Do You Want to Write 12 Picture Books in 12 Months?

In 12 x 12, you’ll get the motivation and accountability you need to get those drafts finished, all with the support of the friendliest writing community on earth. Registration is closed for 2013, but you can sign up here to get information about 2014 when it becomes available.

“I am one manuscript away from completing the 12×12 in 2012 challenge, and I cannot say enough good things about it. If you are thinking you might like to do it — DO IT! If you are thinking you’re not ready yet — DO IT! If you are wondering where you will find the time — DO IT! I promise, you won’t regret it.”Carrie Finison

Already, 2013 participants are raving about 12 x 12. See what they have to say in this video. Then Sign Up to get information about joining next year!

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Need more inspiration? Watch this video from Tim McCanna, one of this year’s participants. More FAQs are answered after the video.

WATCH ME! Ha Ha

Have more questions? Read on for answers to the most common ones. Want more incentive to join next year? Check out some of the testimonials from last year’s participants.

What is 12 x 12?

Simple. We set out to write twelve complete picture book drafts in a given year. One picture book draft per month for each of the twelve months of the year. This means a first draft: beginning, middle, end. NOT a submission-ready piece.

Who is sponsoring the 12 x 12?

Author Julie Hedlund launched the challenge at the end of 2011 after realizing she only completed one full draft from all 30 of the PiBoIdMo ideas she came up with in 2010. She decided to invite others to come along for the journey for support and camaraderie. Don’t know what PiBoIdMo is? Take thyself over there at once!

Who is participating?

More than 450 authors and illustrators at all stages of publication — multi-published, debut authors, pre-published authors and brand new writers, joined the challenge in 2013.

Can I join?

Registration for 2013 is now closed! Sign up here to get information about 2014 when it becomes available!

Who created the incredible 12 x 12 Participant Badge and Banner?

That would be Linda Silvestri, an extraordinarily talented illustrator. Please be sure to visit Linda’s website and her blog.

Do you have other questions? Contact Julie!


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99 Comments

  1. I don’t understand this. I thought agents earned a percent of what you sold – I never heard of paying to get somebody to read your work. Feels like payola – remember – when artists paid to have their music played on the radio. It was illegal.

    Reply

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  5. I thought I had already registered and paid. Have I not?

    Reply

  6. What about a confidentiality agreement? How do you ensure that our ideas will not be stolen?

    Reply

    • The membership forum is private, not open to the public. Members trust one another to provide feedback and be helpful – not to steal ideas. There are never any absolute guarantees, but I’ve found these writers, having worked with many of them for a year already, to be the most honest, generous, helpful people I’ve known. Besides, you can only take an idea – not the execution of the idea.

      Reply

  7. Hi julie, I registered on my phone last week. Was so exited I didn’t wait to get home to my computer. I paid for the top tier but when I started to fill out the registration page, I only got as far as my name and email. My phone wouldn’t show any of the categories below that. I did hit submit but I haven’t received any notification that it went through. I did get a Paypal notice that the money went through though. What do I do now?

    Reply

  8. I just paid for the Gold but there was no registration information. I paid via paypal.

    Reply

  9. I paid for the gold level with a credit card, but the fact that I can’t get into the facebook group makes me wonder if my payment went through successfully.

    Reply

  10. I paid for gold- have paypal receipts and have yet to hear anything from anyone.

    Reply

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  12. Hi Julie, I paid for a bronze level and have a confirmation email, but not sure how to get into the facebook page and not sure if I have access to the membership forum. Can you help me out?

    Reply

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  14. Can you check and see if you received a payment from me? I filled it out and hit the payment button but I did not see where it went through on PayPal. It was for the top tier.
    Thanks, Jan Watford

    Reply

    • Jan, I haven’t seen a payment from you. Can you send me your receipt? Perhaps you paid under a different name? You can use the contact form above to send me an email and we’ll sort it out.

      Reply

  15. If you purchase a Little Golden Book Level membership, are you actually gauranteed a critique of your manuscript, or at least gauranteed that an agent will look at it? I guess, my question is, “Is it possible to pay for a Little Golden Book Package, and not have any of your work seen by an agent?” Are we paying to actually have our manuscripts looked at, or is it for the opportunity of possibly getting them seen. Either way it’s a good opportunity, I just wanted to find out the details before I decide on a membership level :) Thanks for providing this opportunity to so many aspiring writers :) God Bless, Angie

    Reply

    • Angie,

      Great questions, and I’ll add more information under the FAQs too.

      The participating agents/editors have committed to READ each 12 x 12 submission. They were not required to commit to a timeframe for reading them or to give responses to each submission. That said, I know most of these agents personally, and I suspect they will do their best to respond one way or the other, perhaps even with feedback.

      It is similar to attending a conference where you can put the name of the conference in the subject line of the email, and they know to read those first. It’s an indicator that the person querying is serious enough about their work that they’re investing in it.

