Friday, October 23, 2009

DO I OR DON'T I...That is the question.

I've been pondering about something for quite some time. Perhaps you would be kind enough to give me some input. The Institute of Children's Literature only accepts 32% of it's applicants. I was accepted, but can't decide if it's the right move in these economic times. If you've had experience with them, I would appreciate your input.

If you went through their program:
*Were you published prior to enrolling?
*How many pieces did you publish while taking the course?
*Did you get your money's worth?
*Did you ask for a refund?
*How has going through their program affected your writing?
*Are you closer to your goals because of the training you received or would you have gotten there anyway?
*Who did you work with?
*Would you do it again?
*Would you recommend it to your mother, if she suddenly took up writing?

I welcome all comments, good or bad.

If you get a chance to go to my story Peep, Peep, Peep is on page 69. If enough people vote for me I could have the honor of being one of the top three stories of the month. (Thanks in advance.)


  1. I don't know anything about this organization. But it's great that you got accepted...good for the ego and all. I'm just wondering whether you think your writing really needs any help. If you're feeling pretty confient with how you're doing, getting involved with this group probably wouldn't be worth it. Again, I don't know anything about them. Good luck with your decision!

  2. I took the beginning course, Writing for Teens and Children in 2006. I'd already written three books and I had an agent too. Even if you're at the top of your game, that doesn't mean there isn't more you can learn. Check out what the speakers at SCBWI conferences are doing when they're not teaching a workshop. They're attending the other workshops. They've got stuff to learn too.

    For what it's worth, I think ICL could really help you hone your writing. I've considered taking the novel course. Diana is taking that now. If I had the time, I'd probably sign up for it. Maybe next year.

  3. You can always benefit from learning, but you don't have to pay a ton to learn. It could be a once in a lifetime opportunity, though. I spent a LOT on RWA conferences and workshops, traveling around, learning all I could. It built a foundation that stays with me today. I'm still not published in book-length fiction, but that's my own fault...for letting life distract me.

  4. Anita-I'm still torn. I've had some personal rejections and some positive feedback on my writing. I hate missing an opportunity, but I could go to an intimate workshop with an editor or author. I'll email you a copy of my "nut" book, when I have it done. :)

    Amy-I know you, Susan and Diana have all taken courses through them. You don't have time because you are busy getting your first book published along with the rest of your life.

    Stephanie-I think the door is always open once they have excepted you. I made a list of all of their instructors and am going to go through them eliminatin the ones I wouldn't want to work with and then see what's left. There were several that I felt would be super to work with. After I've googled them all, maybe I'll be closer to making a decision.

    Thanks everyone. :)

  5. Interesting question. It is surely an honour to have been among the 32% who get accepted. But as you say, these economic times...

    I never did any major writing seminars, workshops, retreats or such. I often considered it and said I might if I had the time and money. Many seem to be very expensive.

    Can they provide testimonials? Will they put you in touch with their program graduates?

    And what would you be giving up in order to attend? A job? Can you take a leave of absence/vacation? How long is the program? Can you do without the income (coupled with the tuition)?

    I know it is very tempting but I would need compelling justification to do something like this, especially from an economic point of view.

    Good luck, Jill

  6. Hi, Sharon-
    I did take the ICL course - the same one as Amy. Now I'm taking the advanced novel writing course. I'll try to answer your questions in order:
    *No,I wasn't a published writer before the course.
    *3 of my assignments turned into published pieces.
    *Did I get my money's worth? Oh, yes!
    *No refund. :)
    *The coursework definitely strengthens writing skills.
    *I probably would've reached the goal of being a published day...ICL just helped me to get there sooner (like this lifetime...haha)
    *My mentor was Eileen Bertanzetti - who I sometimes thought was an angel in diguise.
    *Yes, I would do it again. Actually, I am doing it again...
    *Oh, Mom would have fun.
    I say go for it. You can work at your own pace. And the assignments will generate tons of ideas for future projects. ~a Wadette :)

  7. Congrats on getting selected - it definitely sounds like an honor!
    And thank you for your sweet words on my blog.. it really means a lot that you don't even know me, yet would take the time to write something so lovely.
    And that is very encouraging about you and your husband - that is SO exciting you've been together so long =) I adore stories like that!
    Really, it means a lot that you wrote to me, so thank you! I'm about to go check out and vote for your story =)
    Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  8. I think any reputable course is inspiring and helpful to beginning and seasoned writers. But I do know that it is expensive. I took the writing test also a year back and was accepted, but because of the $, have not taken a course yet. I would love to one day. But it's not in the budget right now. If you are torn about $, maybe look for some local or online writing courses to inspire you? I have taken two online writing courses(that were less money) with SCBWI authors that I met through SCBWI, and they were worthwhile as well.
    Good luck with your decision.

  9. Hi, thanks for stopping by my blog. Ha ha, chocolate covered gummies are a fun thing to talk about, I suppose. :) Congrats on being accepted - I don't know much about the program as well but I think expanding education and trying new opportunities during this economic time is a good thing. So I hope it goes well for you and that you gain more knowledge about something you are passionate about!

  10. It sounds as though you are open to different viewpoints so here is a different one....

    I work in business not books... The book game is intriguing but it is not a skillset I have. My game is always from the viewpoint of profitability and that sometimes drives my book writing friends up the wall. "it is not just about money" is the phrase they often hit me with... and I tell them "yes it is" and laugh a little...

    I have seen friends study and take classes till they were red in the bank account and get noplace and I have two other friends with less skills come and and "kill it" because they marketed well. So my viewpoint is always slanted by my personal experiences even though they could be the statistical exceptions.

    My slant was save your money for marketing.. you will need every penny you can get your hands on. Just opinion. Not truth.

    Some of my book friends would tell you to go for it. The business side of me says no.

    Good luck and congrats either way.

  11. Thanks everyone for your POVs...I've been researching all the teachers to see if there is a perfect fit for me. I was going to keep researching tonight, but my dear cat decided to climb into the drier. He's spending the night at our vet, and neighbor's house getting IV fluids. He think's he'll be okay, but I can't think of much else tonight.

  12. I took the mediabistro class online because I live overseas. And the thing is, it changed me as a writer. So I'd say, go for it!