SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

How has the Blueboard Helped You?

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 :yay DeirdreK asked if everyone who started out on this message board and has has some kind of publishing success since first coming here would post their success stories for everyone to read. I thought it was a great idea, so... if you have become more confident in your writing or illustrating attempts, gotten an agent, sold a manuscript, been published, earned special awards, found a critique partner or group, made special friendships, etc. and you feel this message board has helped you gain those successes, please share your story here.

(Be careful what you ask for, DeirdreK. You sometimes get more than you expected! :cookiemonster I anticipate a lot of responses to this thread!) :grouphug2
#1 - August 01, 2009, 02:53 PM
Verla Kay

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I'll start (since I seconded DeirdreK's idea).

I got an agent because of the blueboards.

The real story is I found my CP here, who then told me about the Secret Agent Contest, which I entered and won, then sent my full manuscript to the agent who then offered representation.

Fingers crossed that soon I can say the blueboards helped me sell my first book!
#2 - August 01, 2009, 03:04 PM

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My CP turned me on to the blueboards. I had 2 first drafts and a lot of enthusiasm - but not any publishing business savvy.

I found the people here to be so helpful and I did loads of "agent" research and learned a ton of things about writing and publishing. I got help with my query letter here and loads of encouragement, empathy, sympathy and cheers (for both my writing journey and some personal things I've shared here.)

With my shiny new query letter, I got a fabulous agent! Without the blueboards - I would probably still be lost in queryland without a clue.

Hopefully, this will translate into a sale soon!
#3 - August 01, 2009, 04:24 PM
XVI, Puffin/Speak, available now
Truth, Puffin/Speak, January 2012

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This pretty much sums it up for me:

I'm hoping I'll be able to update that thread with a sale some day, but the blueboards (including the dozen or so That Stinks! trenches) were there for me throughout the journey.

Thanks, everyone!  :love Thanks, Verla! :love
#4 - August 01, 2009, 04:51 PM

Author of the REAL MERMAIDS tween series, RED DUNE ADVENTURES chapter book series, I DARE YOU NOT TO YAWN (2013) and more.

Because of this board I found Stories for Children as they began their second year and they were the ones who published my first story. Then I found the Pack-o-Fun response board and found further success with them in 2009.( My October Owls project made the cover.) And, because of this wonderful board and all the members, I got the courage to begin blogging. I could go on and on, but those are the highlights of my membership here. I don't know where I would be without you!

                    :thankyou  :thankyou :thankyou :thankyou :thankyou :thankyou
#5 - August 01, 2009, 06:06 PM
Beyond Suspicion, YA Mystery, Poisoned Pen Press

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I got one very interesting writing job as a result of a tip from someone on this board.  I've also made many friends here.  I've gotten dog advice, some really cool recipes, and solved (at least) one very important writing problem due to suggestions from people on this board. And I've just had a whole lot of fun playing games and joking around.  Oh, and I've also gotten good reading recommendations.  That's just off the top of my head--I'm sure there's been much, much more.

So thank you, thank you, Verla!  

Ellen Jackson
#6 - August 01, 2009, 06:13 PM


I've made life-long friends here.  I've found a safe place to rejoice and to vent.  I've seen amazing people start as aspiring authors and grow into nationally recognized ones.  And seen the entire community nurture old-timers and newcomers as if they were family from day one.

I've gotten tips, feedback, and more than I can ever repay.

I remember when we were starting a new organization in KC and I got tons of support from fellow Blueboarders.  Then when I transitioned the 91st annual state conference from it's normal 80 attendees to more than 200 attendees - it was largely attended by my Blueboard pals who flew in from all over the country (and Canada) to support it.  And last year - a post asking if Blueboarders wanted to do a joint nonfiction event at ALA led to the most fantastic fabulous experience of my life - putting names with faces and us all taking each other pictures and laughing as if we'd been friends forever.  300 people showed up - but front and center were my pals from Blueboards cheering us all on.

What is best about Blueboards is that almost everyone pays it forward.

Blueboards is a great networking resource.

But even better - it's family!

