What’s new with SCBWI?


I’ve wanted to post this blog since I came back from the wonderful Regional Advisor retreat in March. I know. That’s a long time and a lot has happened in that time. Of note, I finished my creative thesis and had a wonderful final grad residency at Vermont College of Fine Arts that culminated in my graduation. Yes. I am officially Anna J. Boll, MFA. But enough about me. This post is about new developments at SCBWI and how you can take advantage of them.

1. Headquarters is encouraging Regional Advisors (RA’s) to create programs that are low or no cost events. Here are just a few events that I’ve been thinking of.

Meet-Ups: Host a meet up at a local book store, the library, or popular watering hole. These events can be just social or you can ask a local author/illustrator to read from their new book, or talk about some aspect of craft or marketing.

Group Book Launch: Do you have a book coming out? I’d love to hear about it so I can connect you with others in your area who might be able to do a signing/launch activity at a local book store or library. I’m also happy to congratulate you on my blog.

Sketch Crawl: Get together with other SCBWI illustrators and go to the zoo, the aquarium, or hang out in a local park. There is plenty of subject matter for artists all around.

Portfolio Review: Have a portfolio critique session with other illustrators (live or online) so you can put your best work forward. Especially helpful before trips to major SCBWI conferences.

Museum/Library Visit: Have you always wanted to go to look at Michelson’s gallery? The Eric Carle Museum? Did you know that there’s a great Illustration exhibit in Lewiston-Auburn College until August 12th? Our own NESCBWI member David Kelly and many other authors are slated to speak at the Boston Public Library? If you’re planning to go, let’s tell other members and see if we can get a group together.

Book Clubs: Good writers have to be good readers. Would you be interested in analyzing the works of published children’s authors to discuss what makes a great story /illustration.

Figure Drawing Nights: Figure drawing is a critical skill for any artist. If you are interested, email me and we will try to get a critical mass together to hire models.

Retreat Day: Do you live on a lake, in the mountains, by the ocean? Invite a few SCBWI members to join you for a day of writing with an optional sharing/critique. Have everyone bring a dish to share for lunch and keep costs low.

***If this is a sanctioned SCBWI event, I need to know about it. Send me an email at NorthernNERA at nescbwi dot org.


2. The 40th Annual SCBWI Summer Conference is August 5th – 8th in Los Angeles and I’ll be there! Sadly, I do not own a smartphone. If I did, I’d download the amazing Guidebook App to plan my conference. It gives you a personalized schedule, and information about each speaker and session. You can also browse maps of the event space at the Hyatt, and follow the #LA11SCBWI Twitter feed directly from the app.


The app is compatible with iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches and Android devices.


To get the guide, choose one of the methods below:


  1. Download ‘Guidebook’ from the Apple App Store or the Android Marketplace
  2. Visit http://guidebookapp.com/getit from your phone’s browser 


The guide will be listed under the "download guides" section of the application.


3. Awards and Grants:

If you haven’t looked at the SCBWI Awards and Grants recently, follow this link!


Today I’m highlighting the SCBWI Book Launch Award which provides two annual awards of $2000 each for an author or illustrator to use for marketing a book scheduled for release from a PAL publisher during the next calendar year. We all know that authors and illustrators are increasingly responsible for their own marketing. The money from this grant can be used for any kind of promotional purpose that will increase sales and visibility of the book, such as launch events, speaking engagements, book tours, curriculum materials, advertising, book trailers, website development, or community events. 

Watch this space for more grant information and interviews with recent winners!

Have a great weekend.



The discipline of the blog…and a graduation.

Here is what happens to me when I sit down to post to my blog these days.

1. I get an idea- "Today is my graduation from Vermont College of Fine Arts." Simple enough. A little yahoo! a few tears an amazing accomplishment. Shouldn’t be hard.
2. I start to reflect on the topic. It’s like cleaning my desk. I can’t just pile up the papers and put them neatly in the corner. No. I have to look at each sheet of paper. When I do, I realize that each paper- idea and memory connect to another.
3. Now the post is looking more like "Vermont College and all the amazing wonderful  things that have happened here, all I’ve learned, all about the incredible faculty, the community, my grad rez, my work and…and.. and before I know it the task seems overwhelming.
4. I click to some less daunting thread of the world wide web until I forget all about the blog tab on my desk top.
5. When I get back to it, the post seems irrelevant.
6. Repeat.

In order to reintroduce the discipline of the blog, I’ll be posting small at first. Trying not to get overwhelmed. I’m hoping to blog Mondays,  Wednesdays. Don’t be fussy if I miss a week and share interesting content with others when it moves you. Comment often to keep me going. That way I know you are out there and that it is worth it.

I do graduate from Vermont College of Fine Arts today. My residency has been wonderful. Full of friends new and old. A few stand out lectures from faculty and a lot of pride watching my fellow League of Extraordinary Cheese Sandwich members ace their lectures. The readings have been amazing. Each one full of heart and soul. We’ve come so far, and the growth is all based on two years of intense study and work.

My lecture and reading were well received. I am so thankful to the entire VCFA community. This process has taught me not just how to write, but how to be a writer. I leave the program with confidence. Confidence that might even last a whole week before the fear of creation begins again. I am ready to leave. I know I’ll stay in touch with my dear friends but like the end of an emotional book, I am reluctant to close the back cover.

More reflection in time. Peace.