Monday, December 06, 2010

What thinks you?

In case you're wondering where's the feedback on the SCBWI event I was going on about last week; here it is. I woke up on Thursday, possibly Friday feeling a bit ooh err. I tossed and turned for a bit and then thought I would go to the little girl's room and see if that made it better. So to cut to the chase it didn't and by Saturday, although I was on the mend, I was only up for getting from bed to the sofa and shuffling about a bit. I don't know what it is with SCBWI events, but every time I sign up I get sick. Maybe someone else should sign me up for them, so that my immune system doesn't know and can't let me down.

Anyway, I was wondering about something else. A few weeks ago I joined a writing gang. In fact that's what its called. It's run by Caroline and Gary Smailes and is a site full of top tips. There are round-ups of all things writerly on the web, they send you a loving and extremely in depth e mail every week, which is then supported by something even more in depth on the blog. In a way I am a little overwhelmed by all the information I am being bombarded with, but I am filing it away for future reference, because it will come in useful one day. I have yet to leave a writing gang comment, because frankly at the moment all I want to say is 'Thank you' and I have a feeling that that is a bit pants, but I am thankful, because the advice seems very good. And furthermore, all I had to do was enter my e mail address.

SCBWI is also full of good advice, I am sure, but I pay $70 a year for the priviledge and I have yet to profit from an event due to lurgy bugs and what not. It does give me access to forums and crit groups and directories, so all good. It also seems very well run and professional.

Then I came across a post by Lynne Garner  and I found myself wiggling my nose and screwing up my mouth in a questioning way. Lynne Garner is a professional published author who is running courses on how to get published and offering one-to-one coaching. She is plugging her courses on the post and saying that we would pay for a plumber, so why not her?

The thing is, that even before I finished reading it I thought, NO! NO! NO! I recognise that there is a paradox in my argument here and should Lynne Garner ever read my post I will be pissing her off for life, but here goes, I will try to explain.

Caroline and Gary Smailes are mostly offering their advice for free. They recognised that it was difficult to get published, they wanted to share an experience et voila. The mentoring and copy editing is a paid service (well paid), but you get the website and tons of resources first and if you are pleased as a customer you get to choose whether you want to pay for more. Call me naive, but it seems that they are spending a lot of their time sharing things they have found useful.

SCBWI is a paid service, but it's been going for years. Lots of its members are published and its recognised as a good society to be part of if you want to break into children's publishing. They run great conferences and the nice people of SCBWI put up youtube videos on Facebook for those of us unable to go. They have masterclasses on video, there is a magazine, they offer grants. You know, you get your money's worth.

So to go back to Lynne Garner's point of we pay for the plumber. Well, yes, unless the plumber is your lovely neighbour's brother and out of the kindness of his heart he fixes your tap for free. Or we pay for the plumber who comes with the highest recommendations of as many people as possible, because otherwise they're a bit renowned for ripping people off, aren't they?

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