The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)
SCBWI Provides How-to for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
By Valerie Peterson, About.com Guide
The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is a non-profit professional organization for writers and illustrators in the fields of children’s and young adult literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia. Founded in 1971 by Los Angeles-based children's writers Stephen Mooser and Lin Oliver, the SCBWI now has more than 22,000 members worldwide in over 70 regional chapters, making it the largest children's writing organization in the world.
What the SCBWI does
The SCBWI considers itself a consolidated voice for professional writers and illustrators. The organization is a powerful advocate for its members, and has successfully lobbied for copyright legislation, the equitable treatment of authors and artists, and fair contract terms. Through its conferences and other services, the SCBWI provides advice and counsel, and acts as a network for the exchange of knowledge about the children’s book publishing world between writers, illustrators, editors, publishers, agents, librarians, educators, booksellers and others involved with literature for young people.
SCBWI membership criteria
Membership in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is open to, and welcomes, anyone with an active interest in children’s literature or children’s media. Full membership is open to those whose books, articles, poems, stories, illustrations, photographs, films, television or electronic media for children have been commercially published or produced (vanity- or self-published authors are excluded from this category). Associate membership is open to those aspiring to be published children’s book writers and illustrators, as well as other journalists, bloggers, educators, teachers, and librarians, or children’s authors or illustrators who have self-published or published outside of the children’s field.
The benefits of SCBWI membership
There are a number of benefits to being a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, including:
The SCBWI sponsors two annual International Conferences on Writing and Illustrating for Children, a Winter Conference (generally held in January) and a Summer Conference (generally held in August), when top professionals in children’s publishing share their knowledge and expertise with members. Every two years, the organization also orchestrates SCBWI Bologna, a series of events at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. In addition, there are dozens of smaller conferences held all over the world by the SCBWI regions.