This message board is for writers and illustrators of children's literature, published and pre-published, as well as editors, agents, librarians, and others who are interested in sharing information about books and stories for children of all ages, from toddlers to teens.


Because this board needs to be accessible to school system computers, there are extremely strict rules pertaining to the posts on it. Make sure you read through the FAQ and return to them frequently to refresh your memory regarding special rules for specific boards.

If you agree with these rules, we welcome you to our board. If you find our approach too limiting, we encourage you to join one of the many other online writer boards that are more in harmony with your needs and wants. It's our goal to have everyone here happy and satisfied that this is the safest, friendliest, best place on the internet to share information with other writers and illustrators of children's literature.

Please pay close attention to what I'm about to tell you, folks, because these rules aren't many, but they are totally inflexible -- they MUST govern ALL messages posted here.  

1)  Play nice.  

There is no room on this board for people who aren't nice to each other. Before you post any message, stop and read through it one last time. Will it make someone feel bad? If so, DON'T POST IT. We discuss ISSUES here. We don't discuss the people making the posts.
 
2) No political talk.  

There are many, MANY places on the web where you can go to discuss politics. This board is a "political-free zone" and will not tolerate political messages of any kind.  The only exceptions to this rule are specific issues that have a direct bearing on the business of children's books. Again, we discuss those ISSUES, but NOT the politicians and/or people behind the issues.

3) No religious discussions  

It's okay to discuss issues that pertain to writing for religious markets, but it is NOT okay to talk about the theology behind religions, or to compare religious beliefs, etc. on this message board.

4)  No direct links to downloads
 
If you want to give a download link, send people to a website page that explains what they are about to download and that has the download link on it. DO NOT LINK DIRECTLY TO DOWNLOADS from this message board. We are extremely protective of our message board members and want to protect all of you as much as possible from potential problems. Some downloads can be a problem. They can contain viruses or unacceptable viewing matter, therefore we don't allow them here.

5) No defamatory posts allowed  

It's fine to post concerns about publishers and agencies as long as the posts cannot be considered defamation of character to specific agents, agencies, editors, or publishers. In other words, you CAN SAY something like:  

People!  I am upset about something that recently happened to me. I signed a book contract, but I didn't understand the fine print before I signed it!  Big, BIG mistake.  There was an option clause in it that said I have to submit my next book to them and they have until 3 months AFTER the first book is published before they have to make a decision on it -- and in the meantime, I can't submit to anyone else.  But now that first book has been delayed for six years!  So I won't be able to sell another book to anyone for at least 6 YEARS - until that first book is finally published. I'm devastated. Please folks... before you sign a contract UNDERSTAND what you are signing!
It would NOT be okay for the person making this post to say derogatory things about the publisher, such as: This is a crooked publisher, a bad publisher, etc. (This also applies to editors, agents and agencies.)  In other words, you can talk about your experience and how YOU feel, as long as you JUST STATE THE FACTS and don't say anything bad about them.  The facts will need to speak for themselves.

This is especially important in light of the results of some recent lawsuits where some other writing-related websites have recently been sued and LOST in cases where negative things have been said on their sites against specific agents, agencies, editors, and/or publishers. I know that I personally, could never afford to pay a $250,000 fine for a lawsuit for something someone said on this message board against an agent or publisher!  

6) No Fundraising, Solicitation or Advertising

SCBWI does not allow kickstarter campaigns, crowdfunding or other fund solicitation on the message board.  Any such posts will be removed by a Moderator or Administrator without notice.


No solicitation or advertising of a Business unless you have been a member in good standing for at least two years with at least 100 posts AND have gotten permission to post your message/s with one of the Administrators of this board.  

This forum doesn't exist to provide free ad space--it's here for people with a serious interest in writing and illustrating children's books and literature. This isn't Craig's List or eBay, and we can't check out each business that wants to advertise here and make sure it's legitimate.  Therefore, only people who have been members here (in good standing) for at least two years may advertise their services on this board, and only with the approval of Verla or an administrator; we also reserve the right to ask you to edit such posts.  Please note that approval will in no way be considered an endorsement of such services. We will not endorse any services offered by any members of this forum.

For members who qualify: please keep your posts advertising your services short.  We prefer you post a link to your webpage rather than including all details here, and request that you PM Verla or an Administrator before posting.

7) Think before posting a thread title

Please take a moment to think about what you are using for a title for your message when you are posting a new thread.  Search engines pick up on these titles.  We don't really want people coming here that are looking for sex, etc. so be sure you aren't posting a title that will bring the wrong kind of people here from search engines.

As I said at the beginning of this message, there aren't a lot of rules for posting here...  but these rules ARE inflexible and MUST be followed.   Posts that break any of these rules will be instantly removed from the message board without notice.  

Play nice, avoid posting inappropriately and enjoy all the benefits of being on this message board, folks. It's a caring, sharing, informative place to be!

No Solicitation or Advertising of a Business is allowed on the Boards unless you have been a member in good standing for at least two years with at least 100 posts AND have gotten permission to post your message/s with one of the Administrators of this board.  

This forum doesn't exist to provide free ad space--it's here for people with a serious interest in writing and illustrating children's books and literature. This isn't Craig's List or eBay, and we can't check out each business that wants to advertise here and make sure it's legitimate.  Therefore, only people who have been members here (in good standing) for at least two years may advertise their services on this board, and only with the approval of Verla or an administrator; we also reserve the right to ask you to edit such posts.  Please note that approval will in no way be considered an endorsement of such services. We will not endorse any services offered by any members of this forum.

