I recently received notification that my membership to SCBWI was due to be renewed. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this organization, according to its website it was founded in 1971 by a group of Los Angeles-based children's writers. "The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is a non-profit , 501 (c)3 organization which is one of the largest existing organizations for writers and illustrators. It is the only professional organization specifically for those individuals writing and illustrating for children and young adults in the fields of children’s literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia. Several of the most prestigious children’s literature professionals sit on the SCBWI Board of Advisors.
The SCBWI acts as a network for the exchange of knowledge between
writers, illustrators, editors, publishers, agents, librarians,
educators, booksellers and others involved with literature for young
people. It serves as a consolidated voice for professional writers and
illustrators the world over. As a unified body, the SCBWI acts as a
powerful force to effect important changes within the field of
children's literature, promoting new copyright legislation, equitable
treatment of authors and artists, and fair contract terms. There are
currently more than 22,000 members worldwide, in over 70 regional
chapters writing and illustrating in all genres for young readers from
board books to young adult (YA) novels, making it the largest children's
writing organization in the world.
The benefits of membership in SCBWI are many.
The SCBWI sponsors two annual International Conferences on Writing and
Illustrating for Children as well as dozens of regional conferences and
events throughout the world. The bi-monthly magazine, SCBWI Bulletin, offers thousands of dollars in Awards and Grants for
writers and illustrators, and provides vital market information on
the craft and business of writing and selling books for young readers.
The SCBWI also presents the annual Golden Kite Award for the best fiction and nonfiction books for young readers, and the Sid Fleischman Award for Humor."
I have to back up a few years when I had let my membership lapse
because I didn't feel there was an advantage to belonging and paying
the dues, which today is eighty-five dollars for a new member and seventy dollars to renew. At the suggestion of my editor, Bonnie Bader (who's on the board of SCBWI) I re-joined last year. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I really enjoy their newsletter and once again being a part of the larger community of writers. I think it's an individual decision if you want to become a member, but I have to admit that I'm happy to know that such an organization exists and that for now I'm a part of it.