Four weeks of in-depth guidance on writing a book that wins over the hearts of children and meets the needs of publishers
Personal feedback from John Claude Bemis on your manuscript, so you can submit it to publishers with confidence
Personal feedback on your query letter and synopsis, so you can win over agents and publishers
Full access to our private community of writers, so you can connect with your fellow students, even after the course is complete
Access to live office hours with John Claude Bemis and all of our instructors, even after the course is complete, so you can stay part of our community, and learn from our entire faculty of instructors
Too many authors make simple mistakes that make traditional publication almost impossible. Fortunately, these mistakes can be avoided with the right knowledge and guidance.
After years of success getting his children’s books published (with Disney and Penguin Random House), John Claude Bemis knows how to overcome the major stumbling blocks authors face when they attempt to publish their novels.
These are not the types of things they teach in MFA programs -- but these are the things every successful writer eventually learns. (Usually, the hard way.)
John’s four week workshop includes many of his best strategies for writing books that connect with kids – but he also goes far beyond just writing your book. The course gets into the nitty-gritty details of actually getting published, so your book can get in print, in bookstores, and in the hands of your friends, family, and even strangers.
During this course, you’ll learn:
- How to think like a kid -- so your book can connect to children on a deep level
- John’s simple “story reversal” strategy for keeping readers glued to the page
- How to avoid simple mistakes that make it virtually impossible to get your book published
- What publishers expect from children’s book authors – whether you’re writing picture books, chapter books, or middle grade books
- How to choose “comp titles” that will grab the attention of publishers (and how to easily avoid choosing ones that are major red flags)
- The real-world process for landing a publishing deal with a major publisher
During this course, John will help you polish your book, and then give you personal help getting it published. By the end of this course, you’ll be armed with a polished submission packet you can use to win over agents and publishers. More importantly, you’ll know the process for getting published and you’ll have an expert ready to guide you through the process.
The course starts on April 11th, and ends on May 6th. Everything is hosted online, via our digital learning platform. The course includes weekly lessons you can complete on your own time, live office hours, and detailed feedback on your writing.
Enrollment is strictly limited to just 20 writers. (No exceptions.) If you’re thinking about enrolling, I encourage you to do so right away.
Not only is John Claude Bemis a talented author and enthusiastic teacher, he also is empathetic and acknowledges the confusion and doubts that writers often face. His lectures (video and text) are filled with helpful information and charged with h...Read More
Not only is John Claude Bemis a talented author and enthusiastic teacher, he also is empathetic and acknowledges the confusion and doubts that writers often face. His lectures (video and text) are filled with helpful information and charged with humor—an excellent combination. I learned so much in four short weeks and enjoyed the discussion with John and the rest of the class. Highly recommended!Read Less
John Claude Bemis's workshop, 'Writing for Young Readers' was time and money well spent. He covered every aspect of writing for this genre. Step by step he led us through the writing process and then finished off with how to get agents, editors an...Read More
John Claude Bemis's workshop, 'Writing for Young Readers' was time and money well spent. He covered every aspect of writing for this genre. Step by step he led us through the writing process and then finished off with how to get agents, editors and publishers to look at our manuscripts. He gave plenty of examples and answered all our questions. I highly recommend this course and Mr. Bemis.Read Less
I truly enjoyed John Claude Bemis's online class on “Writing for Young Readers.” His warmth and willingness to help are matched only by his knowledge of the craft and of current children's literature. The format was very user-friendly, and I espec...Read More
I truly enjoyed John Claude Bemis's online class on “Writing for Young Readers.” His warmth and willingness to help are matched only by his knowledge of the craft and of current children's literature. The format was very user-friendly, and I especially liked the engagement with other class members on the platform as well as the choice to complete assignments on my schedule. The text was to the point yet written in a relaxed manner, very accessible. My only critique is that I would have liked another video or two from Mr. Bemis as his enthusiasm and encouragement is most evident in that medium.Read Less
I loved this class with John because it applied to my current writing project. Rather than random assignments, John was focused on the work we were already doing and how to refine it. So many invaluable insights into the world of getting published...Read More
I loved this class with John because it applied to my current writing project. Rather than random assignments, John was focused on the work we were already doing and how to refine it. So many invaluable insights into the world of getting published and what it takes. I cannot say enough things about the detailed feedback he gave to my assignments. John is so generous and willing to help. Thank you for a great experience.Read Less
I learned so much from this class. John is an excellent instructor and provided much needed suggestions. I highly recommend it!
