Tip of the Day: If you're a writer - treat it like a real job. Don't let anyone say your writing time isn't valuable.
Maybe you're new to those acronyms. I'll explain what they stand for and what it means.
SCBWI = Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
PAL = Published and Listed
PAL is, traditionally, only available to those with a publishing contract from a verified publisher. Self-published authors could not be PAL members.
Back in April, the Yahoo! group for SCBWI-IL exploded in conversation on whether self-publishing was viable, valid, and worthwhile. As a self-publisher who loves what she does, I stood up for self-publishing. Others shared opposing feelings. It was a spirited debated.
Afterward I was encouraged to contact the governing board of SCBWI concerning self-publishing. Even though that made me very nervous, I decided to do it. To my surprise, I heard back from a member of the board quickly. They were all interested in learning more about self-publishing, particularly from those who were successful.
Over the last few months, I've shared quite a bit of my personal data. Sales reports, income statements, etc. Because SCBWI was so integral in helping me become the writer I am today, I wanted to give back in any way I could (I have also done various behind-the-scenes volunteering for them since I joined).
A little over a month ago, a friend told me I should apply for an exception to PAL. I was really surprised, but figured it couldn't hurt to try. I spoke with my contact on the board and asked if this was a possibility. Within a few hours I was encouraged to send along a detailed packet of information for them to consider.
It was weeks before I heard anything. Honestly, I had no idea whether or not they would accept me. I certainly didn't deserve it just because I'd been in communication with the board. If I was going to receive a PAL exception I wanted it to be for my achievements in writing and in the business of publishing.
Earlier this week, the good news came through! I had been accepted! My friends asked if I was bubbling over with excitement. I was happy, but at the same time I knew it was just an exception for me. I still want my fellow self-pubs to find a path to PAL.
To me, PAL means you're a professional. It means you've achieved something incredible in your writing career. So why are successful self-publishers still not able to have it? I'm certainly not the most successful self-pub out there. I do quite well, yes, but I'm not the queen by any means.
It's my hope the SCBWI board will find a way to make PAL work for everyone who's achieved success in publishing. I know it's not an easy task. I don't envy their position. I will continue to share my information with them if they want it and advocate for my self-pub friends. The publishing world is evolving. I don't know about you, but I think it's a beautiful thing.
Viva publishing and viva SCBWI!
Megg, Miss Enchanted ePubber