When I started to write non-fiction true crime books, I knew my genre, but I admittingly had no idea how the writing, editing and publishing process worked. Regardless, I was sure that I was well on my way to producing an award-winning best-seller. Well, two books have been published and all I can say is Thank God I kept my day job, or I would be volunteering at a food pantry just so I could eat.
I have learned a lot over the last half-dozen years, and while I am wiser and better educated to the “game”, I have felt somewhat alone and restricted to my own small island.
Several months ago, I searched the internet in hopes of connecting with a group of my peers. Not exactly a dating forum, but you get the idea. I came across the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA) and after a bit of exploring I filled out an application and forked over the $55 annual membership fee.
Turns out it was the best money I spent professionally all year. The members come from diverse public safety sectors and backgrounds and are committed writers. I have found them all to be more than willing to engage with, and assist other members by answering questions and offering their expertise when questions are asked. They also bring a wealth of knowledge about the good and bad and ups and downs of editing, publishing and marketing books.
Last week I attended the three-day annual conference in Las Vegas. It was held in a moderately priced hotel a bit off the mainline. The room and conference accommodations as well as the food and beverage were more than adequate for our needs. There were 45 attendees, which was the perfect number to get to know and interact with each other. The four keynote speakers spoke of prison life, criminal profiling, modern CSI skills and technology and the keys to successful writing. Beyond the individual speakers, there were twelve panel discussions, each with a facilitator and five panelists with tremendous experience and knowledge on the topics they were tasked to discuss.
An overall great conference for learning and networking with folks of similar backgrounds, interests and goals. If you, like me, have ambitions to write about true crime or mystery, I would strongly suggest you review our website at www.policewriter.com and consider joining a committed and friendly group of like minded professionals.