Thursday, October 15, 2009

What's New at scbwi.org? Everything! Here's the Scoop...

If you've visited the website for the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators lately you've noticed that it's gone through a major renovation. I've asked SCBWI Creative Director Aaron Hartzler to give you a tour.

Scbwi.org went through quite an overhaul this year. Tell me about new features members may not be aware of.

Thanks for noticing! I've spent two years now working very closely with Lin Oliver and Steve Mooser to develop the new site, and we're really thrilled with the way it's taking shape.

Best new functions available now:

  1. The "Find A Speaker" page: Educators and librarians can now search for SCBWI members and even see video clips from classroom presentations. PAL members can click on "Speaker Profile" on their member home page to add video and information.
  2. The Illustrator's Gallery: Illustrator members of SCBWI no longer have to pay a separate service or web site to host an online portfolio. Just log in and click on "My Portfolio" to upload images. Once you've uploaded an image, your name will appear in the searchable index of SCBWI illustrators.
  3. "Search Members": Our old "Member roster" search has been given a much-needed 21st-century update. Click on "Search Members" in the upper right-hand corner of any page on the site, and you can find other members by name, email address, location, even book title.
  4. Regional Home Pages: When you log in, click on the “Regional Chapter” icon and you’ll be taken to your Regional Home Page. This is sort of like a Facebook group page where you’ll be connected with all of the other members in your region. You can see the regional events that are upcoming, details for your next regional conference, and read the latest from your Regional Advisor’s news blog. You can quickly browse members in your region and send a message or a friend request. Connecting with other SCBWI members in your area has never been easier.
  5. Member Neworking: We're calling this function "SCBWInc." "INC" stands for "Insider Networking Community." You now have the ability to send messages to other SCBWI members and add them as a friend right at SCBWI.org. Also, click around on your friends’ profiles and see their latest publishing news, pictures and contact information.
When did the SCBWInc feature launch? What’s the advantage of creating a profile and making friends on the SCBWI site as opposed to, say, Facebook or Jacketflap? Any tips for using it?

SCBWInc, our member networking platform, just launched October 13th. Co-founder and Executive Director Lin Oliver was very specific when I was developing this part of the site that she wanted this function to be more than just "social networking." Writing and illustrating can be solitary work. SCBWInc is designed as a place for members who are often isolated in their own studios or hunkered down editing a manuscript to come and surface for a creative recharge. Without leaving your seat at the computer or the drafting table, we wanted to provide a little taste of the community aspect that is often felt at our regional events and annual international conferences in New York and Los Angeles with the click of a mouse.

Being a member of Facebook or other sites is a great way to market your work and get the word out, but there’s nothing like the community sense of the SCBWI. Those letters in our name (and we do spell it out—we don’t pronounce it as a word that sounds like “squeegee”!) have come to be synonymous not only with professional support and advocacy, but also with the true community of artistic peers who rely on one another for encouragement that goes far beyond marketing and visibility.

Are there any more changes in store for scbwi.org?

Yes! Now that the major functions are in place, we’re embarking on a round secondary additions. So stay tuned for more info on:
  1. Blogs/RSS Feeds: Look for news soon on a blog from the SCBWI Illustrator Committee, a legal questions blog, and a tech blog with an emphasis on marketing your work—all with RSS feeds so you can get an instant update.
  2. Redesigned Discussion Board Forum, hosted on our site (that doesn’t require a secondary login!)
  3. The all-new SCBWI Store: A brand new shopping experience for T-shirts, SCBWI Master Class DVDs, and other great merch!
  4. The Online Publication Guide: While members may currently download a PDF copy of the annual “Pub Guide,” all of our Market Surveys and Directories will soon be fully searchable.
  5. The SCBWI Bulletin Archive: Over 30 years of SCBWI Bulletins have been scanned in and are currently being indexed for easy searching and reading online!
  6. More video! We’ve got years and years of conference footage and we’re working on clearing some rights issues to be able to use some of that video on the site!

Oh—one more very important question: Will SCBWI again offer fantastic blog coverage of the upcoming Winter Conference in New York (January 29-31, 2010)?

You better believe it! There’s this really great SCBWI member—Alice Pope? You may know her. (She’s got a killer SCBWI Member Profile here.) Anyway, she’ll be heading up another all-star team of bloggers to bring you hits and highlights from the upcoming 10th Annual International SCBWI Winter Conference in New York. Conference brochures will be in the mail by the end of next week, and we’re aiming to go live with registration online October 28th!

7 comments:

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Just added my picture to my members page. Thanks!

CocoaStomp said...

Eeeee!!!

Suzanne Young said...

I updated my profile! Yay!

Cuppa Jolie said...

NICE!

Donna M. McDine said...

Great informative post. Must get my profile updates. Thanks!

Lori Calabrese said...

The new features are great! I can get lost in there! :)

Thanks for the update!

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