I learned so much from this class. John is an excellent instructor and provided much needed suggestions. I highly recommend it!Read Less
I really enjoyed this course on writing for children. John was very friendly, helpful and encouraging, and clearly had a good deal of expertise. There was a broad range of information included on writing techniques and also on getting published.
I really enjoyed this course on writing for children. John was very friendly, helpful and encouraging, and clearly had a good deal of expertise. There was a broad range of information included on writing techniques and also on getting published.Read Less
Thank You for Your Magic Words And for Awakening My Child A Review by Suzanne Burgoyne Before signing up for John Claude Bemis’s Writing for Young Readers course, I sent for four of his novels from Amazon. From what I had read about Joh...Read More
Thank You for Your Magic Words And for Awakening My Child A Review by Suzanne Burgoyne Before signing up for John Claude Bemis’s Writing for Young Readers course, I sent for four of his novels from Amazon. From what I had read about John’s novels, I’d gotten the impression that he used some strategies similar to ones that appealed to me: basing his narrative on a fairytale or mythological structure and finding new possibilities in the original story. I adored his tales, and discovered that my assumption was correct when I read his novels—and also when he gave me feedback on two of my short stories. On the first story, “The Perfect Princess,” he said, “I love how you subverted so many fairy tale tropes.” He saw clearly what I was doing, including which fairytale I was subverting: “This is a fun play on the Rumpelstiltskin story!” Of course, things about that fairytale were personally meaningful to me, embedded in the first line of my story: “There once was a proud papa who couldn’t stop bragging about his perfect daughter.” As John points out in his lessons, there are truths in fairytales and legends. The second story I submitted to John, “Hippia Huckabee’s Chucklebeans,” began with my delight in alliteration: “Hippia Huckabee lo-o-o-ved chucklebeans. Tasty, chewy, gooey, chunky, crunchy, munchy chucklebeans. As long as she munched chucklebeans, Hippia Huckabee never frowned. Never groaned, never griped, never growled.” John’s encouraging feedback: “Your language is so playful! Young readers will love all that.” John’s feedback on my submissions was not only encouraging, it was insightful. He pointed out some ill-used rhymes and ways to deal with that problem, as well as other ways to improve my writing. But his critique sparkled with positive reactions and made me feel that continuing to work on the story was a worthwhile endeavor. John’s videotaped and written suggestions are full of insights that led me to think about aspects of writing for children I hadn’t considered before, ideas such as “when readers encounter characters doing things they wish they could do, it empowers them.” I like empowering people, which is why I studied Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed and founded an interactive theatre troupe that portrayed social justice issues: race and gender and health and the like. I could use stories I write to help empower children, too. John also gave us useful exercises, one of which I found particularly inspiring: a list of 10 things that appeal to me and 10 experiences I’ve had. I enjoyed revisiting experiences and dreams and starting to think about stories that might emerge from those true and imaginary happenings. Or better yet, from combining the real and the imaginary, such as summer puddles full of tadpoles that transform into itsie bitsie toadsies. I just re-read those lists and want to return to them in search of story seeds. He also gave us a list of questions to which we might respond when wondering if our story is ready to submit: for instance, do I know who my protagonist is? Is my protagonist the character in the story who changes the most? I also like the question he suggested: “What is it about your story that captivates you?” I think the child I used to be is still alive within me, and that child reawakens when I read a story I’ve written that calls out to her. Or a story someone else has written that calls out to that child who lives in fantasy. John recommended current children’s books we should read, and named books about writing for children he thought we’d find valuable. Among the books about writing for children that John proposed was Gail Carriger’s The Heroine’s Journey. I ordered it from Amazon and am looking forward to reading it. I have, of course, read Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey. I also took lots of notes about the online suggestions he gave us. I’ll need to come back to them to remind myself of the new ideas that inspired me. Or maybe I’ll leave the images simmering in my subconscious until they emerge into fully-grown children’s stories. Not least of all, John is very kind and personable, a friendly man with a sense of humor and concern for his students as people. He gave us two “office meetings” which a number of his students attended. I’m rather a shy person, so I didn’t offer much conversation at the first meeting in the first week of class. But by the office meeting during the last week, I had gotten to feel comfortable enough with John to ask him questions which combined the personal and the literary, such as why he hasn’t published the third volume in the Out of Abaton series. No, I won’t tell you what that reason is. You’ll need to take John’s workshop and ask him yourself. You’ll be glad you took the workshop. By the way, I’m particularly interested in writing for children (I took lessons in acting in children’s theatre, starting when I was eight). So now that I’ve retired from teaching theatre in higher ed, I hope to keep in touch with John as I continue to work on my art and craft. . . . . SuzanneRead Less
Personal Feedback on 3,000 Words of Your Manuscript
Help Crafting Your Query Letter and Synopsis
Expert Guidance on Meeting the Needs of Publishers
In addition to the 4 weeks of in-depth lessons on the art & craft of children's books, John Bemis is offering personal feedback on student writing. He will give you detailed feedback on the 3,000 words of your manuscript, help you polish your query letter, and provide feedback on your synopsis -- so you can present your book in the best light possible to agents and publishers.
The Course is Limited to 20 StudentsBecause of the personal feedback John is providing, the course is strictly limited to 20 students. Once we reach that number we will close enrollment.
Daily lessons, available to study any time on our online learning platform, hosted by Thinkific.
Feedback and discussion with John via our online discussion platform, email, or our private Facebook Group.
When you are ready, John will provide feedback on your manuscript, query letter, and synopsis.
John Claude Bemis is an established children’s book author. His middle-grade trilogy, The Clockwork Dark was published by Penguin Random House. The Out of Abaton Series is being published by Disney-Hyperion Books. He is also the author of the picture book Flora and the Runaway Rooster, published in collaboration with Heifer International.
In addition to writing, John regularly visits elementary schools as a guest author. A former elementary school teacher, he is a winner of The Excellence in Teaching Award from UNC-Chapel Hill.
As a teacher, his passion for sharing children’s literature with his students grew into a passion for writing, and, eventually, a successful publishing career.
He now lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina with his wife and daughter.
What is the course schedule?
The course starts on April 11th and ends on May 6th. Each week, you will get five lessons you can study on your own time, and feedback on an assignment from John Claude Bemis. This is in addition to the text-based discussion for each lesson.
Note that you will be able to submit your work for feedback after the course officially ends, but we ask that you do so within six months of the start of the course.
You will also get ongoing access to live office hours, so you can continue to get answers to your questions, even after the course has ended.
How much time will the course require?
Expect to spend around 30 minutes a day on the course. Some days will require less work, some days will require more. Daily lessons can be done on your own time. The meetings with John will be scheduled to best work for the entire class, and will be recorded for those who can't attend live.
How many students will be allowed to enroll?
Because of the personal feedback John is providing, the workshop is strictly limited to 20 students. Once we reach that number we will immediately close enrollment.
How much time will I have to complete my work, so that I can get John's feedback?
We understand that everyone works and writes at their own pace. Though the primary teaching part of the course is focused on four weeks, you are not required to submit your work during that time.
You are welcome to study all of the material at your own pace. We do ask that you submit your assignments within six months of the course starting.