Why Do YOU Keep Your SCBWI Membership?

So, I just got a notice, reminding me that my membership to SCBWI would run out soon, and I thought Cath, you better ger ‘er done!

And then I thought Hmmmm. Should I renew my membership? I mean, economic times being what they are, can I afford to spend money on something I’m not utilizing?

Ah, now there’s the rub.Β  I joined SCBWI to meet other children’s writers (which I’ve done and thoroughly enjoyed the meeting of such!). But I don’t think I’m really utilizing all that SCBWI offers, getting my money’s worth, so to speak. So, what are the benefits? What are the aspects of SCBWI that you use the most? What about SCBWI has made a difference for you, as a children’s writer?

Why do you keep your SCBWI membership? Inquiring minds want to know…preferably before their membership runs out!

18 thoughts on “Why Do YOU Keep Your SCBWI Membership?

  1. I initially wanted to meet other writers as well, and I can tell you I’ve made some amazing connections in the last two years: I met and joined a great local critique group through a SCBWI retreat, lots of local authors at all stages and this year met a few well-pubb’d authors (Vivian Vande Velde, Linda Sue Park and others). A few of those authors helped me tremendously when I decided to walk from a not-so-great contract.

    I keep my membership for these connections, but also because I want to be able to use the professional “I am a serious writer” moniker for queries to agents/editors. I also like being in the loop on conference and publishing news.

    Whew – I think I sold myself on next year’s renewal!

    • Lisa,
      Thanks for sharing! I was just checking out the SCBWI Hawaii chapter and thought I would do a little google search about what others are saying about the site before I hand over a buck. I didn’t even know there was a community part of it. That definitely is an added bonus. πŸ™‚

  2. I like the contacts you make and the great people you meet. I like the way we share information about agents, new technology, how to do brochures or bookmarks…that kind of thing. I guess I would say people and sharing.

  3. You heretic! How dare you ask if an SCBWI membership is worth it?

    πŸ™‚

    Seriously, though, I love SCBWI. I have met some great people through SCBWI and I have been to some great conferences. I went the LA conference a couple of years ago and I’ve gone to a few local conferences and editor’s days. I have learned a great deal at the conferences–getting to meet agents and editors face to face and to see what they are looking for. I pay for critiques at every conference and I always enter the first page critique.

    I especially love that first page critique. It is wonderful to hear an editor read your first page and to watch the faces of the people in the audience to see how they are reacting.

    I do wish that we had, in Marietta, face to face meetings every other week the way we had in my Alaska chapter. I miss the camaraderie that I had up there. I tried to get something going but only a few people were interested and we were so spread out that it seemed like it would be too hard to do.

    But other than that, I am totally satisfied. The conferences are first-rate…oh, I almost forgot. I got a WIP grant from SCBWI, too. That was a great encouragement that I would have missed out on if I wasn’t a member.

    OK, I’m putting down my pompoms. Only you can tell if the group is serving your needs at present. So you shall have to decide on your own.

  4. If you are a member of SCBWI there is a market directory available to you. It used to be that you had to send in a SASE with the correct postage and they would mail you one, but it is online now.
    This is a terrific value for members.
    You log in with your password then go to the Resource Library tab. Under that, click on Publication Guide, then Market Surveys. You have to navigate through a few clicks, but it will eventually pull up the main Market Survey which includes up-to-date info on all the major publishers, as well as magazine, religious, small press and educational market guides.

    While the networking and friendships are my primary reason for involvement with SCBWI, the market guides are another wonderful benefit.

  5. There are so many reasons to keep your membership– I hardly know where to start! However, I believe that belonging to a minimum of two professional associations is helpful for any career;-).

    Here are a few top reasons:
    -Conferences
    -Networking
    -Knowledge-building from insider sources
    -Keeping up to date on developments in your field
    -Being known in your field

    I just posted final thoughts about the SCBWI winter conference in NYC. You may find them useful as well:
    http://wordsintobooks.com/2010/02/scbwi-nyc-2010-final-thoughts/

    There is a more detailed rationale for belonging to associations at the NAIWE website: http://naiwe.com (link in right sidebar).

  6. Thanks so much for chiming in, y’all!

    Jo, I hadn’t realized that Market Directory was available online. (Guess I should explore the site a little better!) And I’m all about the networking and have enjoyed that tremendously!

    So far, the positives are stacking up. Anybody else got something for this heretic? πŸ™‚

  7. My state’s SCBWI chapter is INVALUABLE (IL). I know not all states are like this because I used to live in a different one, but we have this very active listserve (much like PG, Cathy) that you are automatically a member of if you join SCBWI nationally. We also have several conferences and workshops in IL that I get a discount to because I’m a member. Going to the national conferences are also really great–I went to L.A. a few years ago and LOVED IT! I would love to go to New York next year, but we’ll see where the finances are. πŸ™‚ I always renew (you can claim it on your taxes) and you just never know who you will meet. By the way, if your state doesn’t have a listserve, encourage your leaders to start one through Yahoo or Google OR ask if you can start one. You will love the information children’s writers share with one another.

    Margo πŸ™‚

  8. Thanks, Margo! We have a listserv here, too…not quite as chatty as PG, but members are good about answering newbie questions. We have schmoozes, too. This weekend, we’re finally having one for my area and I hope to make it. (But if there’s snow on the ground, I’m staying bundled up inside-I can’t schmooze if I’m freezing!)

  9. Reasons to renew your SCBWI membership:
    You are eligible for a variety of grants as an SCBWI member.
    You pay the lowest tuition when you attend an SCBWI event.
    Your region may have a mentorship program (Missouri does) but only members can apply.

    –SueBE
    (Admittedly, I am a retired Regional Advisor)

    • And that’s what makes you a great resource, SueBE! Thanks for the mentorship tip. I’ll suggest that for my region-I think that’s a WONDERFUL idea!

  10. what i’m wondering (never joined, but thinking about it) is, is it a home for published authors to network, or can aspiring authors benefit from joining? i have a manuscript and am considering going the self-publishing route, but not sure i’d be welcome in a club if it’s all published authors? #help πŸ™‚

    • Monica, I want to self publish too which means self marketing and promotion as well. If there are any resources and tips about marketing it will be beneficial! I haven’t joined yet and am following your comment for any responses.

  11. Cathy,

    First I want to say that this blog background is so adorable! I love this fish swimming by!

    Thanks for getting this convo started! Sounds like everyone enjoys their membership and believes it is worth the cost.

  12. I am thrilled to have found this blog. I am also considering if the cost of the membership is worth the benefits. I do have a book self-published and am in the process of completing many more to add to the series. I am curious if anyone can tell me how many people are registered members and if there are ever opportunities to connect for editor and reviewer support? Thanks so much for taking the time to help answer some of my questions.

  13. Oh, dear! Running over here to say (give me a minute, I need to catch my breath!) that SCBWI offers a tremendous amount of support for authors, no matter where on the publishing road they happen to be–and yes, that includes those who self-publish! Simply being a part of this community will give you the information you need to go from pre-published to published (no matter which route you go!), but attending conferences and making the best use of the resources available can and WILL make a huge difference to you as a writer! (And Marina, I’m glad you like my fish–they keep me amused.) πŸ™‚

    Also, AJ, I can’t tell you how many members there are, but I can tell you that SCBWI is international if that gives you an idea of the scope of the organization! And yes, editors often attend conferences and evaluate manuscripts. The best part of SCBWI is meeting ALL those children’s writers who are passionate about writing for kids–and often, eager to share their expertise, information, and experiences. THAT’s the true value of SCBWI!

    (Obviously, I’ve kept my membership going strong–and I’m pretty involved with SCBWI. Any questions for me? Just ask!)

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