skip to Main Content

Hi everyone! I’m children’s author Julie Hedlund, founder of the 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge, also known as the “fearless leader.”

Why did I start this challenge? I am a firm believer that if you want to be a successful picture book author, you have to write a LOT of picture books. At the end of November 2011, I had just completed my second year of Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo), but looking back on my writing output for the year, I saw I’d only written one new manuscript and revised two. That meant I now had 59 unused ideas and not much to show for an entire year of writing potential.

I realized that I would never get my picture book writing career off the ground if I kept producing at that pace. I decided to challenge myself to write one picture book draft for every month of the year. In the spirit of keeping a community of accountability, I invited others to join me.

Little did I know we would end up with 250 members in that first year! But over the course of that year, something magical happened. The participants of 12 x 12 became a family of writers. We kept each other motivated and accountable, provided support when times got tough, celebrated each other’s successes, and shared endless amounts of resources for improving our craft.

The challenge has grown exponentially each year, with 750 members in 2014. Yet, the strength of the community endures and is the biggest benefit of participation.

Since I started the challenge in 2012, I have published two storybook apps for the iPad and two print picture books with Little Bahalia Publishing, thus becoming a PAL (Published and Listed) member of SCBWI. I signed with an agent in 2013 and now have multiple books on submission with publishing houses. So I am living proof that the more you write, the more you learn, and the more you commune with others, the greater your success will be. Just take a look at the 12 x 12 Success Stories page for further inspiration. That opportunity – to grow as a picture book author in every way possible – is what we offer you with 12 x 12.

What follows is my “official” bio, and you can find more at my website, Ciao for now!

Julie Hedlund is an award-winning children’s book author, founder of the 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge, monthly contributor to Katie Davis’ Brain Burps About Books Podcast, and a frequent speaker at industry events such as SCBWI conferences.



Her picture book, A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS, Little Bahalia Publishing, 2013, first published as an interactive storybook app, was the recipient of the 2014 Independent Book Publisher’s Association Benjamin Franklin Digital Gold Award. Her storybook app, A SHIVER OF SHARKS, Little Bahalia Publishing, 2013, was a 2014 Digital Book Award winner. Her latest book, MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN, released in September 2014 from Little Bahalia.


PB Subs Logo FINAL copyJulie is passionate about helping fellow writers achieve success. With her friend and colleague Emma Walton Hamilton, she created The Ultimate Guide to Picture Book Submissions – a soup-to-nuts resource for crafting a winning query and landing an agent or book deal.

HTMM Logo copyAs a single mother of two young children who earns a complete living as an author-entrepreneur, Julie also created a course called How to Make Money as a Writer to help other authors build their careers and support themselves financially.


Julie lives in beautiful Boulder with her two children, ages 12 and 9, and a large and terribly misbehaved hound dog. When she is not writing or entrepreneuring, she loves reading (duh!), hiking, skiing, cooking, movie and game nights with the kids, and sipping red wine at sunset in the company of good friends and family.

Back To Top