by Elaine Will Sparber & Beth Groundwater
What gets you eight editions of inSinC, 24 editions of SinC Links, 24 editions of e-Book SinC Links, and two SinC Summit Reports? The new two-year membership option offered by SinC! Make all of those unlimited, add a spiffy lapel pin, and you’ve got the benefits of a lifetime membership.
Of course, both options, like the one-year membership, also offer a cornucopia of local chapters, a couple of online chapters, discounts to a variety of SinC events around the country, access to our book club database and networking and mentoring with fellow members, including an email discussion list.
The two new categories were unveiled this month for the 2012 membership year. Dues for the two-year option are $80/$70, professional and active respectively; the lifetime, $400/$350. One-year dues are unchanged.
With these choices, how do you decide which is right for you? Author Beth Groundwater, inSinC editor Molly Weston and aspiring fiction author Elaine Will Sparber sat down recently to figure that out.
Elaine Will Sparber (pictured at left): One thing to consider is how long you’ve already belonged to SinC. When did you first join? Where were you in your life?
Molly Weston: I first joined SinC nearly 20 years ago. I was then, as now, a voracious mystery reader and reviewer.
Beth Groundwater: I joined SinC in 2003, the local Rocky Mountain Chapter in 2004 (it disbanded at the end of 2009), and the Guppies online chapter in 2004. In 2003, I was an aspiring author with some unpublished short stories I was submitting to magazines, a practice novel-length manuscript that would never be published and one of many manuscript iterations for A Real Basket Case that I was starting to shop around.
EWS: I joined SinC in 2004. I was a writer and editor specializing in nonfiction, but my first love was always fiction and I hoped SinC would help me move in that direction. I also joined the New York/Tri-State Chapter and the Guppies. It took a while, but I learned to craft a novel-length piece of mystery fiction. Through SinC, I learned how to revise, pitch, promote and just generally slap my manuscript into shape and shove it out my door. How has your membership benefited you?
MW: Learning about what was going on in the mystery community—mystery conferences, Books in Print, and member contact information—was critical before the Internet. Networking among members has given me many opportunities to bring authors to my area.
Beth Groundwater (pictured at left): I’ve made personal contacts with many types of people who have helped me in my career: writers, readers, bloggers, librarians, bookstore owners, agents, editors, etc. Fellow Guppies helped me research agents and hone my query letter—through a Guppy contact I found my first agent. Local chapter meetings and workshops offered more help such as police, coroner and pi investigative techniques; how to plot, to develop characters, to promote and much more.
I attended the local Sheriff’s Department Citizen’s Academy with a group of Sisters. Then I branched out to mystery conferences where I met even more Sisters. I know that, without SinC, I would not be a published mystery author now and I would not have had the success that I’ve had to date.
EWS: Something else to consider when weighing dues options is where you see yourself in the next few years. I hope that in the coming year, I’ll finish one, if not both, of the fiction manuscripts I’ve been writing. In five years, I hope to see them published, and in 10 years, I hope to be publishing steadily.
BG: I will always be a mystery reader no matter what happens in my writing career. As for writing, I’ll have a book in each of two series released in 2012, two more are scheduled for 2013, and I hope to continue both series for many years. Five or 10 years down the road, who knows? I can dream of bestseller lists and other fantastic career goals, but I’ll continue to work hard on the manuscript for each book I write. I hope to never stop learning and improving, and SinC will help me in that.
MW: I suspect I’ll be reading mysteries as long as I can see—and I’m sure I’ll continue recommending those I like. I just hope that I’ll still be able to edit inSinC that long!
EWS: So, which dues option will you choose for 2012 and why?
MW: I’ll choose the lifetime or two-year option, mostly because I hate having to pay bills! I’m always looking for ways to simplify my life.
BG: I’m choosing the lifetime option because, no matter what happens with my writing career, I will always be a mystery reader. I will want to find out new-to-me mystery series and meet new-to-me mystery authors. And, as long as readers and publishers are interested in my mystery books, I expect to continue writing them. So, I plan to hang around with SinC for a long, long time.
EWS: I’ll most likely go with the two-year option. I’ve gotten so much from my SinC membership and I continue to learn things. One of these years, I’ll spring for the lifetime membership but, until I start earning money from my fiction, I’m trying to control my expenses.
BG: If you see yourself in 10 years still wanting to be a SinC member and still benefiting from that membership and you have the means to make that large commitment to the organization this year, then I suggest signing up for lifetime membership. You’ll be helping SinC build a reserve fund that will ensure the stability and strength of the organization in the future. Like the founding Sisters and past presidents, you’ll have raised your hand as someone who believes deeply in SinC and its goals and as someone who will rally ‘round the cause when needed. Plus you’ll get a snazzy pin to wear proudly, and you’ll never have to wonder again if you’ve sent in your membership!
For more information about the new dues options, see www.SistersInCrime.org.
Elaine Will Sparber, Beth Groundwater, and Molly Weston are members of the SinC Membership Committee.