I know Ali just posted on her blog about groups, but I'm going to piggyback on that.
I've mentioned before how much I appreciate The Group. My admiration is even stronger today after an encounter I had last night. Several people met at a restaurant in town. Most did not know each other. There was no real structure to the gathering--on purpose. For me it fell flat.
Most of the writers there are experienced, a few multi-published. Yet they seemed unable to maintain a conversation about writing without continued references to themselves. "In MY book, I...." They seemed to take it as an opportunity to promote themselves and their work. Now, that's okay to an extent, but not what I'm looking for.
Further, they seemed fairly clueless about what's in the marketplace right now and how the publishing industry works. And these were the published ones. They all have gone through small presses, which may explain why the promos. I don't believe that a writer needs to have the NYT bestseller list memorized, but at least have an idea of who's big at any given moment. And read something, for pity sake. In your genre and outside of it.
Okay, I feel a little better now. I did write and thank The Group for being the way they are.