PDA

View Full Version : Writing societies, do they help?



Drachen Jager
07-07-2010, 11:30 PM
I'm thinking about joining the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and I wonder if it's worth it.

Does anyone have experience with them or with similar organizations? Are they a great asset to an aspiring author? Do Agents care if you're a member?

Thanks in advance for any and all info.

Smish
07-07-2010, 11:37 PM
SCBWI is definitely worth it -- if you actually go to the conferences and events (even just your regional events). Anyone can join, so just being a member isn't going to necessarily benefit you in any way. However, if you actually go the events and network, it's VERY useful.

Many regions do allow you to attend their conferences and events even without being a member (but often charge you more, and members get first dibs). So, it may be worthwhile to find out if that's possible in your region. It's the networking and learning experiences that are valuable -- not the membership card.

I've been a member for a couple years and will always be a member, even after I've reached my publishing goals. SCBWI is that great, in my opinion.

ETA: Agents don't necessarily care that you're a member, as I said above. However, many agents with closed submissions speak at conferences and events, and they often open submissions to participants at those conferences. You can also meet one-on-one with agents and editors at many conferences, which can help get your foot in the door. I know several authors who met/got connected with their agents/editors at SCBWI conferences.

DianeL
07-07-2010, 11:40 PM
I don't know about that particular organization, but I can say - as a person who is NOT a joiner, ever, at all - that joining James River Writers and particularly atteding their annual Conference (which is second to none, and I highly recommend it) has been central to my even completing a novel at all. The education available in all areas of the business, and the support and activity, are invaluable. I'm incredibly grateful for the sense of community it provides, as well as the resources, programs, networking and contacts.

If you know anyone in the group, talk with them and see what they have gotten out of it.

Ryan_Sullivan
07-08-2010, 01:38 AM
I'm thinking about joining the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and I wonder if it's worth it.

Does anyone have experience with them or with similar organizations? Are they a great asset to an aspiring author? Do Agents care if you're a member?

Thanks in advance for any and all info.

I haven't joined yet, but will, and will be going to the conference. My agent STRONGLY advised joining SCBWI and going to the events/conferences etc. so I'll just pass that advice along.

Linda Adams
07-08-2010, 01:47 AM
Yes, some agents do care. I was at a writing conference last month, and the agent I had breakfast with specifically mentioned this. She saw belonging to one of the organizations as a sign that you were learning all you could about your genre.

spike
07-09-2010, 03:18 PM
Yes, some agents do care. I was at a writing conference last month, and the agent I had breakfast with specifically mentioned this. She saw belonging to one of the organizations as a sign that you were learning all you could about your genre.

I've heard agents and editors say the same thing. And not just the national group. The consensus was that if you join any writer's group, you are showing a professional seriousness.

BTW, I met these people at the writer's conference run by my writer's group. Just by luck, I was the volunteer who made sure the agent/editor pitch appointments went smoothly. I was able to chat with many of them during their breaks.

Paranormal_Writer
07-09-2010, 06:36 PM
Joining SCBWI was the best thing I ever did for my writing career. A week after I had received my membership I went to one of their 'Agent Parties' and ended up meeting my current agent there. We got on really well, I pitched my idea to her, and she asked to see the first three chapters (I hadn't even finished the book at that point!) but she loved it and the rest is history as they say.
It's a great way to make industry contacts and meet others who are as serious about writing as you are. Also, you get a magazine sent to you quarterly which is pretty cool too.

So yes, I would say its well worth joining! :)

C.T. Richmond
07-09-2010, 09:04 PM
I joined SCBWI a year and a half ago and I'm really glad that I did. I found my first critique group through the SCBWI forums, and I've made some terrific friends at various SCBWI conferences. (Granted, you don't have to belong to SCBWI to attend most of these conferences, but some of the organizers give preference to members.) I also love reading SCBWI's magazine.

I'd say go for it!

Shadow_Ferret
07-09-2010, 09:11 PM
Here I was thinking you were talking about writers forming their own society. Live to write, write to live.

Susan Littlefield
07-11-2010, 03:54 AM
I love Redwood Writers, my writing club! I learn so much about the business side of writing, I interact with other writers and I get out of that isolated lonely place I find myself when writing. I have met and know several established writers.

Writing societies do not teach writing (they advertise classes that do), but they offer all kinds of wonderful benefits (some listed above). It all depends on what you need.

Christine N.
07-11-2010, 05:50 AM
ETA: Agents don't necessarily care that you're a member, as I said above. However, many agents with closed submissions speak at conferences and events, and they often open submissions to participants at those conferences. You can also meet one-on-one with agents and editors at many conferences, which can help get your foot in the door. I know several authors who met/got connected with their agents/editors at SCBWI conferences.

This. My NJ chapter has one of the best regional annual conferences in the country (mostly because we are close to NYC and the conference organizers put the conference near the train station). So well known we had people from NC and Puerto Rico come up for it. I met TONS of editors and agents, and the conference gives you stickers to put on your submissions envelopes, so you can get into otherwise closed houses and agents. I have subs with three major publishers that I never would have otherwise.

Plus you get to talk with industry people when you go. Not only do you learn tons, after you go to a few, important people start to remember your face and name. So when your sub comes across their desk, it's not just another faceless author.

My chapter also has multiple events during the year, like Mentoring or First Page workshops.

I haven't used my national membership for much, but the regional membership makes it completely worth it for me.