Saturday, December 01, 2007

What if there was a place....

Let's just dream. Shall we?

We're all writers here and we like dreaming. Oh come on. I know you do. We LIVE to dream, right? To get lost in fantasy? To solve all of our problems through our daydreams? To sort out, seek answers, and quantify how we would rule the world in our dreams?

Of course. As previously stated. We are writers.

So, what if there was a place, a networking group if you will, (let's not say "organization") that would truly, truly meet your needs as a romance author. I mean, what would it look like?

Let's think. It would be supportive, right? Definitely. It would advocate for authors. Be an avenue for sharing of information. Yep. I'm pretty sure it might do that. Let's see. It could be a place were small press authors and epubs felt welcome. Hm. Yes, I think that would be important. In fact, it might even CATER to that group of romance authors.

Rules. Would it have rules? Would it make rules to eliminate people? Would it accept you as you are and who you are and welcome you with open arms? Would it cost you tons of money or would it be friendly to the budgets of small press authors. Would it (heavens to Betsy) even be free?

Would it be online? Host workshops? Connect with publishers? Advocate? Educate? Or just be there in case you needed to vent?

What else would this place look like?

In my dream, it would not throw up barriers. It would not seek to rise some to the top and stomp on others as they are climbing. It would NOT be a sorority. (ugh, shudder) But it would be a unique blending of authors who come together for the common good.

This place. Would it have a name? What would be it's mission? Goals? Would it even have a mission statement and goals or would it purposely hang loose and take a Bohemiam bent?

Okay, so perhaps this is all a little over the rainbow. But heck, I like being over the rainbow. What do you think?

What if there was a place that really, really met your needs as a small press romance author. What would it look like. Tell me.

Let's brainstorm.

maddie

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maddie:
I hope it would offer a venue of promotion that would truly push and reward new ideas bold enough to truly step outside the box. I'm disturbed that real creativity is sometimes quashed because of the fear of the unknown.
JMO,
Teresa Reasor

Maddie James said...

Teresa. I know what you mean. There are so many creative writers out there whose voice never get heard, and that is sad. Small presses are a wonderful venue for that, yet sometimes the recognition for that creativity is so difficult to come by. Promotion is key. Your point is a good one. Hmmm...makes me still ponder....

maddie

Anonymous said...

Maddie,
Jess and I were just discussing that this morning! We even came up with a name and mission. No exclusions! I believe fear and misunderstanding is standing in the way. "Old school" mindsets and politics will be the downfall of some "places".
My two cents,
Leigh

Maddie James said...

Here, here, Leigh. I'm with you! No exclusions would be very important. Let's do it!

madz

Mary said...

Maddie,
I think it would have a place for on line workshops, networking and editors from small epubs are welcome. Who knows, they may discover an author who is a member of the group. Members could download articles they've collected to share. Authors could find critique partners. Everyone could brainstorm about promotion ideas. Unless the group included readers, it wouldn't really be the spot to promote. But it would be a place authors of like genres could form promotion groups to share ad space, etc. The possibilities are limitless.
Mary

Devon Matthews said...

Maddie, looking forward to a good discussion. Will have time later to post some thoughts. But for now I wanted to tell you that the concept sounds wonderful, terrific! I'm very interested in hearing what's prompted the question. My first thought -- any time you're dealing with the general public, the ladder rungs are all going to be firmly in place. It's just the way society is geared. The only way you could come close to a level field is with a group of people who are in exactly the same situation. More later, gotta run for now.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I'm half way there! We're already considering workshops, and can hold them online. We're getting a website and such, but will start with a Yahoo group to commune. :)

Leigh

Maddie James said...

Woohoooo...!!! Maybe we could even, hm, have some sort of awards program...open to one and all! What a unique concept. LOL

madz

Maddie James said...

Devon, looking forward to your thoughtful insight. :)

maddie

Devon Matthews said...