      In addition, the 12 x 12 submissions will get read sooner than those they are getting coming in from the slush.

      So, to answer more specifically, I suppose it’s possible that you could pay for a Little Golden Book membership and not get any RESPONSES from the agents/editors (although I consider that unlikely), but each and every one of your submissions will be READ.

      Does that help? Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks!

      Julie

      Reply

  16. Hi, I have signed up and paid my first registration amount. Now what should I be looking for?
    My email is leeanimator@cox.net
    Thanks,
    LeeAnn Jensen.

    Reply

  17. Pamela Courtney

    Hi Julie. I am still having trouble accessing the forum. It is saying that I have not registered. On my first day of payment I was able to access the forum without a hitch. Now when I enter the page it does not recognize me except as a guest that should register. When I click on login, it reads that my username isn’t found nor does my email exist. Do I need to email my PayPal receipt and start the process over again?

    Reply

  18. Is there any critique offered at the bronze level other than the opportunity to find critique partners?

    Reply

  19. Hi Julie. I paid for the top tier two days ago and haven’t received confirmation from you. Payment was confirmed by clickbank. I tried to contact you via your contact page, but apprently you haven’t seen it yet. Also this morning left a msg on you fb page.
    Can you pls get back to me and let me know how to access members forum?
    The days are ticking by and I’m eager to get started.
    Many thanks
    Diane L Wood

    Reply

    • Diane, so sorry! Normally I’ve been catching these messages quickly and getting them taken care of. Yours must have fallen through the cracks somehow. I just sent you an email with the registration link. Let me know if it doesn’t come through!

      Reply

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  24. Hello Julie,
    The Little GOLDen Book level would not work for agented authors then?

    Reply

    • Carmela, I suggest the Shel SILVERstein level for published authors, since you don’t need access to submissions. In the SILVER level, you can post requests for marketing and promotion assistance, announce events you are participating in and share book trailers and other videos. Plus you get access to all the critique exchange areas.

      P.S. Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots? was one of my all time FAVORITE books to read to my daughter when she was a preschooler. We’d just moved to Boulder, CO and I loved the idea of a spunky, outdoors-y character (and so did she). Just had to let you know. ;-)

      Reply

      • Thanks Julie,
        As I understand Shel SILVERstein level would not create a conflict of interests for my agent either then… right?

        P.S. SO delighted to hear the back story about your own hiking boot princess. Love it! (I can hardly believe I’ve written 5 in the ‘do princess’ series so far.:)

        Reply

        • Carmela,

          No conflict at all. There are plenty of agented authors participating in 12 x 12! Hope to see you there!

          Reply

        • Barbara Scheer-Hochheimer

          Hi Carmela,
          how exciting to meet you here!!! I love your “princess”! I am born and still living in Germany, but a part of my soul stays always back in the Southwest. The “princess wth the hiking boots” was one of my very first books that I carried back home after spending holidays in Texas. When I returned to TX in 2010 I guess I took the “frog kissing princess” with me in my luggage.
          Warm regards from the snowy and frosty middle of Germany
          Barbara

          Reply

          • Barbara, the German Princess,
            It’s nice to meet you here too! It’s always thrilling to learn the distances that books can go. Thank you for telling me how you originally came upon mine in Texas, then on to Germany. And now you are writing for children yourself? Wonderful!
            My daughter, the inspiration behind the series, has traveled to Germany, loved it so, that she is now studying the language in college, with hopes to return there again one day.
            Best always from a snowy and frosty city in Colorado,
            Carmela

  25. Julie,

    The number one rule in song writing is never pay someone to listen to your song or idea. I have sat in a room and written songs with the best in the buisness and never had to pay someone to play a song I co-wrote on the radio. But now I’m chassing my true dream and that is writing. Do all publishers in this buisness want you to pay them to look at your craft? Is there such a thing as co-writing a childrens book?

    Reply

    • David, please see my reply to Juliealoha above. You are NOT paying to have agents look at your writing by joining 12 x 12, any more than if you got a chance to submit to an agent after attending a conference. You are paying for the entire community and the experience of learning and sharing with other dedicated writers. In fact, I’m just going to copy my earlier response here:

      Julia – it’s the exact same concept as submitting to an agent after a writing conference. One of the benefits of attending those conferences is to get a chance to pitch your work or submit afterwards using a “get out of jail free” card – saying you attended. It’s a way for the agent to know that the submissions are coming from a pool of people committed to the craft of writing. You’re paying to attend the conference. Getting a chance to submit outside of the slush pile is a fringe benefit. Same with this group.

      What 12 x 12 members are really paying for, however, is the year-long sharing of resources, getting direct feedback on their work, getting assistance and critiques, and the opportunity to learn from experts in the business – same as a writing conference.

