Network News: The Value of Networks

by Gill James
There now, I had it all planned and was going to contact the network coordinators and seek out volunteers to talk of their experiences of being in a network. Alas, one particular network has let me down very badly this week – a certain internet service provider  - or should I say non-provider. We keep getting noise on our phone line and they won’t get Open Reach involved. Fingers crossed I can post this! (Well, I guess if you’re reading this I managed!)

When I first joined SCBWI-BI in 2000 (?) there were no networks and no conference. I can’t even remember how I came to know about SCBWI – but I’m sure glad I did.
There was a lot of enthusiasm at that time and we started growing.  First there was the Professional Series in London, the conference (one day to start with – now two), Words and Pictures in its various incarnations, now a Professional Series North West and ten active networks who provide a rich picnic of activities for members.

Here are some of the benefits I’ve gained from belonging to SCBWI in general and two different networks in particular:

  • Inspiring critique group meetings in the back room of the lovely Sherlock Holmes Hotel, Baker Street, London
  • Agents’ Parties in the upstairs room of the Theodore Bullfrog Pub (I actually “won” an agent one time!)  
  • An introduction to an educational publisher though another member
  • Meetings with similarly-minded writers        
  • Use of the quirky events room I talked about last week
  • Some instant friends when I moved from the south-east to the north-west
  • Invitations to book launches by members who become published (Yippee!)  
  • News of writerly happenings  
  • Fantastic feedback form three critique groups
  • Good access to beta readers
  • Friends, friends, friends  - people with whom to share all the joys and woes of being a writer  
I’d like to know how being in a network has helped you. Perhaps you’d like to send me a short article, 250 to 350 words, and some pictures.  Please email your words and pictures to

If you’re reading this and are not a SCBWI member or not attached to your local network, you can contact your network coordinators here.   

Gill James writes mainly for young adults. She is your Network News editor and is interested in news stories about your network. Contact her at networknews at britishscbwi dot org.

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