With all the contest & grant excitement I’ve had over the past few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about the remarkable community in the children’s book industry and the support I’ve received throughout my short 2-year writing journey so far.

I’d like to share some places to go for networking. As a new writer or illustrator, you might not know about the vast village of resources there are. There are more networking resources, but here are a few of my favorites:

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
The SCBWI is an amazing group of industry professionals and aspiring writers and illustrators. This is a fellowship that I can attest first hand, invites “newbies” in and embraces us with inspiration, encouragement, and resources.

In addition to the endless resources on the website, they offer continuous meetings and conferences throughout the year, both locally and nationally (and internationally). For those who have polished their work-in-progress manuscript(s), there are contests and grants available. I am extremely grateful to have been added to the talented group of grant winners this year. Read about my Barbara Karlin Runner-Up Grant HERE and my Writer's Day contest win HERE.

For any new children’s writer or illustrator, I highly recommend that you make joining the SCBWI a top priority. Then, get involved with your local SCBWI chapter through their on-line list serve in order to keep up with your local SCBWI community. You’ll hear about local events and have an opportunity to connect with people in your area who can offer you support.

Verla Kay’s Message “Blue Board”
This message board is an endless resource to answer your questions about the children’s book industry. It’s a place that you’ll quickly realize that you aren’t in this thing alone. People all over the globe are going through the same things you are (or have previously).

This amazing network of industry professionals and aspiring writers and illustrators are here to help and offer encouragement throughout your journey, whether you have never been published or have published 1000 books.

The Children’s Writers Yahoo Group
This was the first Children’s Writer’s community I joined and it was through this group that I learned about the SCBWI. This list serve group has almost 3000 members.

Like Verla’s message board, it’s a place where you can choose to be a fly on the wall or you can ask children’s writing/book related questions that will be addressed by veterans who are established in the industry. You can make new friends, find a critique group, and learn just about anything about the industry. You can also share the woes of rejection or the celebration of reaching goals with those who understand exactly what you are going through.

If you're familiar with one or more of these groups, please leave a comment and let us know about your experience and how networking has helped you. If you’re new to the children’s book industry, check out the sites and let me know what you think.

Enjoy the journey!