Thick As Thieves: Writer Networking Made Easy / Sara Wigal

Thick as Thieves: Writer Networking Made Easy

by Sara Wigal

Oftentimes, new authors spend their creative time alone. You dream up your plot alone. You write alone. You edit alone. It can be a lonely job, and shifting gears to move into the next phase of your new mystery book’s life can feel terrifying. Once the writing is done, what comes next?

Publishing and publicity come next of course, but we’d be remiss to skip a truly crucial part of your evolving writing career: meeting other writers.

You may have already been involved with beta readers, whether that means paying for writing workshops, having friends in your local book club read over your manuscript, or finding independent groups of writers to work with on perfecting your book. But beyond editorial support, there is an enormous benefit to joining in communities of writers when you set off to publish; other authors (and soon-to-be authors) become your first readers, reviewers, and hopefully, also your friends.

The mystery world, somewhat ironically, is a genre in which I’ve found the authors to be particularly friendly and welcoming. Writers who spend all day dreaming up dastardly ways for people to die seem to have the widest smiles! Authors who research and catalogue the most gruesome of true crime murder scenes hug one another warmly at conferences, and even the biggest bestselling names always have a minute for mentorship, it seems. It’s bizarre. It’s wonderful! I love the mystery/thriller/suspense/true crime world of people, a truly loving, murder-obsessed bunch.

If you are a newly-minted mystery writer, how can you get connected with these kind “killer” souls? By showing up where they’ll all be! There are many conferences and writers’ groups to choose from, and here below are some of the main mystery genre ones to get you started:

Killer Nashville

August 23-26, 2018 Nashville

You can take a peek atthe schedule hereto see if anything catches your eye!

Thrillerfest(conference) put on byInternational Thriller Writers(organization)

Malice Domestic (conference)

Murder and Mayhem (conference)

Left Coast Crime (conference)

Bouchercon (conference)

Magna Cum Murder (conference)

Sisters in Crime(organization)

Once you’re involved, how can you take advantage of the networking opportunities? Here are a few tips:

  • Have a positive online life: “like” and comment on the posts you see from authors you admire on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram before you attend the conferences, and set up in-person meetups during fun cocktail hours! It’s always nice to go in and meet someone you already “know.”
  • Show up to your regional or local events and get to know your neighbors! You’ll feel like part of a posse when you go to more nationally-leaning events and see people you already know, this way.
  • Go to panels and meet the people you are sitting near. Ask them what genre they write in, connect on social media, and stay in touch to support one another’s work.
  • Stay after talks to speak to panelists and presenters. They volunteer for these gigs because they love answering questions from writers, typically, and will welcome conversation with you.
  • Offer to review other people’s books. Everyone always needs blurbs as well as positive Amazon and Goodreads reviews left online. If you have time, it’s an especially nice way to ingratiate yourself with your writing community if you can do this!

It can be hard to be the “new kid on the block,” but I assure you that there isn’t a better place to be the ingénue than with the thriller community. Make some fiendish friends!

Author bio: Sara Wigal is an Assistant Professor of Cinema, Television & Media and Director of Publishing at Belmont University, a unique undergraduate degree that equips students with necessary skills and knowledge to enter the book world. She serves the Next Chapter Society council which supports the programming made possible by the Nashville Public Library Foundation. She previously worked in literary PR, beginning as an assistant and working her way up to a Senior Manager role, shaping author brands and interacting with the media. Wigal has been published by The TennesseanPublishers Weekly, and Writer’s Digest.

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Thanks to Joseph Borden and publisher/editorial director Clay Stafford for their assistance in putting together this week’s editorial.