By Karol Ruth Silverstein
With 10 LA area LitMingles, why not make a resolution to Mingle more in the new year? LitMingles, which are open to the public and occur throughout the year, are a great way to share ideas, learn the craft and business of writing and illustrating for children, and meet fellow kid lit content creators in your area. Mingles are not only fun and informative, but you might just be the recipient of some career-making Mingle Magic!
What exactly is a LitMingle, you may ask? It’s a valid question – even if you’re not new to SCBWI LA – as our gatherings have being going through some changes over the past couple years. Our LitMingles, originally called Schmoozes, have always had the goal of gathering creators of children’s literature for discussion, insight, and support. That basic premise hasn’t changed. After experimenting with having more frequent “event-like” Mingles in 2015/2016, in 2017 we’re moving back to the original idea of predominantly intimate gatherings with lots of participation from attendees.
The Los Angeles chapter of the SCBWI sponsors a whopping 10 local LitMingles, with groups spanning the map from locations in Santa Monica, Westchester and South Bay in the west, Montrose and West San Gabriel Valley in the east, and Santa Clarita Valley and Antelope Valley up north. More centrally located? We have groups that meet in Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley as well.
But wait – what’s that Mingle Magic I mentioned? While LitMingles are not meant to be fix-its or critique groups, we have had Minglers report major breakthroughs as a result of attending. You never know when you might meet just the right person at just the right time – whether that’s in the form of a great critique partner or a guest speaker who winds up helping you outside of the Mingle. (Please note – pitching or submitting to guest speakers is not allowed…ick!) I personally have experienced Mingle Magic. In my previous role as a Mingle (then Schmooze) coordinator, prepping for a meeting discussing savvy social media use directly resulted in my signing with an agent.
So get Mingling, people! Check the LitMingle calendar for dates, locations, topics, and to contact the coordinators of your local LitMingle.
Karol Ruth Silverstein writes various genres of children’s books. Her manuscripts have won several awards, including Writer’s Day contest and the Barbara Karlan Runner Up Grant in 2013. She is represented by Jen Linnan of Linnan Literary Management and currently has a young adult novel and several picture book manuscripts out on submission.