I'm on the Sleuth of Baker Street email list, so, earlier in the week, I received an invitation to a book launch for a mystery anthology called Nefarious North. However, if I'm going to be completely honest, I was more interested in the writers that would be there as some of them write for the paranormal genre. Anywaaaaaay, the book launch was this afternoon, so I went to buy a copy of the book (Yes, I do have some scruples and a genuine interest in the anthology) and pick some writers' brains. I was afraid I would chicken out at first because mingling is so not my forte. I had an awkward 15-20 minutes in which I pretended to peruse books (Well, actually, there was some genuine perusing going on) while I waited for everything to be set up.
The situation improved when I was able to buy a copy of Nefarious North as I saw some ladies clutching copies and forming a kind of semi-queue. One woman (who turned out to be one of the authors) complimented me on my Celtic necklace, so we all got into a conversation about that, which really helped to break the ice. A short time later, I asked this same author to sign my book. I was able to ask her what genre she wrote for, but was interrupted before I could grill her some more.
There were people waiting behind me when it came to the next writer, but I was able to get a conversation going with a third author. Actually, she asked me right off the bat if I was writer and said she almost wrote "Good luck with the writing" when I first handed her my book. I'd like to think it's a positive sign that she picked up on that vibe. She didn't seem creeped out by me, so I'm going to assume that I didn't come off as being a desperate-stalker-author-wannabe. *g*
One of the most useful people I spoke to was the publisher of the anthology itself. She also asked me if I was a writer (I said I was an "aspiring writer") and was very friendly and supportive. She strongly suggested that I join The Toronto Romance Writers and Sisters in Crime. I think my doubt must have shown with the first suggestion because the publisher pointed out that they don't always stick with romance and that she apparently recruited some writers for the anthology from this organization. One of the women I met initially said that she was a member and found it extremely useful. Apparently, she was having her work in progress critiqued. This woman was actually the most useful person I spoke to because we're basically in the same position. She's also writing in the paranormal genre and hasn't been published. In any case, she was also very encouraging and strongly recommended the support system that comes with a writing group.
I don't know if either The Toronto Romance Writers or Sisters in Crime would be the right fit for me, but this whole experience has got me thinking about joining a writing group of some kind. I know I got a lot out of the one I joined in university. I took a creative writing class and we formed a writing group out of that. For me, it didn't last much past graduation, but it was a valuable support system at the time.