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How has the Blueboard helped you?

Started by Verla Kay, January 10, 2023, 10:00 AM

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Verla Kay

It's time to let everyone know how the Blueboard has helped (or is helping) you.  Here are some questions to kickstart your stories.

What benefits have you gained as a direct result of the Blueboard?

Did the Blueboard help you to get published? To find an agent? To find the best places to submit your manuscripts?

Have you become better at your craft because of the Blueboard? How did it help you? Did you find or join a critique group through the Blueboard?

How important is the Blueboard to you and to your writing and/or illustrating?  What would make it even more beneficial to you?

Do you feel the Blueboard is a benefit of SCBWI? Is there anything SCBWI could do to make the Blueboard better for you?

Sharing your personal success stories here will give encouragement and hope to others who are struggling in their publishing journeys and will help SCBWI to see why the Blueboard is important to you.

Verla Kay

Check out my Crafts Forum!


I will copy and paste from my own blog a post that spoke to the whole ordeal we had gone through when the abrupt announcement about the shutting of these boards came down.

Quoting myself:

"Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Some friendships are digital only, never to exist in our everyday physical world.

So are places.

One such place is the SCBWI Blue Boards, established by Verla Kay and later taken over by the Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators.

It is a safe place to get educated, informed, and make friends with others who write or illustrate for children. Safe, because it was always moderated to quell flare-ups, keep out partisan politics or religious and anti-religious preaching and rants.

But it never lacked in real content and support, and let me tell you— if you embark on a writing journey you will need support.

A few days ago, a public announcement told the virtual water-cooler will be shut with two weeks' notice. No explanation given.

Maybe the SCBWI headquarters have felt the boards have outlived their usefulness, (they were wrong on that count) or the digital space was too expensive for the organization to support (I wouldn't know, they never said, and the membership was never asked to contribute more toward that end) ~~~

Whatever the reason, I was in mourning. The Blue Boards are where I learned from others more than any how-to books or internet posts ever could teach, and where I made friends. It was a digital space where I got and gave support.

While I also felt grateful for the years I got to have this hangout space, and I knew I was fortunate in that, I was sorry for those coming in now who would not be.

Yesterday, after a lot of heartfelt cries from many (many) members, the SCBWI reversed course and the chat boards are safe, at least for now. It goes to show that protest can and does work when a body is truly made of its parts. It's a reminder that so-called final decisions don't have to be. When the parts cry out, the head listens.

The experience of mourning yet another digital death has transformed into experiencing a resurrection.

Call it a Hanukkah miracle, or a Christmas present. " 

:hanukah :merryxmas


The Blueboard helped me find a critique partner who was invaluable in taking my writing to the next level required to achieve Trade publication (from Education). The CP also provided "inside" advice on publishers in the USA (I am in Australia).
The Blueboard let me know about an opening for submissions at Millbrook Publishing (Lerner) which led to the publication of my book, Odd Bods, which has since led to recognition by Awards bodies and raising my profile in schools and libraries.
I have used the Blueboard to ask questions when researching US terminology for manuscripts, and the quick informative responses have been excellent.
Over the years, I have made friends and connections in the US book world via the Blueboard. I have heard about others' new releases which I have supported and helped to promote on other social media platforms.
I am very grateful for the Blueboard - it is egalitarian, easy to use and free. I thank Verla for starting it, keeping it going, and caring for its future by eventually handing it over to SCBWI. I also thank SCBWI for seeing the benefits in keeping it going for its members (and others).
How could it be improved? I would like the hardworking mods to be compensated for their hard work (if they aren't already). I can't think of anything else off the top of my head. I'll come back if something occurs to me.
Lastly, I have loved hearing the thoughts and advice of highly professional and experienced authors, illustrators, publishers, and agents, who are otherwise very difficult to hear without paying to attend conferences and workshops. And on this fantastic forum, I believe they have been overall respected and not approached for favors, etc. It's an incredible opportunity for learning!
Cheer Up, Blobfish! (Affirm Press, 2024) -


The Blueboard is where I first learned about Short Edition whose publication, Short Circuit, accepted and published two of my short stories for children.  Although the platform is now closed, I am grateful that my stories did find readers and a home at least for a while.   And, as of 2022, I still receive royalties on my work!  If it hadn't been for the Blueboard, I never would have found this opportunity.  Thank you!


There are so many ways the blueboards has helped me. I found many connections: support ones, critique ones, etc. I also learned about querying and submitting. Everyone shares their knowledge. The blueboards are extremely helpful when you are first starting out. There is so much to learn and it can all be found here.

HANGABOUT, FAR FROM HOME, Orange Blossom Publishing, August 2023.

Barbara Etlin

I found my critique partners through the Blueboard in 2005. We're still good friends, supporting each others' writing.

When I asked Blueboarders for advice on how to discourage a skunk from terrorizing my dog, I got a useful answer. I eventually wrote about my experience and turned it into a humorous newspaper article, which was published in The Toronto Star.

I've researched various obscure subjects for my writing projects here. Someone always knows the right answer or can tell me where to look.

Occasionally agents would drop by, inviting Blueboarders to query them. I got several requests this way.


This is my first post in a number of years, but after seeing Verla Kay's post I knew I needed to reply.  I started a poetry critique group through this board (Blueboard and SCWBI board) back in 2005, and relied on them heavily to recruit new members in the early years.  I'm proud to say the critique group is still going strong today with over two dozen published picture book titles and countless published poems.  Our group has been part of the publishing journey for many writers and I don't know how I would have started a group without the use of this board.  So thank you Verla Kay, the SCBWI, and all those involved in making this work.


I'm relieved and thrilled the Blue Boards are here to stay! Yay! It's a great resource and helps promote community. Great work to everyone for saving the Blue Boards! Thank you.


The Blueboard, previously Verla Kay's Blueboard, has meant everything to my career.

When I first decided to try to write for children, I knew absolutely nothing. I read books, scoured the internet, and jumped in. But despite all the good information out there, there was none better or more relevant, and no people more gracious and knowledgeable, than those on the Blueboard.

I found my first critique group--eventually my first real writing friends--on the Blueboard. I learned about the industry, about the ins and outs, about specific editors, publishers, agents, librarians, marketing ideas, author websites, author visits, how ERs are different from PBs, which are different from BBs.

I learned about the educational WFH market. I eavesdropped on industry changes and upheavals, found great resources, like Harold Underdown's website and others.

I've promoted my books and events, connected with other Blueboarders who were attending in-person conferences, recommended the Blueboard to everyone, posted Anonymously for tricky industry questions, offered my services, both paying and free, to others on the Blueboard, and on and on.

I check the Blueboard every day and post when I have something I think might be useful to others. This forum is so much more meaningful in terms of educating people about writing and publishing for children and for making meaningful connections with others in the kidlit industry than any other platform, like Twitter. Unlike great books about children's publishing, the Blueboard is real time. There is no substitute. It is well organized and wonderfully moderated. I'm grateful for it.
Starred Review, School Library Journal
NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book for 2024
Oklahoma's Donna Norvell Masterlist 2025


I have to answer with a resounding "yes" to all of the questions requiring a yes or no answer. The Blueboard has helped many authors connect, find agents and publishers, and improve their work. While I cannot visit as frequently as I used to, it's good to know there is always a resource available for new and aspiring authors.
ROYALLY ENTITLED (inspirational/historical YA) and OOPS-A-DAISY (humorous MG) out now.

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