WriteWords talks to the Crime Writers' Association
Tell us about the Crime Writers' Association
The Crime Writers' Association were started by prolific author John Creasey in 1953. His aim in setting up the CWA was to support authors and that ethos remains. Our aim is to promote the genre as a whole and our members specifically.
Can only published authors join the CWA? for example, what if you're agented but not yet under a contract?
We have several different types of membership. Full membership is for writers who have published either a full length novel or non-fiction book with a crime theme or something that is equivalent to a book length work – so a feature film script, short stories or play. We also have a provisional membership for those who have a contract from a publisher and who expect to be published within the next two years. Or you can join as a corporate or associate member.
What are the benefits of joining the CWA?
John Creasey set up the CWA to be a supportive community and this is something we are very proud of. We have a number of initiatives in place in order for members to be able to contact each other easily, share information and support each other. We have a number of events for members each year including an annual conference but we also have local chapters all over the UK (plus France and Iceland) which gives members the chance to meet other members on a regular basis. We also help promote our members with our sister organisation, The Crime Readers’ Association. All CWA members get their own profile page on the site (and we have over 7000 subscribers) with links to their social media profiles, website and their books. You can search by sub category so if you know you like one author then you can see other members that are writing the similar types of books to find your new favourite author. We also have an events page which lists members’ events so fans can find talks in their areas. We promote all of these via our own social media channels and regular newsletters.
How do you help fledgling crime writers?
For 15 years we have been running the Debut Dagger which asks for the first 3000 words plus a synopsis from unpublished writers. The submissions are judged by a panel of top crime editors and agents, and the short listed entries are sent to publishers and agents. The winner receives a coveted Dagger plus £700. We have recently set up a new subscriber group ‘The Debuts’ which has a mailing list and a Facebook page. This allows us to build a community of new authors, communicate with them and also CWA members get involved and feedback to the new writers. And it really is a community and the members have been incredibly supportive of each other – celebrating each other’s achievements and they all really got behind each other in the hours leading up to the end of the Debut Dagger submission period – encouraging each other to finish and providing advice on synopsis writing.