Hi Maddie. I'm back for a moment. If you're talking about a discussion group, count me in. I would love some open, honest discussion about the issues facing those of us published by small presses. But if it's to be an open forum, I doubt we could truly be very open and honest if there were readers and general onlookers involved. Just my opinion.

Someone mentioned a rewards program. If you're talking about measuring writing progress, or something of that nature, that would be good incentive for many of us. On the other hand, I would suggest avoiding any type of "contest" based on who wrote the best, etc., because this falls right back on the old rungs in the ladder system.

Teresa. I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "venue of promotion." If you're talking about a promo loop in any form or fashion, then no, please, never that! Think about the out of control WRP loop. We don't even get on there anymore because it's so overwhelming. And it's only open to promo for books published by them. Just think if you had a forum open to everyone and they were allowed to promo. Every e-pubbed and small press author in the universe would rush in and start posting excerpts, blurbs, reviews, contest announcements. No, thank you! I would love to have a place where authors could talk and NOT gear everything toward trying to sell themselves or their books to their fellow authors. Right now, I have no such place. Even our Ky loop has turned into a place where members mostly post announcements.

Anyway, those are my thoughts and I'm interested to hear just exactly what you ladies have in mind. :o)

Anonymous said...

My idea of a perfect place would be a safe environment, where no one attacks you for what you write, or how you write it, as our ideas are our own and we are unique.

It would be a place to learn and polish our skills, and God forbid, yes it would be free. Most struggling writers have very little money to spare. It would also be in my fantasy, a place where the more seasoned writers shared their experiences, failures and knowledge without reserve. A place where we could talk out our problems, brainstorm our work and even discuss everyday life. Share our grief and struggles. Even hold workshops for those of us who need them.

But life isn't perfect and this isn't a perfect world. So...I dream on.

Lisa :)

Devon Matthews said...

Lisa, that's in line with my idea of a perfect place, too. :o) I LOVE talking writing. I'd also like to talk about the issues I face as an author with a small press.

Maddie James said...

Wow, more food for thought, ladies. Devon, I always appreciate your responses because you are so thoughtful in your replies. And Lisa, you are right on track. I know you have been frustrated lately with critique, etc.

It is good to hear a voice from the trenches...cause we're all there, right? :)

madz

Devon Matthews said...

Hey, is "thoughtful" another word for "blunt?" LOL!

Mary said...

Devon, I agree about the promo. We started a group, Novel Sisterhood, I'm afraid the yahoo group will turn into a promo loop. We'd love to discuss a lot of things, so we're trying to do one day a month for our members to promo, get it out of their system. But I'd love to have other authors come and share their experiences and writing triumphs and woes.

I had one person email me privately to ask about promoting their contest because she had a new release today and wanted to let everyone know about her contest. I told her that she could pop on to say hi and direct people to her web site. Letting her know we'd have a day to promote coming up. She sent me a curt Thanks and dropped of our Yahoo group.

It seems whenever a group or an author starts a yahoo group, there are those who join only to promote. Do you have a suggestion on how to stear away from that?

I love Maddie's idea of a place for all authors to help each other. I like the award idea as long as it's not a contest.

As I said earlier it would be great to have a place to meet other authors and those who write the same genre maybe team up for promotions together. But out side the meeting place. Or form critique groups. On line workshops, places more seasoned writers can mentor.

Sorry to go on so long.
Mary

Devon Matthews said...

Mary, I agree with everything you said. If there could be a group like the one you described, count me in.

I'm now 8 months into this being published stuff and I've run into a bunch of eye-openers. There are authors out there who will go to any lengths if they think it will sell a book. Pardon me, but I'm not going to risk getting on someone's nerves so my rank on Amazon will go up. I already rub people the wrong way quite enough without that. ;o)

I've been at this a long time. Publishing was not a vanity issue for me. But that's what I see in a LOT of new authors out there in small press land. Some are rank beginners and all that matters is the fact that they're published. They sell the books to their friends and family and any innocent bystanders who get caught up in their enthusiasm. I want more than that. In fact, if I can't have more than that, I won't publish again.

