Making & Letting

Welcome to another week at Words & Pictures!
Last week was great; it’s a joy to see Duck & Bear up at last, I loved sneaking up on Kimberly Pauley while she’s working and George Kirk’s news from the North West made me smile. I wished I’d been at the pro series Making a Living event, Nick successfully guided me to the best of SCBWI blogs and Rosie Bird-Hawkins' how to feature on writing workshops for children is an excellent resource. Catch the comments, as Rosie’s also added to what was already a very practical post with some ideas on promoting yourself as a workshop provider.  
AND we have a NEW Slushpile Challenge

A moment to compose myself.

Before I tell you the delights in store for next week, I've had a few more thoughts, continuing the theme for April...

At the beginning of the new tax year making a living is still very much on our minds and it’s no different over at SCBWI HQ; the official SCBWI blog recently posted Money Money Money. If, without supplementary activities like Rosie's, we’re reconciled to the likelihood of writing or illustrating not paying the bills, Lee Wind, official SCBWI blogger, says there's a larger issue. He says the conversation we should be having with ourselves and our community is possibly…

 “What are the measures (besides money) that        you are going to use to determine                                the success of your art?” 

So we know why we’re writing and illustrating – it’s who we are – we could no more stop making stories than stop breathing. But how do we measure our success? Is being successful important and what does that success look like?
The SCBWIs we celebrate on Saturdays may give you some idea but what about for you? 

Lee’s post also included a TED  talk from musician Amanda Palmer.  Amanda’s talk, The Art of Asking, made me think about one of the challenges we have in making Words & Pictures. While we ‘give away‘ some of what SCBWI offers – knowledge, support, networking, access to agents and publishers – how can we still encourage children’s writers illustrators and industry professionals to pay the subscription and become members? Because if you’re reading this and you’re not a member you might think 'Great! Now I can get some of the benefits of SCBWI and save myself some money!' Actually...

...being an open access blogzine we’re very happy for you to benefit from Words & Pictures, we want to let you tell everyone! 

Two points from the talk that I found most interesting were 1) How we need to move from how do we make people pay? to how do we let them?  And 2) Can we think about trusting people rather than taking a risk with them? So really the challenge for us is can we trust that enough people will join us?

I’m really pleased to share some of what I have gained from SCBWI here in Words & Pictures. SCBWI is an organisation that I want to be identified with. If it means paying the subscription that’s what I'll do. I wonder how many of you feel the same?

Honey's worth spreading too.

Since the talk in February, there’s been some discussion about Amanda and her ideas. If you Google ‘Amanda Palmer’ and ‘TED talk’ you’ll find it. Whatever her own position, well-resourced with a large following and a supportive partner, I think ‘let pay’ rather than ‘make pay’ and ‘we trust’ rather than ‘we risk’ are ideas are well worth spreading. 

We kick off week three with an interview with Imogen Cooper of The Golden Egg Academy  plus some more practical tips for supplementing your writing income with the first of a two part library feature from K.M. Lockwood. We have a our first Ask an Agent Molly and Gemma from the Bent Agency invite W&P readers to send in questions or their query (covering) letters for scrutiny Query Shark style. We have Illustration tips and techniques from Paul Morton and a very personal view of making a living as a writer from Sam Hawksmoor - I’m hoping Sam’s feature will prompt lots of reaction! If you haven’t Asked a Publisher yet, you still have time to ask Hot Key. Nick will be doing his blog round up on Tuesday and there’ll be more news and SCBWIs to Celebrate too.

If you're not a member and any of this makes you feel that SCBWI is an organisation with which you’d also like to be identified, read Natascha’s letter. Whatever you're thinking I'm so grateful you've visited and read this far. I do hope you continue to enjoy what we've made for you.

Thank you again for checking in, reading and commenting,
I'm looking forward to what you have to say,
Jan Carr

Jan Carr is the editor of Words & Pictures. Her fiction is older middle grade, she blogs occasionally and loves to write in magenta.


  1. Hi Jan, I only joined SCWBI a year ago but I feel that my progress as a writer has been huge. Not only have I learned tons about my craft, I've had the chance to hear first hand about industry information and get insider tips, and I've met some lovely editors and agents who no longer seem as scary as I'd always thought. But the main thing I love about being part of SCWBI is the feeling that I belong to this incredible group of enthusiastic and amazing creative people who are cheerleaders for us all. In a world where often all is gloom and doom and everyone is looking at you like you're mad to still be working on the same book for months (or years...), to be surrounded by this bubble of positivity is priceless and essential, to me at least. I can't recommend SCWBI enough!

    1. Thanks Tania. I especially like "amazing creative people who are cheerleaders for us all" - brilliant description!

  2. I've recently joined, following positive things I've read. Looking forward to my first workshop at the end of the month.

    1. Welcome Debbie! Thank you so much for commenting. Hope you enjoy the workshop - let us now what you think.


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