      Reply

  26. Hello Julie,
    This sounds like an amazing opportunity; however, I live in Africa with some pretty awful internet. Is it worth signing up so I can take advantage of this opportunity? Or do you think I will miss out on too much without being able to do the online conferences? My internet is just hit or miss, so I will never know when it will actually be working. Thanks for your help! Heather

    Reply

    • Heather, that is a tough question, as I don’t know HOW awful/sporadic your internet connection is. Given that 12 x 12 is an entirely online program, it’s true that it would be difficult to get much out of it without online access.

      I suggest you sign up at the level you want to join and try it until the end of February. After that time, if you feel you aren’t getting enough out of it due to Internet connection issues, I’ll give you a full refund.

      Does that work?

      Reply

  27. What about those of us who are both writers and illustrators? Some of our prose is brief, allowing the picture to tell the the story. Does 12×12 deal solely with written manuscripts, or can illustrations and storyboards be submitted for feedback?

    Reply

    • Anne, oh no – there are LOADS of illustrators who are members. In fact, some of them are organizing illustration critique groups too. 12 x 12 is for both authors and illustrators of picture books.

      Reply

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  29. HI Julie! I am very intrigued by this year long online conference you are offering. I just read the post made by Anne Lorraine about author illustrators to which I am aspiring and I was wondering, because I am a little overwhelmed, since I am only just beginning and don’t have any finished manuscripts lying about, am I better off starting with the bronze level and waiting to build my craft or should I jump into the deep end and sign up for the gold level where I can maybe find someone who will be interested in my work? Just need your advice.

    Reply

    • Laura,

      Great question! If you are just beginning, I would advise you to try the BRONZE or SILVER levels. Work on your craft before you start submitting. At the SILVER level, you can post part of your manuscript for immediate feedback from members. At the BRONZE level, you can’t post your ms, but you can announce that you are looking for critique partners. I hope that helps! :-)

      Reply

  30. Do you know how many manuscripts were selected for publication by agents and editors last year?

    Thanks.

    Reply

    • Samantha, we didn’t have the submission option last year, so I don’t have an answer. I do know, however, that very few manuscripts are picked up by agents and editors in a year from new writers, which is why being able to submit outside the slush pile is such a great opportunity!

      Reply

  31. Hi. I really didn’t understand what I was paying for until I started to read through these blogs. I paid for the Bronze level, but I do have something I have finished – I am just waiting on my cousin to create the illustrations…is there a way to upgrade membership if needed?

    Reply

    • Alanna, you can upgrade for the first 30 days of your membership. If you go to the Forum, look under “Membership Policies” in the Nuts & Bolts section and you’ll see a topic dedicated to instructions for upgrading memberships.

      Reply

  32. Alisa Gaston-Linn

    Hi Julie,

    If signing up for the Gold option, can we specifically ask that a particular agent NOT read the MS? I have a completed MS that I revised after attending the Andrea Brown writing conference, and then submitted the MS to her agency but received a “pass.” So I’m hoping that it just wasn’t their “cup of tea” and that perhaps a different agent might be interested. I’m working on several manuscripts and would like feedback as well. Thanks.

    Reply

    • Alisa,

      The agents don’t have access to the membership Forum. You would submit your work to them directly using a special code that lets them know you’re a 12 x 12 member (and therefore elevating it out of the slush pile).

      Details on how the submissions process works is available in the Forum. For feedback, SILVER and GOLD members can post excerpts from manuscripts plus full pitches and queries for direct feedback from other members.

      Hope this response helps!

      Reply

  33. Hi, this sounds great, but we’re halfway through January already. Does the membership run on a calendar year, or 12 months from the date I join? Is the fee prorated for time and the forums I’ve missed?

    Reply

    • Anne, the membership is for the calendar year 2013, so that’s why it’s good to join sooner rather than later. There is no prorating of fees. Registration is open through the end of February, but the sooner you join, the more you benefit. Everyone pays the same fee regardless of when in January or February they join.

      Reply

  34. Hello Julie,

    Can aspiring writers from South Africa participate in 12 x 12?

    Reply

  35. Lane Paul Stewart

    Hi Julie
    I am keen to get on board with the Bronze package, providing motivation and structure to my early stages of writing. I have many ideas for picture books but I am a little unsure of the structure, word count and layout for my writing in this area. Does the membership offer information and writing tools as well as support. It sounds like a great project to be part of.
    Regards

    Reply

  36. Lane, already there has been much sharing of tools for determining the layout of picture books, information about word counts and other aspects of PB writing. 12 x 12 is the PERFECT place to learn!!

    Reply

  37. This sounds great! What do I do next?

    Reply

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  39. Hi, I have paid for Little Golden membership but not sure where to submit my query?

    Reply

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  41. Hi Julie,
    I have paid for a Little Golden membership, but did not receive information regarding how to log in to the membership forum. When might I expect to receive that?