Long may it reign!  Kudos to you, Verla Kay for creating a place I call "home."
#7 - August 01, 2009, 06:20 PM

The Response Times boards have made many agonizing days/weeks/months over the last five years that I spent waiting much less agonizing than they would have been without that information. And being a generally shy person, I found the Response Times boards one of the easiest places to start posting while I found my way around the whole board. I don't think I ever even saw the Introduce Yourself thread until I'd been on here a few years- and by then, it felt silly to go back. Ah well.

Many Blueboarders helped me figure out what to do when I realized I was not a good fit with my first agent. Invaluable help.

Many Blueboarders helped me figure out that my current agent IS the right fit for me before I signed with her.

And I've learned more about the business of publishing for children HERE than all other places I've used COMBINED. Small questions to big problems- you can find an answer here on the Blueboards :)

Thanks Verla!

#8 - August 01, 2009, 07:10 PM
Hush Little Dragon (Abrams)
I Had A Favorite Dress (Abrams)
The Class (Beach Lane)
and others

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Just about everything I know about the industry, I learned here.

I've gotten great critiques--and great opportunities to critique and learn that way.

I've made contacts within the industry that I never would have had I not been on this board and known the people I do here.

After two years of discussion about plot, structure, and how a story is put together--I think I've finally got it! It's the only place where I've been able to have the in-depth kinds of discussions about craft that I've needed to get to the next level in writing.  :thankyou you wonderful people!

I've spent a lot of  :dollar over the years on fabulous books by you people!  :library I LOVE walking into a bookstore and seeing your books! I feel like I am meeting friends.  :yup

And YES to what Harriet said:

What is best about Blueboards is that almost everyone pays it forward.

Someday, if I ever get a book published, it will largely be due to this board.

I hope you realize, Verla, just what a hand you have in today's movement in children's books.  :hearts
#9 - August 01, 2009, 07:40 PM

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- Have learned scads of the insider tidbits about imprint slants, editor and agent tastes, and a few agents to stay away from that you can only get from what is essentially direct contact with other writers (direct with some technology assist).
- Have made some online friends and reinforced a few existing acquaintances
- Have signed up for two workshops I wouldn't even have known about otherwise
- Have learned a lot about improving queries from watching & contributing to the threads for critiquing others'
- Have gotten some great food for thought in terms of handling writing problems or issues
- And perhaps most important to me, have found a friendly place to vent about the biz, have philosophical discussions about nearly everything, cheer the long-awaited wins, and... even contribute to questions like a couple current "what do I do about this poop problem?" threads

I mean, where else do you get everything from arguments about religion to poop advice, all in one place???  :bat  And I like the bat.
#10 - August 01, 2009, 09:54 PM
The Farwalker Trilogy
The Humming of Numbers
Reality Leak

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This place has helped to lift me from a novice to a published writer.  I have asked many questions and had them answered by the seasoned professionals.  Since I didn't have an agent when I signed my first picture book contract, I received advice from a variety of people sharing their experiences.  Before I found my online critique group here on the boards, individuals traded critiques with me and gave great advice.  Now I'm looking for an agent and I find leads and information here to help me find the right one.

There is so much giving and sharing in this community.  It's nice to know that there is somewhere where like-minded people win when others succeed.
#11 - August 01, 2009, 10:59 PM
What Do You See?  Odyssey Books  2009
Stinky Feet  Odyssey Books  2012
Jump-start Your Library, UpStart 2008

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I came over from another writers' board that'd gotten increasingly snippy and snarky (one reason why I picked an anonymous user name--I used my real name over there).    :mob   Verla's friendly board was a good place to seek refuge while I soaked up info on querying and submitting.    :grouphug2   I also discovered Livejournal blogs here,  and made a lot of online friends,  some of whom I've met in person.      

I know I've learned a lot over here,  and it's great to have a place to share good news or lick my wounds.   I also love celebrating others' successes (with smilies,  of course    :applause :drinking :yippee).  

