We are delighted to welcome Katrina Charman, author of Poppy’s Place, to Story Snug. Katrina talks about how being a member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) played a part in her becoming a published author.
My journey to publication has very much been helped along by the fabulous organisation that is the SCBWI. I became a member in 2009 when I was still a newbie writer. I loved writing, and I knew it was what I wanted to do with my life and somehow turn into a career, I just didn’t have much of a clue as to how I could make that happen.
I was amazed to discover how much more there is to becoming a published writer than just the actual writing – finding a critique group who could help me to make my writing the very best it could be, learning how to write a query letter, figuring out which agents or publishers would be the best fit for my work . . . the list could go on.
In 2013, I became a volunteer for the SCBWI British Isles as joint editor of the online magazine Words and Pictures, where I was lucky enough to work alongside an amazingly talented bunch of people and had the opportunity to chat with authors, agents and editors online, most of whom were more than happy to share their wisdom and offer great advice.
I had always wanted to attend a SCBWI conference, but unfortunately never had the funds. Luckily, each year there is a scholarship in honour of writer, Margaret Carey, which is awarded to a fiction writer and picture book writer or illustrator. I applied for the scholarship, not really thinking I had much of a chance, but was thrilled when I found out I had been chosen.
The SCBWI conference held in Winchester offers a wealth of information and inspiration for both unpublished and published writers and illustrators, and the weekend flew by in a whirlwind of workshops, listening to keynote speakers such as the amazing Malorie Blackman, and meeting so many like-minded people. It was one of the most exhausting but creatively inspirational few days of my life.
At around the same time, I had also entered the SCBWI Undiscovered Voices competition and was lucky enough to be one of the winners to be included in the 2014 anthology. This led very quickly to me signing with my super star agent Gemma Cooper at The Bent Agency, and we immediately got to work, sending out submissions. Now, here I am with the first Poppy’s Place book coming out from Stripes in March and a second book to follow in the series later this year.
Without a doubt, I would not be where I am today if it hadn’t been for the support of the SCBWI and the fantastic opportunities the organisation provides for unpublished writers to get their big break, and the wonderful kidlit community online.
Thank you so much for sharing your story Katrina. I am also a member of SCBWI which provides fantastic support for potential children’s authors and illustrators as well as those who are already published. The SCBWI community is amazingly friendly and supportive and if you are serious about writing and / or illustrating they can provide you with lots of opportunities to learn more about the craft of creating children’s books.
Katrina Charman lives in a small village in South East England with her husband and three daughters. She was a winner of the SCBWI’s Undiscovered Voices Competition in 2014 and is the author of The Ninjabread Man.
Katrina on Twitter
Thank you to Stripes for sending us a copy of Poppy’s Place. We absolutely loved it and can’t wait for the next book!
You can find out more about Katrina and Poppy’s Place in the other four stops on the blog tour.