I just finished reading the latest inSinC, the 16-page quarterly publication produced by Sisters in Crime, and it served to remind me, once again, of the value in belonging to a professional organization with like-minded members. Networking, mentorship, conference information, resources, educational/workshop opportunities, author promotion, industry news … the list goes on and on.

The concept for Sisters in Crime began in March 1986 at the first-ever conference on Women in the Mystery, put together by BJ Rahn at  Hunter College. It was founded at Bouchercon in Baltimore by Sara Paretsky and other women that same year.

Today Sisters in Crime boasts 3,600 members in 48 chapters worldwide. Members include authors, readers, publishers, agents, booksellers and librarians with one thing in common: the love of a good mystery, regardless of sub-genre, and the desire to support the women who write them.

One of the greatest benefits of belonging to Sisters in Crime is that it provides the opportunity to belong to a Regional chapter (should there be one in your area; if not, maybe you decide to start one), and for the aspiring author, the Guppies (Great Unpublished) online chapter.

Founded in 2005, the Guppies affords a safe haven from what all writers experience: rejection. Did you know, for example, that Kathryn Stockett’s The Help was turned down 60 times? Her story gives even the most downtrodden writer hope and inspiration.

But back to the Guppies. They also offer a number of subgroups focused on a particular topic or task (for example, an AgentQuest subgroup) and an exceptional bi-monthly publication, First Draft. (Check out sample articles here). In fact, Guppies are so beloved that many members who have gone on to get published (and win awards) have remained in the fishpond, and they’re quick to offer congratulations or advice to other Guppies.

The point of this blog post is to remind aspiring writers that we need not go it alone. Romance or mystery, science fiction or memoir, there’s bound to be an association out there to offer support, guidance and a few friendly shoulders to lean on.

After all, writing may be a solitary pursuit, but sometimes it’s nice to know that we’re not alone.

To read my post on the Crime Writers of Canada click here.

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