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.
New SCBWI members receive a packet of publications upon joining, which includes specifics on publishers, agents, markets, educational programs, contracts, critique groups, editorial services, and more. These initial materials are designed to save members hours of research by consolidating current information about the children’s book market. Other SCBWI publications, designed to aid both published and unpublished children’s book writers and illustrators, are available to SCBWI members. The bi-monthly SCBWI Bulletin, keeps members up to date on the most current, comprehensive information about the field of children’s literature. The magazine’s features include the latest marketing reports; articles on writing, illustrating, and publishing; contests and awards announcements; SCBWI member news; and ongoing SCBWI activities throughout the world.
The organization bestows a number of SCBWI children's book awards, grants and scholarships they give both published and unpublished children’s and young adult writers and illustrators. Examples of these are the annual Golden Kite Award for the best fiction and nonfiction books for young readers, and the Sid Fleishman Award for Humor. (Read more about awards for children’s and young adult books).
On a local chapter level, Regional Advisors coordinate events and activities. Members Only Discussion Boards facilitate critiques; share publishing tips, techniques & questions; offer information on contracts, submissions and other matters relating to being in the business of children’s book.
Some SCBWI members are eligible to receive health insurance and all members have access to a discounts on a variety of goods and services including office supplies, computers, and rental cars.
Visit the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators website. Or read more about organizations that support book authors:
The Author’s Guild
Romance Writers of America (RWA)
Mystery Writers of America (MWA)