Welcome To The Guppies: FAQ
- Why would I want to join a writer's support group?
Few professions offer as many opportunities for rejection as writing does.
Only the strong survive the path to publication. The encouragement and
support of other writers can be the difference between giving up too soon and
getting in print. And not many significant others or family members
understand the torture a writer feels when the words won't come out right or
the joy of a well-crafted sentence.
The Guppy online subgroups associated with different mystery subgenres are places to find kindred spirits. Groups include the CozyGups, who discuss all aspects of the cozy mystery; the Piranha group, dedicated to noir; the Suspense group, which includes psychological suspense; romantic suspense; and thrillers, and the Mystery Analysis Group, a book discussion group where members study the plotting, character development, use of description, and other aspects from a writer's perspective with the aim of improving their own craft. For those ready to launch their manuscript into the world of publishing, the AgentQuest group can help with query and synopsis analysis, as well as share news of agents who are acquiring.
That's only part of what the Guppies offer.
- Do I need a completed novel to join?
No. Our membership ranges from beginners who have a great idea for a book to
published authors with several credits. Guppy membership is open to all
members of National Sisters in Crime who are interested in writing and
- Will you get me an agent?
We'd love to hand all of our members an agent contract, but it just doesn't
work that way. What we can do is provide you with a supportive atmosphere
for writing and share our collective experience. We can coach you through
writing a query letter and synopsis. We can share information about agents
to approach as well as predators and scams to avoid.
- Will you provide me with a mentor?
Sisters in Crime does not allow mentor programs for legal reasons. (Once
upon a time, a local SinC chapter tried a mentor program and a member charged
that her mentor stole her idea.) While we can't assign a published author to
mentor you, we mentor ourselves on an informal basis through our bimonthly
newsletter, our on-line mail-list, and numerous critique groups.
- Isn't that like the blind leading the blind?
No way! We have over two hundred members with centuries of experience.
Furthermore, we have members with expertise in forensic, legal, medical, and
police procedures. Our members stretch around the United States, Canada, and
even in Europe so they can field questions about locations and local customs.
Besides having a variety of occupations, our members have a wide range of
avocations as well.
- What is the Guppy Digest?
The Guppy Digest is our private, on-line discussion group. Through the
digest, you can tap into the collective wisdom of all our members. The
digest operates with few rules:
--All postings are private and are not to be shared outside the group
without permission. This allows us to have frank discussions.
--We endeavor to keep the discussions to matters concerning writing and
publishing. Since we are a friendly, outgoing group, sometimes we share
off-topic news, and in this case, we put OT of "Off Topic" in the subject
--Remember that writing is a profession. It's always good to proofread your
posts and keep your tone professional.
--To help keep track of the various conversation threads, we ask our members
to use the subject line to describe the thread. This is especially important
if you reply to a message sent on the digest.
--There are no stupid questions or answers and any member can ask or
--Most of our members subscribe to the mail-list in the digest form where
individual postings are collected and sent out once a day. A few members
elect to receive each individual message. If you subscribe to the digest, we
ask that you do not copy the entire digest in your reply.
- What is First Draft and who can contribute?
First Draft is our bi-monthly newsletter dedicated to writing and publishing.
All members are invited to submit articles but please contact the editor
- How can a critique group help me?
Writing is meant to be read. Your chances of getting published are greater
if the first person to read your novel isn't an editor or agent, or even your
best friend or significant other. Working with a group of your peers can
give you valuable feedback. Writers are more aware of issues such as showing
versus telling, point of view, voice, tension, and conflict. Most of us are
simply too close to our stories to see the glitches.
- But won't a critique group change my voice or rewrite my story?
Your voice and your story belong to you. A good critique group can help
develop your voice and smooth out plot problems. A critique group only makes
comments and suggestions; it's up to you to adapt them to fit your style and
- How can I get in a critique group?
It's easy! Go to the Guppy Subgroups page in
the member section (you'll need your password), then click on the link
for the group that interests you--or click the email link (bottom of
the page) to Jo Rubin.
- How do I join the Guppies?
Because the Guppies are a chapter of Sisters in Crime, you must be a member of Sisters in Crime to join the Guppies. We are separate groups. We have separate web sites, yahoo groups and access information. Do not contact SinC National if you are having problems with anything related to the Guppies. No one at national can assist you.
Membership in the Guppies runs on a calendar year basis. Annual dues for a calendar year are $12.
If you join between January 1 and June 30, dues are $12 for the rest of the calendar year. Choose the $12 option below.
If you join between July 1 and September 30, dues for the remainder of the calendar year are $6. Choose the $6 option below.
If you join between October 1 and December 31, you have two choices. You can choose the $12 option, which will cover your dues for the remainder of the current year AND the following calendar year. That’s a good deal, but if you’re not sure if the Guppies are right for you, you can choose the $6 option which runs out at the end of the current calendar year.
There are two ways to pay your dues. Most Guppies choose to pay their dues using PayPal. Don’t worry if you don’t have a PayPal account. PayPal allows you to use a credit or debit card even if you don’t have an account. If you choose not to use PayPal, you can pay your dues by personal check.
PAYING BY PAYPAL
Select either the $12 or $6 Option buttons below. See the explanations above regarding which options are available to you.
*Required--your contact information! Please fill in the information below before you click the PayPal button. Just highlight/type over the existing text—there’s room!
*Required--your contact information! Please fill in the information
belowbefore you click the PayPal button. Just highlight/type
over the existing text--there's room!
PAYING BY CHECK
Because of the time mail takes, and that our Treasurer only checks the PO Box about once a week, we recommend using PayPal. However, if you want to pay by check (we do not accept cash) you will need to make your check payable to SinC Guppies.
Mail it to:
3418 Hwy 6 South
Houston, TX 77082
Please include your name, address, phone number, email and website (if any) with your check.
PRIVACY NOTE: The contact information supplied with your dues is included on the membership page in the Members Only section. The list may not be used for commercial purposes, but if you want any of that information withheld from the list, please email WebGuppy@sinc-guppies.org and explain what information you would like excluded.
AFTER YOU'VE PAID:
Once our treasurer receives your dues, we'll enroll you in our on-line discussion group, start your subscription to our newsletter, First Draft, and assign a username and password for the Members Only section of this website.
Please be patient!
Our volunteer steering committee members have families and jobs and a deep need to write. You will hear back from us soon, but not instantly.
- What other writers organizations should I consider joining?
In order to join the Guppies, you must be a member of Sisters in Crime, a national
organization dedicated to fighting discrimination against women authors. Many of our
members also belong to Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America,
and Science Fiction Writers of America. Please check their websites for more
This site has a Members Only section with newsletter archives