Once Upon A Time, in the days when I realised that it was writing for children that I really enjoyed, I started listening to writing podcasts. I stumbled on an interview with an American writer who talked of the joys of finding her community - a tribe called SCBWI that they all called SCWIBI because it was easier to say.
I listened enviously as she talked about the conferences, the critique groups, the grants and awards available. I sighed - how lucky to have this wonderful facility. If only I lived in America.
But then, the omniscient wizard Google revealed that lo and behold there was also a SCBWI right here in Australia.
And not only Australia; SCBWI had over 80 regional chapters all around the world! I joined up with this amazing tribe and lived happily ever after.
So, aspiring word magicians, what is this tribe I speak of? SCBWI, The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, is a professional not-for-profit international organisation for authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults.
With a mission to support the creation and availability of quality children’s books around the world, SCBWI fosters a vibrant community of writers, illustrators, agents, educators, booksellers, librarians, translators, editors, publishers, bloggers, enthusiasts and more.
Run by volunteers, membership is open to anyone with an active interest in, and passion for children’s literature. From networking and community events both in person and online, to professional development opportunities such as conferences and retreats, SCBWI membership is a must for anyone taking the profession seriously.
There are unique opportunities to market and promote your work, plenty of resources such as bulletins, podcasts, a recommended reading list that will make you want to cancel everything and curl up with a book immediately, and a SCBWI essential bible: ‘The Book: The Essential Guide to Publishing for Children.’
Once you join, you will soon be scouring the shelves for books by wonderful people that you have chatted with over a cake and a cup of tea, or listened in awe at a presentation that they have given. Whether writing alone in a regional town, or coming together in the big smoke, you can be assured that ‘SCWIBI, because it's easier to say’, is now your tribe.
Find out more:
Pintrest: www.pinterest.com.au/scbwi (international)
** NB: most links are for the Australia and NZ regional chapter. For other regions please see the main website www.scbwi.org
Introduction by Fiona C Lloyd