Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Industry Groups Want You!

You bite the bullet and you lock-down a domain name and pay for hosting for a website for a year. At this point your next step is to join industry groups. Genre is easier than, say, straight fiction. Romance, Science Fiction, and Mystery all have robust national industry groups that would welcome your membership checks. Many of these groups have monthly meetings where you can meet industry professionals or just writers who are having the same struggles you are. Industry groups like Mystery Writers of America or Sisters in Crime will keep your toe in the water while you write that first book or that next book. Also, I've found that the mystery writing community is a rather fine bunch of people, and who doesn't need more fine people in your life?

At a certain point you have to bite the second bullet and acknowledge that you are running a business: a writing business. It doesn't take a lot of money to learn how language works, cultivating your voice, and then writing the best book you can possibly write. It takes discipline but not a whole lot of $$$. Joining industry groups is also minimal sunk costs, and, more importantly, it gives your name a face. All industry groups I have belonged to offer great classes, motivating speakers, industry insights, and all around information about the business of writing. These insights might not get you a publishing contract ASAP, but they will give you invaluable information about the minefield you're about to walk through. Because at some point it's likely you will enter the phase where the real $$$ pedal meets the metal.

The convention circuit.

The focus of these cons varies greatly, and whether you attend any of them depends on where you are in the process and how much you have to spend. Many of the classes/advice offered in the industry cons are also available through the industry groups for free or nominal fees as perks of your membership. But the sheer numbers of agents/editors and industry professionals at these cons makes it worth attending a convention if you can afford it. If you do a Google search on writers conferences, it will take you hours to plow through all the possible cons you can attend. Based on my perusal of various Google searches, the industry cons break down into two different categories: those cons geared toward improving your writing and those cons that are network oriented, i.e., how to write successful query letters, polish your pitch, common mistakes in trying to market your book, etc. There are industry cons for every step of the process in writing a book, from typing "Chapter 1" to typing the "The End."

 All you need is a credit card.

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