Tuesday, March 10, 2009

This Mister's a Sister

You know I’m a believer in writer’s organization. I pay my dues to Mystery Writers of America , Private Eye Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, American Independent Writers, the Virginia Writers Club and even the Maryland Writers Association in the next state over. But why would an otherwise masculine guy like me be a member of Sisters in Crime?

Well, originally I joined because I wanted to support the cause - to combat discrimination against women in the mystery field and raise awareness of their contribution to the field. Soon after I joined I realized that I knew more female mystery writers than male, so maybe they didn’t need my help. But then I began to feel the advantages of membership.

This group is more proactive than any of the other national organizations from the point of view of training. While the MWA is focused on enhancing the reputation of mystery writing, and the ITW are all about marketing, Sisters in Crime focuses on nurturing new writers and helping them to improve their craft. They are also big on networking and maintaining close ties to publishers and agents, which helps members get into the business.

But perhaps the biggest advantage to me is the electronic newsletter, In SinC. The editors do a very good job of scanning the industry and letting me know which articles in Publishers Weekly or other pubs I need to read. They link me to the most useful and informative articles and interviews with agents and publishers who have the inside view of the publishing industry.

The best part of the newsletter to me is the encouraging news. While we’re all hearing about how the publishing industry is going into the toilet they print the details of new deals members have landed. When I read that Clea Simon has sold the first book in a new paranormal mystery series to Severn House in a nice two-book deal, that Lorraine Bartlett sold the next three books in her series, and that Carolyn Hart's next three books sold to Harper in a significant deal (significant deal = somewhere between $250K and 500K) I know that editors are still buying, and I find that fact very encouraging.

No comments: