Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 22, 2020

Opportunity: ICL Bedtime Picture Book Contest

This contest is your chance to write a picture book for bedtime or inspired by bedtime. We’re looking for your most original stories. (Remember, Goodnight Moon has already been written. Think beyond your first idea.) We want to see manuscripts that will make a child say, “Again! Again!”

Use your imagination to craft a picture book manuscript aimed at children ages four to eight. Manuscripts must be previously unpublished and 500 words or less.

Deadline: March 31, 2020

Reading Fee: $19.00

$1,300 Cash Prizes 

  • 1st prize = $1,000
  • 2nd prize = $200
  • 3rd prize = $100

Online Workshop

All entrants are invited to a FREE instructional online workshop with our esteemed judge and the Director of the Institute of Children’s Literature and Institute for Writers.

Free Critique

Winning entries will be workshopped by our judge to help writers understand what worked and what could be improved to make it submission-ready.

Here’s what you need to know…

  • Entries should be no more 500 words. (It can be a lot less than 500 words.)
  • Entries should be a complete picture book story with a beginning, middle, and end, as suitable for submission to an agent or publisher.
  • No illustrations should be submitted with your entry.
  • For this contest, picture book manuscripts should be appropriate for bedtime reading.
  • Entries should be aimed at readers between four- and eight-years-old.
  • Entries must follow manuscript submission guidelines as stated on our Contest Rules page HERE.
  • Entries must be submitted via our online form by midnight Pacific Time on March 31, 2020.
  • There is a $19 reading fee per manuscript to enter the contest.
  • You may enter more than one manuscript but each entry requires a $19 reading fee.
  • Every writer who enters will be invited to the online workshop for free where the winning entries are critiqued. (Non-entrants pay $7.)
  • Minimum age to enter the contest is 18 years of age.

Submissions will be judged on clarity, originality, completeness of the story, potential in the market, appropriateness for the age range, and your ability to match standard manuscript format (double spacing, clear contact information, no creative use of fonts).

The winning entries in this Bedtime Picture Book Contest will be announced at a live online workshop within 90 days after the contest closes. All contest entrants will be notified of the event details by email and be invited free of charge. (Non-entrants may attend for a nominal fee of $7.)


Talk tomorrow,


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