FAQs

There are certain questions members always seem to have. We have answered many of them here. If you don't find your question answered below, please send us an email. Please note, Nevada SCBWI does not give out contact information for specific agents and editors. SCBWI members may access lists of publishing contacts through the 'For Our Members' area of the SCBWI website. A list of agents is available in the white book you receive when you join SCBWI.

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1.
What is SCBWI and why should I join?
 
2.
How do I find a publisher for my manuscript or illustrations?
 
3.
I've written a picture book. Do I need to find an illustrator?
 
4.
How long is a children's book?
 
5.
What is a genre?
6.
What is a critique group? How do I find one?
7.
What are my chances of getting published?
8.
How much money can I make?
9.
What is an SCBWI Region and what do they do for members?
10.
Who are the SCBWI Regional Advisors? What do they do? Why?

 

 
Q 1
What is SCBWI and why should I join?
 
A
The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is a large, international organization for professional and aspiring writers and illustrators, and those with a passionate interest in children’s books. Membership is open to any who wish to join. See www.scbwi.org/Pages.aspx/Who-We-Are---What-We-DoOpen in New Window for details. The Society holds two international conferences each year, one in Los Angeles and one in New York City. Members receive numerous other benefits including the bi-monthly newsletter, and discounts to SCBWI events. The SCBWI website has all the details. Pay it a visit.

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Q 2
How do I find a publisher for my manuscript or illustrations?
 
A
This is the first question many people ask. The first step is to have a polished, professional product. Our Nevada region has many critique groups, workshops, and conferences to give you information and guidance. Once you believe your work is ready to submit, you have some homework to do. If you are serious about publication, you will need to be serious about researching publishers. SCBWI Nevada events and groups will help you learn about publishing houses, but you’ll have to do your own leg work. SCBWI offers members a list of publishers and their interests. Go to the library, pick out books that have the feel of your manuscript/illustrations and see who publishes them. Read publishers’ on-line catalogues. When you have some publishers in mind, you will submit your manuscript/illustrations in the manner they require. Some want query letters describing the project, others want to see the manuscript. Some houses will only review material sent by an agent. Others will look at material from members of SCBWI.

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Q 3
I've written a picture book. Do I need to find an illustrator?
 
A
This is another good, logical question. The answer is no. Most publishing houses pride themselves on matching the right author and illustrator. If your work is selected for publication, the editor will find your other half. So relax. Do what you do best and let the editors do their jobs too.

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Q 4
How long is a children's book?
 
A
Well, there’s Harry Potter and there are books without words. Children’s books range from babies’ board books to full length teen novels. The length of your book will depend on the genre or category it falls into, and on what you have to say.

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Q 5
What is a genre?
 
A
Children’s book genres define the audience and type of book. There are picture books, middle grade books, easy readers, YAs (teen books), fiction and nonfiction, anthologies, concept books, etc. Each category implies the age of the reader and, in some cases, the length or design of the book. A good resource on the different genres is Writing for Children and Teenagers by Lee Wyndham, Writers Digest Books, Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Q 6
What is a critique group? How do I find one?
 
A
Critique groups are small groups of writers and/or illustrators who meet to read and respond to each other’s work. Many people find that getting feedback from other writers/illustrators is the best way to improve their work. Belonging to a critique group provides the structure some folks need to keep creating when other responsibilities and interests pull their focus away from their writing/illustrating goals. Contact your Nevada RA or Critique Group Coordinator for information about critique groups in your area.

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Q 7
What are my chances of getting published?
 
A
Well – if your work is good, and you are persistent, then they aren’t bad. However, most book creators have a number of rejections before their work is accepted. And many editors report that they only accept one unsolicited manuscript in a thousand. Yes, that’s the right number. So you have your work cut out for you – to learn as much as you can about the profession, to make your manuscript or art as fantastic as it can be, and to research the possible publishing homes for your work. See The Real Odds of Getting Published, by Laura Backes, on this site.

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Q 8
How much money can I make?
 
A
Again, there’s Harry Potter, and there are those who work for years and never make any money. Many children’s book professionals make a small, regular income from their work. Some make a living, often by giving talks and doing school visits and/or teaching classes as well as doing their writing/illustrating. A few people are able to make a lot of money doing what they love. Will you be one of the few? Maybe.

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Q 9
What is an SCBWI Region and what do they do for members?
 
A
SCBWI is divided into regions, generally by state, but some regions include groups of states, or consist of parts of large states such as California. There are also international regions. SCBWI regions provide individual contact in a large organization. They offer dozens of programs, which are open to members of ALL regions. Most Nevada events are held in the Reno/Tahoe/Carson City area or in and around Las Vegas. We are open to suggestions about best ways to serve our members in rural, northern, and eastern Nevada.

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Q 10
Who are the SCBWI Regional Advisors? What do they do? Why?
 
A
For the best explanation we’ve seen about this, see the main SCBWI website, www.scbwi.org/Pages.aspx/Regional-FAQsOpen in New Window, and read the section, Region FAQs by Sue Bradford Edwards, past RA, Missouri.

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