SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board


FAQ list

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.

Welcome, members! Here's a summary of basic Blueboard rules.

1.  Be respectful.
If your post could offend, either revise or don’t post. We discuss ISSUES here, not people. You may post concerns about publishers and agencies as long as the posts cannot be considered defamation of character. Stick to facts, rather than judgment or snark.

2.  No political or religious discussions.
You may post about writing or marketing these topics for kids, but NO specific discussion of political parties, candidates, office-holders, or religious beliefs.

3.  No double posts.
Do not post the same topic twice anywhere on the board. We will merge or remove double posts without notice.

4.  No solicitation.
We prohibit Kickstarter campaigns, Patreon and other fund solicitations, along with social media vote solicitation and requests for reviews and blurbs. These posts will be removed without notice.

5. Self-promotion is limited to SCBWI members on the SCBWI portion of the board.

6.  Don't post the entire contents of a letter, email, or review, including rejections  from editors and agents.
Post a line or paraphrase, but do not reprint. This is a copyright issue.

In short—respect others, avoid posting inappropriately, and enjoy all the benefits of this message board. It's a caring, sharing, informative community!

Can I solicit or advertise here?

Under limited conditions.

For all members, we prohibit Kickstarter campaigns, Patreon and other fund solicitations, along with social media vote solicitation and requests for reviews and blurbs. These posts will be removed without notice.

Any member may share personal good news pertaining to their kidlit journey here:

Any other self-promotion is limited to SCBWI members on the SCBWI portion of the board. SCBWI members may advertise a business, service, or class that pertains to kitlit here: They may list work-for-hire or job opportunities here:

May I approach published members for industry help?

In general, no. Please don't cold-query published members for things like blurbs, mentorships, referrals to their agent, and so forth. You can learn a lot just by reading and interacting with posts they make on the Blueboard.

If a published member offers some sort of specific help or service in a Blueboard thread, and you fit any set parameters, you may of course inquire into that.

Can I find critique partners here?

Yes. Any registered member may look here to join or form critique groups/partnerships:

In addition, SCBWI members can request critiques right on the Blueboard at these links. Illustrators:  Writers:

May I have my book reviewed here?

In general, no. Occasionally, threads are posted that ask for book recommendations, especially on the Book Talk board, and you may mention books you recommend -- or don't. This means someone may or may not recommend your book, too -- of their own free will. But you may not *solicit* reviews for your own book on the Blueboard, or offer copies in exchange for a review, or offer reciprocal reviews. Such posts will be deleted without notice.

Can I remove board categories that don't interest me?

If you don't want to see certain sections of the board, click the Up Arrow(^) on the left side of the colored bar of the category name you wish to collapse. When the arrow points DOWN, all boards within that category will disappear. To expand the category, click on the plus sign (DOWN ARROW) and the boards will reappear.

Do I need to be a member of SCBWI to use the Blueboard?

No. Though SCBWI members are automatically registered for the Blueboard, and have some extra boards available to them as a perk of their membership, non-SCBWI members with a genuine interest in children's literature may register to join the Blueboard.

If you just want to share it with family and friends, there are services that will print your book for you—perfect for sharing it with a small circle. But if you want to seek out a larger audience, it gets a lot more complicated.

Publishing is an industry, just like fashion or insurance or medicine. As with any other career or industry, there’s a lot to learn before you can be a participant, even on a small basis.

The first step is to make sure you know what kind of book you’ve written. Children’s publishing can be broadly divided into a few main age groups: picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and young adult. Each has its own definition and expectations. Each has its own board here on the Blueboard.

The next step is to make sure your book is of publishable quality. Authors and illustrators spend years learning their craft, just like professional musicians spend years taking lessons. They take classes, go to conferences, study craft books, join critique groups or find partners to exchange manuscripts with. This is true even of those who want to self-publish. Writing a publishable book does not happen in a month—or an afternoon. It’s been said the average apprenticeship is 10 years.

Once my book is of publishable quality, what’s next?

For now, the best way to reach the largest possible audience is to try to find a commercial publisher. Commercial publishers—companies like HarperCollins and Scholastic—pay authors and illustrators for the right to publish their books. It’s very, very hard to sell a book to a commercial publisher—they only take what they think is the best of the best and what they think will make money for them. Even wonderful books go unpublished because they simply can’t buy everything. Most of these houses cannot be accessed without a literary agent. Some smaller ones can, but there, quality will vary.

This means that your first step toward traditional publication will probably be to query literary agents. This is an entire journey and skill set in itself, and SCBWI and the Blueboard can help you.

I don't think I want to go that route. What else can I do?

Once upon a time, the above was the only way to go. Now, though, there are more options, including self-publishing, subsidy (also known as vanity) publishing, and hybrid publishing (sometimes called co-publishing). All of these are different, and all will cost you money. You can find a fuller discussion of them on the Blueboard and also in the expanded version of this post, here: