Monday, August 4, 2014

In It Together

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 The best example I can think of is the Guppies, the Great Unpublished subgroup of Sisters in Crime.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.




12 comments:

Kaye George said...

I would be stunned, too, at the reader asking for payment. Until I realized, once more, that many think writers make a lot of money! I'm sure that's where she was coming from. If they only knew.

This is a VERY hard way to chose to spend our time and it helps so much if we stick together and help each other out. Good post!

Mary Thornburg said...

Hi, Marilyn ~ How wonderful that you and your Sisters in Crime stick together and stay around to offer help to as-yet-unpublished writers! I SO wish there were a similar group for us fantasy writers.

I love Hank Phillippi Ryan's books. She's really the one who brought me back to reading mysteries again, after a lot of years. She was my husband's student in high school English, and we were both thrilled to learn she was writing and winning so many awards!

Marilyn Levinson said...

Thanks, Kaye. We may not make lots of money, but we make good friendships in the process.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Mary,
How interesting that your husband taught Hank English in high school! This is such a small world.

You can always start a group for fantasy writers, you know. Set up a listserv on Yahoo. I'm sure you know plenty of writers to start something like this. I still belong to my local romance writers group. I never would have considered starting a Sisters in Crime group if I hadn't been active in the romance chapter.

Carolina Girl said...

I'd be delighted to read and comment on your works, Marilyn. I'm still an unpublished SINC member and my favorite genre to read is mysteries, so I would love to make a contribution.

Tracy Weber said...

I have been so impressed by the helpful community that is made up of writers. Whoever said writing is a lonely endeavor never met the Guppies!

Marilyn Levinson said...

Carolina Girl,
Thank you for your kind offer. Please send me your email address, and I'll send it to you when I'm finished with this last set of edits. My email address is:
marilev4@optonline.net

Marilyn Levinson said...

Tracy,
You're so right. Which is why so many of us don't leave the group.

Christa Nardi said...

I have also found the author community helpful - and I am new to the community. Mostly connecting through the internet so far, but enjoying it none the less!

Marilyn Levinson said...

Christa,
Most of my writing friends are cyber friends--until I get the chance to meet them at a conference.

Sue Star said...

I totally agree, Marilyn! We're in it together. I would be happy to exchange beta reads, if timing works out. Let me know at suestarauthor@gmail.com

Marilyn Levinson said...

Thanks for the offer, Sue. Much appreciated. I'm saving your email address.