One of the greatest things about belonging to SCBWI for me has been the community. Sitting in my first SCBWIWA conference four years ago I suddenly realized that I was surrounded by hundreds of people who were passionate about the same things I was. It was an electrifying moment. I get that same feeling on Twitter, or when I read a favorite blogger’s new post. The crossroads of knowledge and community is a powerful location.
In the last year I have been paying close attention to the state of publishing. As it changes so do our roles as creators of the content that feeds both digital and paper books. The most important thing in publishing is what we do: the story, visual or written, that will speak to the reader. The task of carrying that forward to publication can be daunting and at times overwhelming. Luckily, there is a huge virtual community providing information about exactly what we do.
Twitter. I started a Twitter account a year ago and have found it to be a tremendous source of news, resources and people. My strategy has been to follow the people whose work interests me. I comb my stream for links to blog posts on craft or practice, watch friendships develop or solidify as people talk to one another back and forth, and catch news as it breaks and as it develops. Diversity is a wonderful thing: I’ve been so grateful to be able to hear the voices of Egyptians and other protesters in the Middle East, to follow the recent events in Japan and participate in support efforts run by tweeps I follow as they fundraise for relief efforts all over the world. The kidlitosphere is a generous universe, and one way to access this generosity in all its forms is on Twitter.
Jane Friedman, in her Writers Digest blog There are no Rules, gathers the best writerly Twitter links every week. Friedman’s column also covers blogging, digital publishing and more, essential reading. Here is her post on how her Twitter use evolved. Greg Pincus, who with Bonnie Adamson helped start a weekly gathering on Twitter (kidlitchat), gives sage social media advice over on his blog, The Happy Accident. Kristen Lamb has a really helpful blog as well – different flavor, same meal.
In addition to Jane Friedman’s weekly tweets for writers and #kidlitchat, take a look at #kidlit, #scbwi, #yalitchat and the 24/7 phenomenon that is #amwriting, started by the writer Joanna Penn as a way to motivate herself, build a platform for the books she was writing and find community.
The Book Designer is Joel Friedlander’s studio/blog where he talks about designing books, type, publishing, and the writer’s platform. Friedlander is all about supporting what you do – and he’ll design your book for you if that’s something you need. I read every one of his posts. This one on building your author platform sums the subject up nicely.
Digital Book World. Billing itself as Publishing for the 21st Century, DBW hosts a number of webinars and an invaluable series of Roundtable discussions. This free bi-monthly half-hour is a virtual table around which sits a changing group of publishers, writers, media folk, agents and booksellers. You can listen, post questions on the webinar site and follow along on the twitter hashtag #DBW. This is a parallel conversation and is funny, passionate and a fabulous source of community. Publishing is in the middle of a huge sea change and DBW is one way I track the changes as they come. There is always something interesting in the stream under #DBW.