As I said, I've run into all kinds. Just three days ago, I received an email from some author I didn't know from Adam. She'd looked at my web site and contacted me. She'd written a western, even gave me her ISBN and stuff and basically told me if I bought her book, she'd buy mine. I went and looked. She was ranked over 4 mil on Amazon. I haven't even bothered to reply back to her yet. I'm still kind of speechless.

I hate to say this, but there are divisions among writers. With the flood of print books being put out there right now by a bunch of small presses, some of the divisions are valid, imo. The bad books (no knowledge of craft, bad grammar, etc.) kind of ruin it for the serious writers who've done their homework and put in the miles. And there are a lot of both out there. So how does a potential reader/buyer sift through all that mess?

This is an issue I've run up against. A lot of readers are leery of pod books. They don't want to pay the extra bucks for something unless they KNOW it won't turn out to be a piece of crap.

Leigh, if you guys are publishing only quality, my hat's off to you. If you set some kind of precedent I believe it WILL eventually pay off in reader confidence, if nothing else.

And now I need to shut up. Good grief, Madz, see what a can of worms you've opened.

Mary said...

I agree with everything, everyone has said today.

I hope we can find that perfect dream group, because it would be wonderful.
Mary

Anonymous said...

Hey Devon,
We are only contracting less than 1% of our submissions.

We started off with the theory that if we find quality authors and stories, provide quality editing (and copy edits), then we can keep enticing our readers back for more. (And we are sticklers about edits! Right Madz?) LOL

Ugh! I sound like an ad, but we have a wonderful list of authors who are happy and prolific. We'd rather have 20 very good authors than 100+ who can barely write their way out of a paper bag. :)

It's all about return customers, building a fan base for our gals, and not compromising on quality in any form.

:-) Leigh

Maddie James said...

Ask and you shall receive. It has been an interesting day, folks.

Oh Devon, how disappointing to have someone want to pull that "i'll buy yours if you buy mine thing." That would really leave a bad tasted in my mouth, too. Especially since you do not even know this person. I know I have bought books that my friends have written but it's never been that way between us. How icky.
Goes to show you how the promotion thing can get a bit wacky, doesn't it? And that craving for success at all costs. To what level do we stoop?

I also agree about the divisions of writers. Can't we all just write and be friends? But of course, the cliques, the sororities, they do exist. Sometimes, they are even fun. I suppose that is inevitable. I know I have my own writing cronies and perhaps we would be considered a clique, too, I don't know. But what you speak of is different. We've all seen and experienced "the levels." Hmm...I wonder if we place ourselves there. So, let's all just stop it, stop it, stop it...right now!

I started this off by saying, "ask and you shall recieve." I really dropped in to say that I have some news coming in a big. Stay tuned. I'm waiting on a few tweaks. :)

maddie

Maddie James said...

Druuuuuum roll please!

Here you go folks. This is a start. One writer organization fit for all us queens.

Like I said, it is a start. More is coming. Let's start the discussion and see where it goes.

We are open for business.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/URWAforum/files/

Truly, this has evolved in a number of hours. We are woman, hear us roar.

Maddie James said...

p.s. not that men are excluded. oh no, we never exclude the male species. :)

Devon Matthews said...

Maddie, thank you so much for allowing me to say my piece today. I hope nothing I said was offensive to anyone, I was only telling the truth as I've seen it. Yes, there will always be divisions because each and every one of us subconsciously put things into perspective by creating these levels. It's just human nature, but I do believe we can all get along and just be writers! The different levels of experience and skill are always going to exist, but if everyone would just recognize them for what they are... we were all beginners once. We must remember that. I love the teaching aspect of craft of writing. I also like being able to get help with my own writing when I need it.

Long-winded again. Sorry.

I wish you and RP all the best of luck and hope you become mega successful. Leigh has the right idea.

I'm off now to join your new loop. And I look forward to people actually talking to each other about writing, the business, all of it. I'm starved for conversation. :o)

Thanks again!