For members who qualify: please keep your posts advertising your services short.  We prefer you post a link to your webpage rather than including all details here, and request that you PM Verla or an Administrator before posting.

Occasionally some of our newer members approach some of our published members with requests for critique and/or mentorship.

Here's the deal:  We are a friendly, inclusive community here at Verla's, with a place for everyone from experienced professionals to the newest of newbies, and we welcome everybody.  Our more experienced members hang out here because they want to.  They like it for the same reasons all our members do--for the camaraderie, for a bit of a break from work, for shop talk.  Our published members are willing to "pay it forward."  They know that they were once unpublished, too, and they're willing to answer questions here on the boards, and furthermore, my guess is that if you were to run into someone at a conference and offer a greeting  of "Hi, I'm so-and-so from Verla's" that it would elicit a huge smile, a hearty handshake or even a hug from these folks.

However, the truth is that the leap from "willing to answer questions on a message board" to "willing to do extensive critiquing/offer personal advice/provide mentorship" is awfully big.  If you're asking someone you don't really know for this kind of help, you're probably saying to yourself that the worst they can say is no; that there's truth to that old saying "nothing ventured, nothing gained"; that it's worth a shot.  

However, we're asking you to consider that putting an author on the spot with such a request is very likely to backfire.  At the very least, it puts the author in a situation where they have to say no, which can be awkward and stressful.  A more unpleasant consequence for all of us would be if our published authors feel pestered to the point where they decide that participation on the boards is no longer worth their time.  Then we all lose, because we've lost some of our greatest resources.

Bottom line:  If you need critique, find a writing buddy or a good critique group.  If you don't have a group or buddy yet, advertise or ask for help in our Critique Group thread.  If you need or want a professional critique, find a reputable service--there are a good number of them, and their fees are generally reasonable.  Please don't take advantage of our camaraderie here on the boards by alienating the published author members who offer so much to us all.

The response times sections are valuable resources for those optimistic writers and illustrators who are actively submitting work to editors and agents. Being the neat freaks that we are here at Verla's, we like to keep this section in ship-shop-shape. So let's review the rules.

1. In the response times section we only post information about response times. In other words, you post how long it took from the time you sent your query or submission, to the time you received a reply. Or, if after half a dozen months or so you haven't heard anything, you can post that, too. Feel free to include the type of submission (pb, query letter, etc.), the method (snail or e-mail), and the type of feedback (form, letter, revision request), and the name of the editor or agent you queried.  However, we don't really care how you feel about it . . . in the response time section. We have a lovely Good News section and a That Stinks section for those who feel the need to emote.

2. Please don't start a new thread until you are absolutely, positively, no-doubt-about-it sure that there isn't a thread on your subject. Use the search function to check for an existing thread on your topic. Another nifty board feature is to click on "Subject" at the top of the forum and the thread titles will appear in alphabetical order.

3. Does  "congratulations" fit in the "response times" category? No. Neither do the phrases "good luck" or "I'm sorry." Those are the empty beer bottles of the after-party and have no room here in this section. Don't leave a mess for me to clean up later.

4. Scorned by an agent? Burned by a publisher? Feel the need to bash someone who had the misfortune of critiquing your ms at a conference three years ago? If you really feel that bashing someone on the public board is in your best interest, try Pro Talk or Market News. Same goes for questions and comments about market information. If it isn't a response time, it doesn't belong here.

5. Response times vary by publisher, by season, by your envelope's placement in the slush pile. Response times are to be used to get a general idea of when things come and go at a given house, but please don't pepper innocent editors with status queries simply because someone else heard from them a few weeks before you did. As a general rule, don't send a status query until at least two months after the editor's stated reply time (you can usually find this information in the current market guides).

Remember, Response Times sections are like diamonds and last forever. Let's take care of our diamonds, and keep them clean.

1.  Anyone can post in the Kidlit Good News sections about their agent news, book (short story, magazine article, illustrating, etc) sales, professional journal reviews, movie/TV options, major awards, etc -- as long as you have at least five quality posts elsewhere in our community.  (This ensures that you know some people here and will have others to celebrate with as you post your exciting news.)

2.  Anyone can post in the Promotional News (book covers, book launches, contest wins, blogger reviews, finishing a draft, book giveaways, etc).  New members must have at least five quality posts before using this board. This board will be purged periodically.

3.  Anyone can post in the Other Good News (anything which doesn't fit into the other two threads, including adult writing news).  This board will be purged periodically.

4.  All book promos and giveaways go in Promotional News (and will be moved there if posted elsewhere).

5.  Please choose one place to post rather than double posting (we will delete one of the duplicate threads without notice).

6.  We're excited about your good news, and we'd love to see you celebrate with our community!

It rarely comes up, but once in a while those of us who write for adults as well as children find ourselves in need of a beta or a good critique.?  It's tempting to ask here, where we know so many wonderful readers and critiquers.?  However, SCBWI has asked that we limit the critique requests to only our kidlit material.?  This is SCBWI's area of expertise, and this is why we all gather.

If any members want to reach out to other members outside the board to find the adult writing common interests, that (of course) is fine.?  However, please limit your board posts and requests to kidlit-related critiques.

(Notice that it's still fine -- and encouraged -- for you to celebrate your adult writing good news in the All Other Good News board.)