someone with an advertising background, and experience with storyboards, I can see how making videos could help with writing — visualizing — picture books. Now tell me, Katie, how someone who doesn’t yet have a book to promote can use videos.

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