In every career, there is a project or a contact or a conference that is a game changer. For me, a professional boost came in 2010, with the offer to edit the first Guppy anthology.
Guppies are writers who belong to Sisters in Crime’s Great Unpublished Chapter. Authors new to the crime writing genre can join the “Guppy” chapter and find camaraderie, advice, experience, and support. The Guppies are Sisters in Crime’s largest and most active group. If an unpublished author has a work published, they are not expelled from the chapter. Once a Guppy, always a Guppy.
In 2010, I was approached to edit the 22 stories that became Fish Tales: The Guppy Anthology. The stories were self-selected by the chapter, and for many of the authors, Fish Tales was their first publishing credit. The purpose of the anthology was to promote the authors and the chapter, but also to allow new authors to go through the publication process of writing a story, earning an acceptance, working with an editor, revising, writing a bio, waiting breathlessly during manuscript submission to Wildside Press, and finally experiencing the joy of that first printed byline. It was an exciting time for those authors. That experience remains one of my favorites in my career. It was such an honor to be part of Fish Tales.
It also had a lasting impact on my editing business. Guppy anthology #4 – Fish Out of Water – was released this spring. I have now edited 88 short stories via Guppy anthologies: Fish Tales, Fish Nets, Fish or Cut Bait, and Fish Out of Water. I have watched so many of those new authors go from first publication, to contract offers, to becoming well published and award-winning writers.
I am not alone in being grateful to the Guppy chapter for career advancement, and for the experience of working with some many wonderfully talented and driven authors. Many of my editing clients came via the Guppy anthologies or the online classes I teach through the chapter. It’s impossible to put a price on the value of those contacts and, more importantly, the writing friends I have gained through working with the Guppy chapter.
Last week, E. B. Davis at the Writers Who Kill blog interviewed the 22 authors and 1 editor who contributed to the latest Guppy anthology. The questions go from crazy aunts and comic surprises, writing as an addiction, deer camps and dairy farms, to what happens when an author passes away during the anthology process. Take a look at some inside scoop from Fish Out of Water.