Last week I went to the exhibition opening of amazingly talented artist and children’s author and illustrator, Jacqui Grantford.

It was called A Show of Hands and Jacqui had painted the hands of some famous and not so famous people – but every one of her pictures told an important story of that person. There were surgeons, footballers, babies, teens, artists – each picture created in amazing detail.

The exhibition was inspirational, the paintings brilliant, but one of the most wonderful parts to the evening was catching up with the contingent of Australian children’s authors and illustrators who had braved a chilly winter’s night to support Jacqui (that’s the lovely and talented artist in the pink and black dress) and her amazing exhibition.

It was one of the things that reminded me of just how important networks are. There are the networks of agents, publishers, reviewers etc who will help you get your books to publication and out there into people’s homes.

Then there are the other authors and illustrators – usually the ones who help you get from the seed of an idea to the completed first draft – the people who give you the courage to go on when your filing cabinet has a folder crammed full of rejection letters.

How do you develop networks?

Here are places where I have met likeminded individuals – where I have connected with authors and illustrators who have become lifelong friends:

  • writers’ groups
  • writers’ centres
  • writing courses – I have made many of my writing contacts directly and indirectly through a Professional Writing & Editing Diploma I did through Vic Uni.
  • writers’ organisations like Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Australian Society of Authors and Fellowship of Australian Writers
  • writers’ festivals and conferences (if you join a writers’ centre they will usually provide information about these).


  • Search Yahoo Groups for writers and for specific categories you write in
  • Facebook (search for writers groups and pages here
  • LinkedIn
  • Jacketflap
  • Google+ I haven’t yet had the time to venture here yet but I believe you can build circles by categories so you can build circle of writers, publishers, librarians etc
  • Twitter – twitter has discussion forums about writing and these are great places to meet likeminded people #pblitchat, #yalitchat, #kidlitchat, #askagent
  • Networks like Blue Dingo

There are writers’ centres in many states of Australia and some regional areas and their contact details can be found by Googling or by buying a copy of the Australian Writer’s Marketplace which is compiled and edited by Queensland Writer’s Centre

Authors, Agents & Aspiring Writers!/groups/204725947524

Childrens Authors & Illustrators on Facebook!/groups/childrensauthorsandillustrators

The Children’s Book Council of Australia!/groups/91641366798

The Writer’s Message Board!/groups/143283442358144

 Writer Unboxed!/groups/writerunboxed

Fans of SCBWI

These are the contacts and contact points I use but this list is by no means complete. If you have some other network or networking suggestions, please feel free to share them with readers of this blog by leaving the information in the comments section of this page.

Happy writing and networking:)


P.S. On the 4th August I’m off to the SCBWI Conference in LA. Very exciting for an Australian author like me who has never been to the US and I can’t wait to meet my online friends who will be there. So next week I’m going to be doing a post about conference etiquette. If you have any tips I’d love to hear them.


  1. Great post, it’s such a big part of writing now. Not just for the promoting but to connect with writers for advice and motivation. Some new links for me here to try – thanks 🙂

    Google + looks promising, but I’m only dipping my toe there until it really takes off – I got all excited about Google Wave but it’s a pretty lonely place in there. Facebook, Twitter and Blogger are my favourite ways to connect.

  2. Thanks, Charmaine,

    I haven’t ventured into Google + yet. It’s hard to find the right balance between networking and writing, but we definitely need our networks.

    Happy writing and networking:)


  3. All the best for the USA- fantastic- yes I’ve always been a member of groups- Society of women writers’ in the early days and was part of their postal magazine group- loved this- member of the Australian poetry centre as well as the usual groups for children’s authors. I believe strongly in being part of writers’ groups to network and be informed and in turn encourage.

  4. I agree, networking is so important. I have met some wonderful people, also through attending workshops and festivals. I’ve found blogs are a great networking tool too. Only last week, I joined the Australian Writers’ Forum, an on-line writing community where I have met some like minded writers AND may have picked up an illustration job.


  5. Dee thanks so much for this superbly benefical post. Enjoyed it and the joyful pics. I have dabbled in Google + but felt it is still in the trialling stages (like me) so have backed off from it for a spell. Perhaps once the momentum picks up…

  6. What a motley bunch of friends you’ve got, Dee. (She says, very much tongue in cheek.) There’s not too many faces here that I don’t recognise, myself. Thoroughly nice people! xx

    Writing doesn’t seem like such an isolated occupation these days. In fact, the challenge seems to be switching your friends off. 😉 Social media can be very distracting…

    Charmaine, we used GoogleWave for a critique platform and loved it. Unfortunately, GoogleWave got very slow, so we’ve had to abandon. We haven’t found anything near as good. Still looking… (But not looking at Google+ yet. It doesn’t sound like what we’re chasing.)

  7. Lovely post, Dee!

    And there we all are too! I agree with everything you’ve said. And can’t imagine what it would be like not to be part of this community of people who write and illustrate for young people. 🙂

    Have a truly wonderful, exciting and successful trip to the LA SCBWI Conference.
    Looking forward to hearing all about it! ♥

  8. Thanks, Dimity,

    I will venture into Google+. It’s finding the time. I’m very inspired with my writing at the moment so don’t want to lose the momentum with that:) Have fun networking and writing:)


  9. Thanks, Sheryl,

    Even Charlie rated in the pics:) A writing and illustrating community is so important isn’t it?

    I will definitely have a truly wonderful, exciting and successful trip to LA:) So many writerly friends I’m looking forward to meeting for the first time:)

    Dee xx

  10. I have found a lot of support from the Writer Unboxed folks and a up-and-coming group on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and the web #pubwrite (PubWrite (FB) and PubWriteGroup).

  11. Great post, Dee. Thoroughly agree. Networking is an important part of a writing career. And it’s something I haven’t been doing enough of recently. 😦 Missed the last SCBWI meeting.

  12. Thanks, Chris,

    As you know, I’ve very thrilled to be going too. It’s going to be such an amazing learning experience. I don’t have any expectations, so whatever happens I will enjoy:)

    I totally understand what you mean about struggling to keep up with the social networking. That’s why I haven’t joined Google+ yet. Something to do when I get back from LA.

    Happy editing:)


  13. Thanks, George,

    Hard to juggle the writing/networking/family thing sometimes isn’t it? Hope to see you at the next SCBWI meeting. Congratulations on your new book, Gamers’ Challenge. I imagine that has been keeping you pretty busy:)


  14. Yes, Dee, the kids take up a lot of my time (which I’m quite happy about, BTW). Yes, the upcoming release is definitely keeping me busy. Getting ready for all that promotion. Just confirmed the launch date: 17 Sept at Richmond Library, 1pm. Will have an invite soon-ish.
    Cheers, george

  15. Hi Karen,

    Thanks for your comment.

    Unfortunately you won’t see me at CYA. I know it’s going to be a fabulous conference but I have spent all this year’s conference budget (and probably the budget for the next five years) going to the conference in LA. Hope you have a wonderful time at CYA.


  16. Hi Alison,

    LOL. Thanks for the great advice:) I really wish you’d stop reading my mind (as usual:) – wait till you see Tuesday’s post – it’s on just this topic, although I hadn’t thought of the garlic – at first I wondered if you were wanting me to eat garlic to scare away the vampires:) Must admit, hadn’t heard that definition of the elevator pitch. I love it:)

    I love writer networks too:)


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