I would give a testimonial for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) at the drop of a hat. Though I live in California, I discovered this wonderful organization years ago while studying with Uri Shulevitz in New York State. Other class members told me I had this group right in my own back yard! Since then I’ve been a regular conference/workshop attendee. I joined a wonderful schmooze group of really generous, fun writers and illustrators, and we have continued to learn and grow together.
When I joined SCBW (before they added the “I”) I had a ton of questions about the children’s literature field, and publishing in general. They were all answered through SCBW(I) and every year I learn something new. Quality starts at the top, and Lin Oliver and Steve Mooser have done what seems impossible: create a possibly (dare I say it?) perfect organization. Well, it seems that way to me!
By the way, I sold my first book because of SCBWI. It came to the attention of my editor at a summer conference year before last….but I was a fan of SCBWI long before that!