SCBWI+ What to get out of SCBWI


Julie Sullivan discusses the many benefits of joining SCBWI

The best thing about SCBWI for me has been meeting other writers in person and making new friends. The children's writers and illustrators community is a warm and welcoming place!

Maybe not quite like this:

Wild piano party illustration, Open Clip Art

But in-person meetings and conferences are just one of the things your SCBWI membership has to offer. Are you taking advantage of the others?

For a comprehensive list of the advantages and resources of SCBWI membership, this article by Sandra Yoong-Chia is hard to top. I thought I knew my way around SCBWI, but I learned quite a few things.

Artwork by Xin Li

Want the most up-to-date information possible about children's book publishing? The 2023 version of THE BOOK has just been made available for download on the SCBWI website, for members only:


THE BOOK is packed with information—and I mean packed. Just look at these contents pages:

SCBWI Publishing Book 2023 contents page


The book is available to download via the link above

Self-publishing is a larger and larger part of publishing, and sometimes considerably more profitable to authors and illustrators than the traditional route. SCBWI supports 'indie authors' with publications and a service directory. 


 A useful guide for anyone considering self-publishing

Do you know that you can attend SCBWI events virtually anywhere in the world? Here are some virtual events coming up. Be sure and check the time zone and then re-check before you sign up!


If you'd like to be able to discuss writing or illustration with others from around the globe, head over to the SCBWI discussion boards. These started off as an independent website, the Blue Boards, by Verla Kay; they are now integrated into SCBWI. 

In December, the SCBWI leadership announced they were shutting down the Blue Boards, but a storm of protest and lament broke out and SCBWI has decided to keep them running, even as the main site is updated this year. The advantage of the Blue Boards is that they are 24/7 support for writers. Because SCBWI is now a global organization, if you are a night owl or a very early bird, you can post your question or gripe or piece of inspiration and find others to talk to, whatever the day or time. Many regulars say the Blue Boards have changed their writing lives for the better.

Rosette, Free SVG

Awards and Grants


SCBWI has a large number of grants and awards for published and unpublished authors and illustrators. For example, you might get an award for:


*      most promising unpublished picture book manuscript

*      late bloomer work-in-progress award (unpublished and over age 50)

*      financial aid to go to the virtual SCBWI conference

*      work-in-progress awards in these categories: Picture Book Text, Chapter Books/Early Readers, Middle Grade, Young Adult Fiction, Nonfiction, and Underrepresented Fiction or Nonfiction

*      book launch award to help members promote their newly published books

*      illustrator scholarship to the international children's book fair in Bologna

*      award to help defray the cost of self-publishing

*      disability fund to help members with things they may need to create children's literature


To apply at the correct time for any of these awards, check the awards calendar here.

Smiling sun, Open Clip Art

I hope this has given you some sense of the benefits of your SCBWI membership. What is your favourite part of SCBWI?

* Other images, including header image, courtesy of Julie Sullivan


Julie Sullivan writes historical fiction and is a SCBWI volunteer who didn't know half this stuff before. She is an American translator (French and German to English) and copy editor and has lived most of her adult life outside the USA.





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