Monday, September 27, 2010

Mentor Monday: community and support for children’s book writers

Once in a while, we all need a community. Writing is notoriously solitary work – possibly even more so, now that we can do so much of our research from home.
The internet can help! (No surprise there.) Here, then, a few websites and blogs that I find inspiring, refreshing, encouraging or just fun. Note that these are not necessarily “how to” sites, although some of them have tips and publishing information as well as encouragement and community. (If “how to” is what you’re looking for, begin at Harold Underdown’s page: )

Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments.

CAUTION – as we all know, it is completely possible to venture into the web and get lost – or at least, thoroughly sidetracked. The search for community is not an excuse for not getting anything written . . .

A place for children's writers and illustrators to gather and share information, help each other and have fun while learning the business of writing and illustrating for children. Also a lively message board. Verla’s been supporting children’s writers since the old BBS days.

Yahoo groups – Yahoo has become the 900 pound gorilla for interest-based mail lists and groups. If you belong to any yahoo group, you can join others by going into and searching for interest areas. Each group develops its own personality, chatty or taciturn, focused or free-flowing. If you aren’t a member of a yahoo list already, you’ll need to establish a yahoo id. Don’t set up the yahoo email unless you really want another email to check! (On the other hand, if you want to join lists relating to mental health issues or other potentially embarrassing subjects, maybe a unique yahoo email just for those lists would be a good idea – it’s free. Some groups are open, and all you need to do is sign up. Others require moderator approval before you will be allowed to post to the group.

Children’s Writers and Illustrators --

Their Description
This list is for the discussion of writing and illustrating for children in all media, including such topics as creativity, work styles and techniques, dealing with rejection, and so on. We do not discuss child-related issues such as parenting or health; we discuss writing and illustrating.

The primary focus of this group is trade and educational publishing. We do sometimes discuss topics related to self-publishing and micropress publishing, and writers and illustrators who have chosen these tracks for getting their work published are welcome to join.

We do allow off-topic posts, but we ask that they grow out of on-topic discussions. Sometimes we are a very prolific list!

Please note that Children's Writers and Illustrators is a discussion group, not a critique group.

New England chapter of SCBWI -

Their Description

This forum is intended for the exchange of information among members of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators in the New England region.

If you are a member of SCBWI (from any region), you are welcome to subscribe. Please start by sending a message to the address stated below, INCLUDING YOUR FULL NAME so we can confirm your SCBWI membership. This name does not need to appear in your public messages, but must appear in your subscription request. Thank you.

Non-fiction for kids --

Moderator Deanne Durrett keeps this group strictly focused on non-fiction writing, and self-promotion is frowned upon. She also started a facebook group which is more free-form.

Write 4 Kids – Description

Their Description

A home for professional and pre-professional children's writers who want to discuss the highs, the lows, (and the woes) of the writing life.

This is another old group, having been reconstituted on dejanews (which was eventually absorbed into yahoo) after the old Genie system died.

There are many other groups on yahoo, so wander around a bit and see what sounds interesting. Or, slide over to Writer’s Digest,  where they have got a full-service website that hosts a forum, blogs, and numerous groups. Note that you will have to register even to explore, and this is the first website I’ve ever registered on that required you to upload a photo – although I suppose it wouldn’t have known the difference if I’d uploaded a picture of my dog. You also have to join specific groups if you want to post to them.

Of interest on Writer’s Digest are:

This WD group started by the editor of Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market welcomes all who are interested in writing books/materials for young readers

Young Adult/Crossover--

Is your heroine/hero 18+ years of age? Are you interested in reading/writing a YA manuscript that isn't about highschool and bubblegum? Then welcome to a group that supports a genre that's growing at a staggering rate!

Of course there are lots of other groups here, too, based on everything from genre to gender and from region to religious affiliation. There’s also a forum which seems to feature both general discussion and specifics related to the content of the magazine – yet another login was required and I decided I’d had enough!

Finally, I’ll mention the CBI Clubhouse, which is the online reincarnation of the Children’s Book Insider newsletter. This is a lively community with lots of information available to members as well a forum and a chat – but the membership costs $4.49/month, less if you pay for a year at a time. This includes the subscription to the Insider as well as full access to the website, and you may well decide it’s worth it. I let it go because I needed to save not only money but time, and all this community stuff can be time consuming!

But no man – or writer – is an island, so swim out and find yourself some buddies to cheer you on and hold you up as you build your career.

No comments: