Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

Posted: December 24, 2014 in Writing
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Today I bought another feather for my cap.  Membership in the scbwi — the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.  Because, you know, I write children’s books.

Well, so far just the one.  But that’s sort of the point.  I’m in that sinister twighlight between writer and author, and I need someone to guide me out of the darkness.  That’s what the scbwi is for.

Upon paying my $95 I was immediately rewarded with unlimited access to a whole host of valuable resources created and maintained specifically for writers of children’s books — from picture books and early readers, through middle grade to young adult.  Such resources as The Book: Essential Guide to Publishing for Children, the bi-monthly SCBWI Bulletin, podcasts, master classes, discussion boards, mentorships, book launch parties, and conferences where you can meet with editors and publishers face-to-face.

My membership also automatically enrolled me in the regional association, in my case California: North/Central.  And the regional conference coming up in May happens to be held about 2 miles from my house.

As for critique groups and other personalized help, I already belong to an excellent online service, Critique Circle, which is very active, very fair, and has proven to be extremely helpful (I passed my entire manuscript though there, one chapter at a time as I was writing it).  But as good as CC is, it is often rather hit-or-miss whether you will connect with readers willing to critique your work who actually write in your given category.  The scbwi is, of course, exclusive to writers of children’s books.

I naturally have not had time to explore all of the resources available to me in the short time I have been a member.  However one thing I have discovered that really caught my eye was the list of grants available to authors.  Specifically unpublished authors with a work-in-progress.  The scbwi offers a grant every year in six different categories of children’s books to unpublished authors with a finished manuscript (I happen to be such a person), and the winner’s manuscripts will be submitted to a hand-selected group of editors with an endorsement from the scbwi.  There’s even a Late Bloomer award granted to an unpublished author over 50 with a WIP (I also happen to be one of these.  Ahem).

Probably the first thing I’m going to do is to dive into The Book, mentioned above.  It is available to members as a free e-book or for a nominal fee of $10 a printed and bound copy will be shipped to you.  I already have my digital version cued up on my iPad, in iBooks.  So, if you’ll excuse me, I have a WIP to publish….



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