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
- 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
- Australian Society of Authors – http://www.asauthors.org
- Australian Writers’ Guild – http://www.awg.com.au
- Society of Childrens Book Writers & Illustrators – http://www.scbwiaustralia.org
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 http://www.qwc.asn.au
Childrens Authors & Illustrators on Facebook
The Children’s Book Council of Australia
The Writer’s Message Board
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.