My last entry covered Facebook friends, and I mentioned two specific organizations: Western Fictioneers and Western Writers of America. In the simplest of terms, as soon as you are eligible, I strongly suggest joining both groups. They have each been tremendously helpful to me, and I look forward to becoming more and more involved as time goes by.
Western Fictioneers, in their own words, is “an organization of professional authors of Western novels and short stories.” It is a relatively new organization, founded in 2010, and as they say, they want to “preserve, honor and promote traditional Western writing in the 21st century.
Their membership requirement is simple, but not necessarily easy: “You must have been paid for writing Western fiction, not just self-published.” Keep in mind, if you’re working on your first novel, you can qualify by selling a short story.
I was honored by Western Fictioneers recently when “Coyote Courage” was a finalist for one of their annual Peacemaker Awards: Best First Novel. I didn’t win (Howard Weinstein did for “Galloway’s Gamble”), but I do hope to win one someday!
You can find Western Fictioneers on Facebook — their page is public. Even if you’re not ready to join the organization, you can join the page at no cost and with no requirements needing to be met. Their website also has quite a bit of information to help you get started, or to keep you going.
Western Writers of America (WWA) is another terrific organization that I am proud to be a member of. WWA is the granddaddy, and since 1953 it has stuck to its mission: “to promote the literature of the American West.” Like Western Fictioneers, they have an annual convention that’s well worth attending if you get a chance. You’ll spend a few days in a fun location surrounded by a couple of hundred people who all share your passion for the Old West and the books that celebrate it.
Their membership also requires that you’ve had some work (novels or short stories) published, and you can find the details on their website.
They also have a Facebook group page that is open to the public, and whether or not you meet the requirements for formal membership in the organization, you can take advantage of a wealth of information available on the Facebook page. Just like the members of Western Fictioneers, the members of this page are good folks and quick with advice, and I have found them very happy to help.
There are certainly other social media platforms and other online resources (blogs, etc.), but these two are a great place to start. And if I may be so bold, maybe go online and do it now?
I wish you good writing, and if you have a question or something you’d like to share, send me an email at [email protected].
Thank you, enjoy and keep writing!