#12 - August 01, 2009, 11:03 PM

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I don't even know where to start. I've learned so much about the craft and the industry, received tremendous support in both my writing/illustrating and my personal life, and am just so grateful for the acceptance and friendship I've found here from day one. I don't know what I'd do without the boards. Thank you so much to all BBers and especially Verla.

#13 - August 01, 2009, 11:24 PM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

I learned most of what I know as a writer from this board. Craft, submissions, etc. I also discovered the publisher of my first book. And I can't even begin to tell of the emotional support that I get from other people's stories.

Thank you blueboarders.

#14 - August 02, 2009, 04:23 AM
« Last Edit: August 02, 2009, 10:19 AM by susan lorene »
HANGABOUT, FAR FROM HOME, Orange Blossom Publishing, August 2023.

It was here on the Blueboards that I first learned about Chautauqua and the scholarship program.  I applied and was accepted.  It was a life-changing week and one of my dearest memories.  I was also able to meet some Blueboarders there (group of 2007) which was awesome!

It was through a Blueboarder (Hi Owl!) that I met and joined my critque group (Kidcritters Rock!).  With their help I have gone on to do several non-fiction books and land my first MG fiction book contract this summer!   :ban :ban :ban

Thanks to everyone here :thankyou :thankyou :thankyou

#15 - August 02, 2009, 04:23 AM
Saving Armpit, F&W
I Owe You One, Orca
Cryptic Canada, Owlkids
Hockey Girl, F&W
Glow-in-the-dark Creatures, F&W
Stay Strong F&W

I'm sure I wouldn't be published if it weren't for these boards. I got my agent through the response times thread. I learned so much about writing and the writing industry -- and I can't think of a better place to get emotional support than here at the boards. Those good news posts are always inspiring. 

#16 - August 02, 2009, 05:20 AM
Neil Armstrong is My Uncle & Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me/Roaring Brook Press/2009
Hiding Out at the Pancake Palace/Roaring Brook/April 2013

I have learned TONS from the generous writers on this board. If its not already here and I post a question, I get lots of well-informed replies.

The response time boards have helped me know how long to expect to wait. A relief that!

I have waited out contest results with fellow blueboarders too!

I love all the positive support and encouragement on the boards and am happy to be part of it. Plus, when I attended my first conference, people recognized me from the blueboards right away! No awkward intros for this introvert!!!
#17 - August 02, 2009, 06:00 AM
Twitter: @ KarenBlyToo

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I found a fabulous critique group!  :snoopy 
#18 - August 02, 2009, 06:06 AM
Anglerfish: Seadevil of the Deep, 2022
Giant Cuttlefish, 2024

Oh man, I can breath again. I spent a year and a half stumbling around in the dark. The information within these little blue walls is priceless.
#19 - August 02, 2009, 09:20 AM
"The mind is everything. What you think, you become." ~Buddha   

Blog -

I first started coming to the Blue Board and to Verla's chat 9 years ago.  I talked about the craft of writing, made a lot of writer friends, and learned that the world of children's publishing isn't as intimidating as it seems.

2 years after I first started visiting, another writer I met here tipped me off to a writing opportunity that ultimately led to five published YA fantasy novels, with a sixth out next year.  More recently, in the past year I gained my agent via a recommendation from another agent who I never would have met were it not for the chat.  Soon my agent and I will be shopping a new series.

The Blue Boards and especially Verla's chat definitely paved the way for whatever success I've had or will have!
#20 - August 02, 2009, 03:16 PM
THE LAST DOGS (as Christopher Holt) - Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
DEVIANTS - Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins

Things I've found on Verla's

1. Instant community during one of the toughest loneliest times of my life
2. numerous crit partners who went on to become friends
3.  the publisher of my first book
4.  info. on contests, some of which I won. :)
5.  boundless info on agents
6.  thought provoking conversation
7.  instant, personal source of information on a wide variety of topics
8.  entertainment
9. networking opportunities
#21 - August 02, 2009, 03:21 PM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

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I found a fabulous critique group!  :snoopy 

If you mean our group, I think we're the ones who found fabulous you!!

Everything I've learned about writing and publishing has pretty much come from this board and all the giving, caring people here.

