FAQs

How do I join the Florida chapter?
What role does a chapter play in the national organization?
Do I need to pay extra dues to be in the Florida chapter?
Who is on the Florida Board of Directors?
Who do I contact if I have a question about the chapter?
Is there a chapter newsletter?
I joined so I can network with other writers. How do I start?
What about meetings?
What if I don’t live in South Florida?
What are some of the chapters’ other activities I can get involved in?
So what is SleuthFest all about?
Who can vote and hold office?
I finally got my book published. How can I change my membership status?
How can I get a discount rate for Publishers Weekly magazine?
Where can I find information about other membership benefits?
Can you help me if I’m frustrated with the National office?
How can I get more involved in FMWA?


How do I join the Florida chapter?
You first must climb aboard the Mother Ship by joining Mystery Writers of America. Once your application is processed, the office in New York will notify us and you become “assigned” to our chapter. You don’t have to live in Florida to be a Florida chapter member. If you want to be assigned to a different state, simply let the New York office know when you apply.

What role does a chapter play in the national organization?
MWA has 11 regional chapters and each has its own board and activities, including newsletters, conferences, meetings, speakers, social events. The chapter is also a basic political unit in the organization. Each chapter is represented on the National Board by its president.

Do I need to pay extra dues to be in the Florida chapter?
No. Your membership in the chapter is included in your national dues. When you join the national organization, you are automatically given membership in the chapter. A portion of your dues is returned to your chapter to support its newsletter and activities.

Who is on the Florida Board of Directors?
Nancy J. Cohen (president); Miriam Auerbach (vice president); Gregg Brickman (treasurer); Joan Cochran (secretary); at-large members are Britin Haller, Rick Wymer, Christine Jackson, Joanna Campbell Slan, Victoria Landis and Sharon Potts (past president).

Who do I contact if I have a question about the chapter?
Any board member will be happy to help you with questions. But most general things can be directed to Miriam Auerbach at miriam.auerbach@yahoo.com or Nancy J. Cohen at nancy.j.cohen@comcast.net

Is there a chapter newsletter?
Yes. The Rap Sheet is the chapter newsletter for FMWA. It comes out monthly into your email inbox and is edited by Ann Meier. The Rap Sheet is sent only to members. It contains important announcements about meetings and activities, member news, and other topics. We encourage all members to send in announcements about their book news and events. Please contact Ann at annmeier2@yahoo.com.

I joined so I can network with other writers. How do I start?
When you join our chapter, you’ll get a welcome letter from the chapter president that tells you how to join our Yahoo group listserve. Sleuthmail is our main means of communication. If you need instructions, contact one of the officers above. We also encourage you to attend meetings and volunteer for our various activities.

What about meetings?
We hold regular meetings the third Saturday of every month (with some exceptions) at the  Doubletree by Hilton in Deerfield Beach, (I-95 exit east at Hillsboro Blvd.) We have  guest speakers on a variety of topics including writing craft, marketing, and forensics. The meetings cost $25 ($30 for non-members) which covers your luncheon and the hotel costs. Details and reservation forms are always sent out to members via email ahead of time, and you can find info on the website.

What if I don’t live in South Florida?
The chapter welcomes meetings in locations throughout the state. You will receive  advance notice of these events or may initiate such a gathering yourself with approval of the Board.

What are some of the chapters’ other activities I can get involved in?
We participate in Florida book festivals such as the UCF Book Festival, Lake County Library Book Fest, Miami Book Fair, Mystery Writers Key West Fest, Florida Library Association Conference, and more. Plus we sponsor one of the biggest and best mystery writers’ conferences going – SleuthFest. And we always encourage everyone to attend member booksignings and presentations.

So what is SleuthFest all about?
This is a four-day conference geared for the working mystery writer – no matter if you are starting out or a bestselling author. We run four programming tracks featuring workshops and panels on everything from the basics of plotting to advanced marketing. Our forensics track has become renowned and the model for other conferences. At SleuthFest, you not only rub elbows with famous authors, you can pump experts for advice on everything from gun profiles to finding an agent. SleuthFest is held every March in Fort Lauderdale or Orlando. For information, go to http://www.sleuthfest.com.

Who can vote and hold office?
Active status members of MWA – generally, those whose work has been professionally published and who have received payment for it. You can run for a spot on the Board, but you must be an Active status member to be elected president or vice president.

I finally got my book published. How can I change my membership status?
Send information regarding your eligibility to the National office. We cannot change your status at the chapter level; new Active status must be approved by a vote of the National Board. At present, you are not eligible for Active status if you are self-published.

How can I get a discount rate for Publishers Weekly magazine?
Consult your MWA Member Benefits Guide, or contact MWA National Headquarters.

Where can I find information about other membership benefits?
Most information about benefits is available in the National newsletter, The Third Degree, and with the packets you receive from National when you join or renew – but we are happy to help you find any information about MWA you need. Contact the chapter or National offices.

Can you help me if I’m frustrated with the National office?
Our National office’s staff is usually friendly and helpful, but as with any organization, sometimes problems occur. Many times we can help you if you are having difficulty obtaining information or having other problems with the MWA National office. Contact us by any of the methods mentioned above.

How can I get more involved in FMWA?
Speak up! Volunteer your time and talents. We have various committees that can always use good ideas and reliable helpers. We are a volunteer organization and that means we run on good intentions. We are all busy in our personal and professional lives, but you will find your involvement in FMWA can pay dividends by giving you entry to the mystery community and by providing you with networking opportunities you can’t get on your own.

Even if you can’t volunteer, there are things you can do: Recruit other writers to join. Follow us on our social networking sites. Share member news. Tell a librarian or bookstore owner about our group. Promote our chapter when you speak in public, especially at writing conferences and seminars. Hand out our chapter brochures. Attend meetings and special events, and bring guests with you. Make sure we get your new address if you move, your new email address if you change services or accounts.magnifyingglass Suggest a speaker. Suggest a program. Suggest possible member discounts and benefits. Let us know which activities you like best/least. Don’t just sit back and do nothing…get involved!

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