Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Meet Marilyn Salerno

Marilyn SalernoWhy did you join SCBW in 1988?

I signed up for a writing workshop with Tomie dePaola when I thought I would enjoy writing for children. His workshop was inspiring and I learned so much about publishing for children that day. The one important thing to do, he recommended, was to join SCBW. So I did.

The initial information I received was extremely helpful, and I became an active participant in Sue Burgess's critique group at the Westwood Public Library. With the help of the group's critiques, I published my first two magazine stories for children, one in Odyssey, and one in Family Earth.

Why do you think people who are interested in writing or illustrating children's books should join SCBWI?

People who are interested in writing for children are usually not writing full time. They juggle many hats as they write, edit, and then market their work. SCBWI is the place to go for help, education, advice, and to meet colleagues in the profession. SCBWI provides marketing and publishing information, help with developing craft, articles about issues in the field, changing staff within publishing houses, and opportunities to network with professionals in the field. 

SCBWI also offers guidance on issues of technology and provides critique groups, conferences, workshops, and other programs focused on educating writers and illustrators as they work toward publication. Regional Advisors around the world are available to answer questions and help writers and illustrators. They support and encourage both the emerging and experienced writer and illustrator.

Do you think SCBWI membership is also valuable to published authors and illustrators?

Published writers and illustrators also benefit from SCBWI membership by presenting at workshops and conferences. They have marketing information available to them, as well as information about school presentations; pitch and package ideas; the latest news about emerging markets, agents, media, and Internet possibilities; and networking opportunities with editors, agents, and colleagues.

What is your favorite SCBWI memory?

Attending my first SCBWI Summer Conference in LA in 1996. I had been a Regional Advisor for only a few months. I enjoyed meeting RAs from around the world and learned how much we had in common. The speakers were incredible, and I returned home supercharged to work on my writing and to provide New England members with opportunities to learn, share, grow, and work toward publication. Meeting Lin and Steve left a lasting impression on me as their warm, caring, personalities and humor made everyone feel valued.

What do you consider your most important contribution to SCBWI New England?

I strive to meet the needs of our members by aiding in the development of conferences, encouraging critique group participation, and providing grants, workshops, and other opportunities for members. I applaud and encourage new ideas from our members and help answer questions as we plan events. I have also worked hard to increase our volunteer base so we are able to reach more members.