Since I’m planning to self-publish my next mystery, I thought it would be a good idea to get myself a few beta readers. A writer friend offered to read the manuscript and let me know of anything that needed attention. I belong to a mystery book club. Knowing how great the members are at analyzing mysteries, I asked if they’d like to read and comment on my new mystery. My query brought one offer. Another member asked me what remuneration I was offering.
I was floored and a little hurt. I responded that I wasn’t planning to pay anyone anything. I thought but didn’t add that since she liked the first book in the series, this was her opportunity to read the sequel gratis. I did say, however, that exchanging manuscripts was something we writers frequently did for one another. Which got me thinking.
We mystery writers help one another in so many ways. For one thing, we support those new to our fold. The best example I can think of is the Guppies, the Great Unpublished subgroup of Sisters in Crime. Many of us published writers remain Guppies. We give advice, edit queries, read partials and suggest agents to those new at the game.
On a more personal note, I can’t say enough about the generosity of my fellow writers. Four years ago, I no sooner mentioned on the Guppies listserv that I was starting up a Long Island Chapter of Sisters in Crime when Hank Philippi Ryan offered to be our first speaker. She also was kind enough to write a blurb for my mystery Murder a la Christie. When I’ve needed reviews for my mysteries, many of my fellow mystery writers offered to read and review my books. One fellow writer, who is also an editor, offered to edit a romantic suspense I'd written. We come up with titles for one another, host each other on our blogs, and commiserate and cheer each other on. After all, we’re all in this writing business together.