    Reply

  42. Hi Julie,
    Yesterday I paid for a bronze membership through paypal but wasn’t directed to a registration page. When you get a chance, I would love the link. Thank you!
    Erin

    Reply

  43. Sally Biggerstaff

    Hi Julie, I paid for a gold membership and did get a reply that the payment was made. However, I have been given no other information. So, what now? Sally

    Reply

  44. Hi Julie,
    I am very eager to get started but haven’t yet received any confirmation on how to access the information. I registered Monday and received payment confirmation for my Gold level membership a few days ago. I know you must be very busy. I appreciate you looking into this for me.
    Best regards, Michelle

    Reply

  45. hi, do i pay both the one time fee and the quarterly fee?

    Reply

  46. Hi Julie, I purchased the silver membership on the 24th and have received a confirmation of the payment being received but I have not gotten any other information about logging on. I attempted to log in tonight and I was denied access. Do you have record of my purchase? I am REALLY anxious to get started with your 12×12 program! Please let me know what I need to do.

    Reply

  47. Writing is a good activity. But drawing or painting can be uneasy for some people. It is a talent. In this posting I am encouraged to be able to write as well as draw pictures. Thank you very much for giving motivation to me.

    Reply

  48. Laura Carpenter

    Hi Julie,

    I am a new member of 12X12 and can’t log in! I know I am using the correct username and password. Help!

    Reply

  49. Laura Carpenter

    Nevermind. User mistake (mine). ( :

    Reply

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  52. This sounds like a wonderful group/opportunity. How long is registration open. I have already written a story for January. :) February 5th is pay day. Is that too late?

    Reply

  53. Oh goodness I thought this was over at the end of this month! I want to join, but I’m not sure at what level yet! I’m glad that I have until the end of next month to decide. I’ll get started writing now, though!

    Reply

    • Dani, if I were you I’d jump right in and join at the Bronze level. You have 30 days from the time you join to upgrade your membership if you want to, but that way you won’t miss anything! :-)

      Reply

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  57. I’m so excited. I just signed up and cant wait to sign in. Thanks for this opportunity. Sincerely, Tammy(tlcstories)

    Reply

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  59. Hi Julie,
    I signed up Sunday afternoon, but have not been able to sign in. As its Monday night, I thought I’d check. I sent an email to you, but hadn’t heard back yet. Just figured I’d touch base. Thanks!

    Reply

  60. My apologies. I now see that your email was in my spam box. I still can’t get in, but I’ve responded to you there. :)

    Reply

  61. Help. Same problem as kathy and others, joined LGB a week or so ago, no membership jnfo, forum info, what to do next. Can you help, pretty please?

    Reply

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  63. Hi Julie, I signed up yesterday for the Margaret Wise Brown level, was sent to Citibank and paid through Paypal. I did get a receipt from Paypal, but now how do I use my membership? I didn’t get anything from you to activate my membership. Don’t know if I confused the situation because my Paypal account is not the same e-mail address that I use for everything else. Oh, and I was a participant in the 2012 12×12.

    Reply

  64. Thanks Julie but I haven’t received anything. Check my spam/junk folder too. Unless you’re denishashawn with an offer for a dating service?

    Reply

  65. Hi Julie~I am interested in the bronze level~ my question is~ how will you find a critique partner ~also I can`t say I`m someone who critique`s,to me that is another talent~so is that paurt of it~to be critiqued you must also critique?
    And monthly you send a manuscript to that person? Thanks,Julie I was looking for those answers and couldn`t find them. Looking forward!

    Reply

  66. Hi Julie, I paid for a gold membership and got a reply that the payment was made. However, I haven’t been given any other information. Do I wait for an email, Jenny.
    (I paid under the name Andrea A. Kanakaris) Thanx

    Reply

  67. I paid for a silver membership last Tuesday. I got confirmation right away. What do I do next? Thanks! 12x12 sounds like a great thing!

    H

    Reply

    • Hie Julie! After my last comment, I got an e-mail from you, about different things I could sign up for, receive posts from, but none of it concerned 12x12 specifically. It said that my membership was activated, but I did not see what to do next because of

      Hi Julie! After my last comment, I was sent an e-mail to confirm my membership and activate it. I couls sign up for different things to put posts on, but it didn’t say anything specifically about 12×12 and I’m not sure where to go from here.

      Reply

  68. Courtney Johnson

    Is there still a way to sign up? Thanks!

    Reply

  69. Blanche Baxter

    Hi Julie,
    I joined on the last day, Golden Level, with my phone, and then tried to complete the registration but could not see most of the fill in questions. I clicked submit, but am unable to log in. Says my username etc. doesn’t exist. I have the receipt. When will I be able to access the group? And when can I start submitting to agents? Thanks.

    Reply

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