I attended a fantastic workshop yesterday through the Torrance Children’s Book Writers Group. This was my first meeting with the group, so I was unsure of what to expect. I was thoroughly impressed by the amount of information presented and eternally grateful for the vast amount of writers tools provided during the three-hour session. We learned not only the elements of an effective query, but also resources for finding agents. Nutschell, the group organizer, took us through the pros and cons of querying an agent vs. a publisher, and then presented a list of fee and free resources for putting together an agent database to contact. We also received some resources for tracking our agent queries. She then broke down the query letter and deconstructed the process into three steps, each with purposeful exercises to help us craft each sentence.
I was overwhelmed by the time and expense that Nutschell put into this writers’ workshop. If the breadth of information and knowledge gained at the meeting wasn’t enough, I also had the opportunity to connect and network with other writers. This is always invaluable to me, as it helps me identify with others on this same path and reinforce that I am not alone (or crazy for pursuing this dream). I saw a few familiar faces from a past SCBWI event, which also was reassuring, giving credibility to this new group I was trying out, and further encouraging me to keep going to these events, if for nothing else, but to build a support network and writer’s community.
If you are in the area and are able, check out the Torrance Children’s Book Writers Group on Meetup: http://www.meetup.com/Torrance-Childrens-Book-Writing-Group/. Are there any writers groups that have been helpful to you?