The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, or SCBWI, is a brilliant organisation for published and unpublished writers and illustrators. The website will tell you better about it than I can (www.britishscbwi.org and www.scbwi.org), but here’s a personal view on the organisation in case you’re thinking of joining.
There is a huge amount to be gained from joining the SCBWI.
On the personal front, being part of this group has made writing feel like a profession and one like any other with colleagues and friends. For many people, writing can seem like a lonely business, but it just doesn’t feel like that at all for me, and that has everything to do with the SCBWI.
I am in email contact most days with friends and colleagues that I’ve met through SCBWI; once every five weeks, I meet up with between six and nine local members for our vibrant, exciting critique group; I am a member of the online picture book critique group and am in regular contact with members of that group; and I am in touch with other members that I have met through numerous SCBWI events. And there’s a daily digest which I receive via email every day with news and interesting information from other members, and which I participate in myself. It is a very friendly, welcoming organisation that supports published and unpublished writers and illustrators brilliantly.
On the information front, we are regularly sent emails from the international organisation (based in the US) about news relating to the children’s publishing world, and six times a year, we are sent a magazine full of useful and interesting articles. Words and Pictures, the British Isles Region magazine, again with interesting articles about authors and illustrators and the craft, comes out four times a year online. And the events are excellent and extremely valuable, especially the annual Writers’ and Illustrators’ Conference, which takes place in Winchester every November, and the Professional North Series (held in Lincoln) and the Professional Series (held in London) and various Masterclasses and speaker events and workshops held around the country.
On the networking front, again, the organisation has been invaluable. I have met many editors, agents, authors and illustrators through meetings and conferences. And I have made several extremely successful leads through meetings with editors at various events.
I hope you’ll consider joining –and if you do, please do come and say hello at some of the events.