I learned a new term this past weekend: Author Lifeboats. Though the term is new, the concept isn’t. I have two lifeboats, and this blog group is one. My other blog, Wicked Cozy Authors, is another, and a great example of the concept in action.
The Wickeds (as we refer to ourselves) have a few things in common. We all write cozies. We are all Sisters in Crime. We are all friends, though didn’t all know each other as well before we started our blog last year. We all have the same agent. Four have contracts with Kensington, two of us are at Berkley Prime Crime, which means we all have traditional publishing routes we are exploring. Our blog has a lot of group posts.
Last week we celebrated one year on the blog. That year has seen, in public, the launch of four of the series, the date for the fifth, and my contract. Second books started their roll outs with Liz Mugavero’s A Biscuit, A Casket last month, Barb Ross’s Boiled Over yesterday, Edith Maxwell’s ‘Til Dirt Do Us Part at the end of the month, and Jessie Crockett’s Maple Mayhem on July 1. We RT, share, and shout out each other’s good news. And we’ve got a team of readers who comment regularly, and help us spread the word.
In private? We’ve celebrated good news and supported each other through personal challenges. And selfishly? I have learned SO MUCH about deadlines, pacing, word counts, story arcs, the importance of editing, timing, and friendship, from these women. Being friends isn’t necessary to being in an author lifeboat, but it makes it a lot more fun.
There are other author lifeboats in the mystery world: the Jungle Reds, the Cozy Chicks, Mystery Lovers Kitchen, and others. I suspect that the term was created by the romance writers world, which is a fabulous model for support and craft building. Please add other lifeboat blogs to the comments.
This blog is a lifeboat as well. Though we don’t write in the same genre, we regularly correspond, show support, and have occasional Google hangouts. On Saturday, July 26, this blog will be represented on a panel with Deborah, Wendy, and Lisa at Bookstock in Vermont. I am going to try and be in the audience.
Lifeboats work. I was at Malice Domestic last weekend, and on an elevator where a woman I’d never met asked me if I was a Wicked Cozy. Bookmark at the ready, I thanked her for reading the blog and let her know that we were all at the conference. And she was excited by the news. How cool is that?
But as importantly, the journey is easier, and more fun, with others. So writer friends, get in a lifeboat.
J.A. Hennrikus writes short stories, Julie Hennrikus is the ED of StageSource and teaches arts management, and Julianne Holmes writes the Clock Shop Mystery series.