Saturday, March 16, 2013

Organizations to Join If You Write YA

If you write young adult literature and you're looking to connect with other writers or you're looking to hone your skills, joining a non-profit, professional organization is something you should consider. Two organizations immediately come to mind when thinking about YA literature, and they are SCBWI and depending on what genre you write, RWA.

SCBWI stands for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. They represent not just YA, but also children's books and as the title suggests, illustrators. They were founded in 1971 and have been an active voice for writers and illustrators ever since. There are many benefits to joining SCBWI, listed here, but among them are the online discussion boards, smaller chapters in over 70 regions that meet on a more personal level for training and critiques. They also offer awards, grants, and two large annual and winter conferences. Membership is not free and the first year of membership is $85.00, but it's worth it if you ask me. You can find out more or join SCBWI by going here.


RWA is another non-profit organization and stands for Romance Writers of America. They also promote and look to advance career-focused romance writers by way of networking, support, and advocacy. They support a variety of romance sub-genres including a special branch for YA material. RWA also offers a conference, critique groups, local chapters, and more. You can find out more about them here. Annual dues are $95.00 and also require a processing fee.

I've been lucky enough to attend several SCBWI events as well as a few RWA events and everyone has always been helpful, encouraging, and nothing short of amazing. I even made a few new friends editor, author, and librarian friends that I keep in touch with. It was refreshing to meet these amazing men and women who are so ready to lend their help and support. So when my memberships expire, I will absolutely be renewing!

Many agents love to hear in your queries if you're a member of either group and some agents are members themselves.

If you guys have any questions about them, feel free to ask me or peruse their websites.

7 comments:

  1. I joined both last year, but have mostly connected locally with RWA. I think the local chapters make a huge difference. My RWA chapter is pretty big and we have other YA writers, while some other chapters might not have any. The SCBWI local chapter I attended only met a couple times a year and the writers seemed to lean toward chapter book and picture book rather than YA.

    I've heard great things about both national conferences, although it's a mystery to me why SCBWI does the winter conference in NYC in Feb when so many flights get cancelled! They should switch to LA for winter and NYC summer :)

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    1. Hi Steph. I agree! Seems to make more sense to be in LA for winter (when we never really dip below 70...hehehe). I love that you joined both as well. I had a similar experience at first with SCBWI in my area, but after a few times, I connected with others.

      And definitely agree about RWA. SUCH a great place to connect! So glad to be your fellow member! Are you going to any conferences this year?

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  2. I'm a member of SCBWI and love it. I have two critique groups through it (one in person, one online) and the events are always so great. I haven't joined RWA yet though. Most of the YA stories that I write aren't really romance focused (though there is always some romance). I haven't been to a national conference yet, but I really hope to.

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    1. You should try it. The conferences are awesome! So happy to hear that you've been able to find critique groups! They make all the difference in the world, don't they?

      So glad you took the leap! :P

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  3. I contacted SCBWI awhile ago and asked about fees for students and people with limited incomes, and was told everyone has to pay $85. Hopefully someday it'll be on budget for me, since they have so many wonderful benefits of membership.

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    1. Hi Carrie-Anne! I know what you mean! It can be very expensive if you're on a budget, like most of us. I didn't join for a long time for that exact reason. But I have to tell you, so far it's been worth every penny.

      You know what I did? Asked for cash for my birthday and then used that for one of them. Hehe. I know. I'm sneaky.

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  4. I'm glad to hear such good things about SCBWI. I'm really considering just taking the plunge and joining, especially so I can attend the NY Conference next year (it's practically in my backyard). I'm not as sure about RWA, because though my stories have love interests involved, it's not the primary thing, you know?

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