SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board


FAQ list

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

There are a lot of new people on this board, and many more who have been here for a long time that might not be fully aware of some of the basic "rules" for using this message board.

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 places on the web where you can go to discuss politics. This board is a "political-free zone" and political messages of any kind are not permitted  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 lawsuits where some other writing-related websites have been sued and LOST in cases where negative things have been said on their sites against specific agents, agencies, editors, and/or publishers. We don't want to end up with a lawsuit for something someone said on this message board against an agent or publisher! 

Likewise, we don't denigrate authors or illustrators whose work we dislike or with whom we disagree. We can respectfully express our opinions of books, but please keep negative discussion of personalities off the board.

Another thing to realize is that it isn't okay to post a letter (or email) from someone else. It's fine to post a line here and there from the letter, but NOT the entire letter unless you have permission from the person who wrote the letter. (This is especially true of letters from Editors and Agents.) Please see this excellent post for more information on why we have this rule in place:

6.  No 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.

NOTE: This rule does not apply to SCBWI Regional Advisors. They have a special board in the SCBWI Only area of the board where they are allowed to freely advertise their services to other SCBWI members.

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. Nor is it Craig's List or eBay, and the Administrators 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.

Advertising goods and services in the SCBWI areas is also restricted. SCBWI members may advertise if:
1. You have been either an SCBWI member or a Blueboard member for at least two years AND
2. You have made at least a hundred (100) contributory posts (i.e., posts that contribute substance to conversations, not just offer congratulations or say "me too!") AND
3. You have received permission from an Administrator.

Advertisements of any kind made by members who do not meet these criteria will be removed without notice.  Thank you for helping keep the Blueboards a supportive, informational, spam-free place!

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.  On a related note...

7.  No solicitation of any kind.

The purpose of the Blueboards is for members to share information and support in their writing and illustrating careers, and not to request help, monetary or otherwise, from fellow members, no matter how good the cause.  SCBWI does not allow Kickstarter campaigns, crowdfunding or other fund solicitation, or social media vote/like/share solicitation on the message board.  Any such posts will be removed by a Moderator or Administrator without notice. On rare occasions SCBWI gives special permission for specific projects to be posted that it feels might be of benefit to Blueboarders.

8. For your own protection, only post artwork or stories on this board that you don't want to sell, or excerpts no more than about 10% of the whole work. Do not copy or reproduce anyone's artwork or stories from this board without the creator's written permission. When posting an image on the boards, whether uploading an attachment or embedding an image, please do not exceed our board size limitations of 300kb for attachments). Please limit to two images per post. NOTE: This does not apply to the SCBWI Only Manuscript and Art Exchange areas of the board as they are private areas not available to the public or search engines.

9. Do not use the board as your second blog.

Post a link to your blog and a couple of lines about the subject. The intent should be to generate a discussion about your blog topic here on the boards. If you are simply alerting others to a new post, please use the "What Did You Blog About Today" thread.

Also, please feel free to post a link to your blog, twitter, website etc in your signature, but please do not post images of any kind in your signature line (that's what an avatar is for). One small exception to this rule is the use of Blueboard smiley code. Small board smileys are permitted.

10. Do not request reviews. Not only that, but no compensation of any kind can be offered in exchange for book reviews or book blurbs.

Posting a public review of a book they've honestly enjoyed is one of the best ways readers can support authors they like and admire. However, we ask that no one come here and request reviews for their books, offer review copies in exchange for a review, or offer reciprocal reviews. Remember that the Blueboard is a community for sharing knowledge, celebrating accomplishments, and commiserating over difficulties rather than a place to advertise, promote, and publicize. Posts which violate this will be deleted without comment.

11.  Do not register more than once.

When you try to register more than once, you cause a lot of unnecessary work for the administrators. If you need to post anonymously, we have an anonymous persona available to full members. Please, folks, do not register more than once! If we notice you are trying to register a second time under a different name, you will not be approved. If we find you have created a second account, you will be asked to delete one. If you want to change your screen name on the board, it can be done in your profile. Go to Profile> Account Settings and change the Name field. Ask an administrator to help you if you need to change your username.

12. No double posting. Please do not post the same topic twice anywhere on the board. We will merge or remove without notice.  This applies to the SCBWI Only board as well. If you want to reach the entire board membership, SCBWI and non-SCBWI members, a post on the main board will reach everyone. (One exception: posting for the lawyer and for the general board -- under legal discussions -- could be allowed in certain circumstances.)

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.

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.)