I’m a big believer in belonging to a group of like-minded folks. In my personal life, I’m a member of two 9-hole ladies golf leagues, and have been for many years. The folks I play with (and the leagues) have changed through time, and my game is still consistently inconsistent, but that sense of belonging encourages me to go out and play week after week.
I apply that same philosophy to writing. It’s all too easy to sit alone in my office and work on my latest book or short story, completely isolated in my own little world. (Okay, maybe easy isn’t the right word, and I’m actually living in my character’s world, but you take my point.) What I’m getting at is that writing is a solitary pursuit, and while it’s a necessary evil in today’s online world, most of us aren’t particularly good at marketing ourselves, let alone our books.
Writing associations help writers with exactly that. It’s there that we “meet” other authors via email and Yahoo digests and website links, help one another find promotional opportunities (including sharing their good news on social media, or interviewing them on our blogs), and, yes, getting that sense of belonging.
Prior to The Hanged Man’s Noose publication in July 2015, I belonged to Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime (International, Toronto, Guppies), and the Short Fiction Mystery Society. But until I was officially published by an International Thriller Writers (ITW) approved publisher, I couldn’t belong as an Active Member. And oh how I wanted to. You see, in addition to all sorts of cool benefits, ITW offers a Debut Authors program, which includes a special Debut Breakfast at ThrillerFest (held every July in New York City).
I printed off the ITW application a few days after I signed the publishing contract with Barking Rain Press. Held it in a folder until July 22, when The Hanged Man’s Noose was officially released. Sent it in and waited to hear if I’d be accepted. And heard back within a few hours with a “yes.” The best part? There’s no charge for an Active member to belong to ITW. (If you’re a reader, librarian, agent, bookseller etc., you can belong as an Associate member for a modest annual fee).
ITW’s mission is “To bestow recognition and promote the thriller genre at an innovative and superior level for and through our Active members; to provide opportunities for mentoring, education and collegiality among thriller authors and industry professionals; and to grant awards for excellence in the thriller genre.” Their Board of Directors includes, among others, M.J. Rose, Lee Child, and Linda Fairstein. Heady company indeed.
So there you have it. I have now added “International Thriller Writers” to my growing list of memberships in writing associations. Belonging to a group of like-minded folks. It’s a wonderful thing!
The Hanged Man’s Noose is now available in print and eBook at all the usual suspects! Enter to win one of two print copies on Goodreads (contest ends Aug. 17).