I loved going to ALA a few weeks ago and having dinner with women I'd only met here -- and feeling like I already knew them and that we were continuing friendships begun years ago.

This is a wonderful community -- thank you, Verla, for getting it started for us!
#22 - August 02, 2009, 05:47 PM
Unspun: A Collection of Tattered Fairy Tales:

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Forgot to mention all the useful critiques I've had from the generous people on this board.
#23 - August 02, 2009, 05:54 PM

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Well, I'm pretty new and I don't have any great success stories related to this board yet, but I appreciate the wealth of information that I have found here and the sense that it is a friendly and "flame-free" place--can't say the same for some other boards I have visited. I'm looking forward to getting to know you all better!

#24 - August 02, 2009, 06:14 PM

--I discovered what a "blog" was, and started one. From that, I made scads of friends in the LJ community and learned tons from other writing blogs.
--I found out about the Chautuaqua conference and applied for a scholarship. That week was a huge writing jump start for me.
--Joined an awesome critique group
--I found out about my agent, who was new at the time, and queried her. She was so new, in fact, I'm not sure I would have found out about her for awhile.
---And actually, when I was querying, the response time thread was a lifesaver.
--Friends. Some of my best writing friends came from here.
#25 - August 02, 2009, 07:46 PM
SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD (Bloomsbury, March 2011)
THE ROYAL TREATMENT (Hyperion, May 2011)

Hi, Gnat! I remember meeting you at CANSCAIP, but I don't remember helping you finding your critique group! :-)

Here are some ways the Blue Board helped me:

- I found my wonderful critique group, the Feathered Pens!

- I started a blog on LiveJournal and found my first LJ friends here. Many of them have become actual friends. They are just as nice in person as online.  

- I only attended one chat, but it led to my first request for a full manuscript from an agent.

- I found out how to become a sommelier to a skunk!
#26 - August 03, 2009, 08:00 AM
« Last Edit: August 03, 2009, 08:05 AM by Owl »

Barb  :owl


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These boards have been wonderfully helpful to me. Here are my top four:

1) I scoured these boards during my agent search....and now I have an agent!
2) I completed my second novel during NaNoMoWri with the encouragement of other blue boarders.
3) I've asked countless questions about queries, synopsis', formatting, etc. and I've always received prompt and professional answers.
4) I have other "friends" to discuss my TV obsessions with.

Thanks, Verla and all the Blue Board Moderators.


#27 - August 04, 2009, 03:44 PM
MOSTLY THE HONEST TRUTH (HarperCollins 3/12/2019)
Twitter: @jodyjlittle
Facebook: @jodyjlittleauthor


The Blueboards helped me more than I can say with researching and querying agents. I found my agent... and then this happened:

I've also so appreciated the support and advice for my debut coming out next month!

I love this place! Thank you, Verla!
#28 - August 04, 2009, 04:24 PM

I've been hanging around here since 2005. I've met some great people, several of them in person at various writing events. (But the contact was initiated here.)

Some of the best people I've met: my critique group, The Feathered Pens. (*waves to Barb/Owl.)

I've learned a lot about writing, subbing, children's lit, and more. Some info I've used already, more is filed away for later use.

I've found camaraderie through published magazine articles, awards, and also rejections. People here "get it". That's why I've stuck around. 

Thanks, Verla!!

#29 - August 04, 2009, 07:09 PM
Viking, 2013

Oh, wow! What I would do without Verla's!

Here's how it's helped me:

1. I found out about livejournal here and joined.

2. I found my best friend on livejournal. She told me to send Princess Peepers to Marshall Cavendish. Sold!

3. I found my agent on the Blue boards.

4. I found umpteen gazillion friends here.   :grouphug2

5. One of my critique partners I met here--Barb Kanninen--without her, my pb's wouldn't be the same.

6. I met many critique partners via people I've met here and livejournal.

I know I owe Verla a lot for starting this wonderful haven.   :thankyou
#30 - August 04, 2009, 07:55 PM

Brianna Bright Ballerina Knight series

Princess Peepers
Multiplying Menace


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