By Gayle Carline
Mystery Author and El Presidente
Back when I was a software engineer, I took a course in leadership. It was a fabulous course, not just for my engineering job, but for my life. One of the highlights was when the instructor told us that everyone listens to the same radio station, WII-FM.
What's In It For Me?
She was using this to talk about how to get what you want, as the supervisor, by giving your employees what they want. It's also known as the win-win situation.
I'm bringing this up because I recently agreed to be next year's president of my local Sisters in Crime. I originally joined when I first published Freezer Burn and thought I should belong to an organization whose mission is to promote the professional development and advancement of women crime writers to achieve equality in the industry.
I admit, my first visit to a meeting was less than stellar. I hadn't quite gotten my bearings as an author, was unsure of my participation, and ended up not meeting many people or making any new friends. I didn't go back.
Fast-forward a couple of years, and I decided to give it another try. At this meeting, they were looking for new board members. I wanted to meet people and become involved. Why not be on the board?
Here's the thing: it's a quiet group. The folks are pleasant. We have interesting guest speakers. But I'm not certain if that's all we can do with this organization. I mean, my gal pal Tameri belongs to the Romance Writers of America and those folks know how to party and promote. They have huge conferences. And pajama parties. And guest speakers in kilts.
So one of the things I plan to do as president is take a poll or two to figure out why people come or don't come to the meetings. What's in it for them?
If I can figure out what they want and give it to them, perhaps I can get what I want, which is, well, two things: I want more readers, and I want to promote good writers.
Anybody else out there belong to an organization like SinC or Mystery Writers of America, etc? What do you want from your group? Do you receive it?
I believe my Twin Cities Sisters in Crime group is at the same place - it's nice, but we could do more.ReplyDelete
What ideas did you get from your RWA friend?
Mostly, I just get the vibe from her that she meets a lot of people and has a lot of fun and LOOKS FORWARD to each meeting. I'm going with her to their December meeting (featuring a man in a kilt!), so I can report back more when I've seen it myself.Delete
Oooh, can I come?Delete
Probably - I'll ask Tameri to make sure!Delete
I belong to a bunch of writer organizations—and pay dues to most—but none have local chapters, so I can't attend meetings. At this point, I'm asking myself similar questions: What do I get out of this membership? How can I make it work for me? Other than occasional book listings in the organizations' newsletters, I can't really pinpoint a benefit. But the dues are small, and I can't bring myself to quit any of them...yet.ReplyDelete
Good luck with your meetings! I have confidence, you'll be able to spice them up.
I'm going to take the "survey" advice - be interesting to see what shows up.ReplyDelete
What do I want from my writer groups? Marketing ideas. Acknowledgement that just because I'm self-published, I'm still a real author and shouldn't be separated by that "magic line", especially since I'm selling at least as many books as those on the other side of it. Connections and referrals. Friendships.ReplyDelete
Good idea with that survey! With your energy and creativity, your group is bound to become more vibrant and vital.
Of the writers' groups I belong to, so far the one I've benefitted most from is International Thriller Writers. It's big, influential, and very well-organized, with lots of benefits for members!ReplyDelete
What kinds of benefits and influential how?Delete
Gayle, I'm one of those who is guilty of not attending meetings very often. I'm looking forward to your survey!ReplyDelete
I don't belong to a writer's group. Haven't seen I was in a SF writer's support thing - read and critique, long before the internet. Either I'm anti-social or don't have the time or don't know the right ones to join. (I love Scotch and Scotland, but no kilts.)ReplyDelete
I do like the radio station. (WII-FM) - What rhetoricians call pathos - all about the audience.
Hmm, does CFC count as a writer's group? It should.