The first blog on WritersCo-op.com was Curtis Bausse’s “Here we are!” of April 26, 2016 announcing the site. It was aptly tagged, “BLOGGING, BOOK PROMOTION, COOPERATION.”
Comments included Jill Barth’s, “Looking forward to collaboration, meeting other writers & reading stories.”
Success will be judged in due time. As the optimist who fell off the roof could be heard saying as he passed windows on the way, “So far so good.” So far, many writers have shared good information, their insights and their stories.
Here are a few from our first year.
The Book a Break short story competition
“And overall, there’s another, slightly unexpected aspect – you may think it’s corny, but I found that providing the impetus for writers to create stories is quite enchanting. Some of them, perhaps, were already there in people’s minds, and might have found expression anyway; others came into being for the occasion. Either way, I find it almost as satisfying to have nurtured that whole process as if I’d written them myself.”
“Writing charms are plentiful and inexpensive to acquire. They can appear in unexpected places and abound in second-hand markets from estate sales, antique shops, consignment shops, pawn shops, flea markets and garage sales. As symbols, they don’t have to be the real thing. They only have to focus your thoughts on your story.”
The Women Men Don’t See, Indeed.
“For those who don’t know, James Tiptree Jr was the pseudonym of author Alice Sheldon. A noted recluse and ‘mystery man’ during the seventies, she published numerous stories in the science fiction magazines of the time, including the story Houston, Houston, Do You Read? which won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards.”
“A lot of readers weren’t sure what to make of it. No one knew that Tiptree was a woman at that point, though there were apparently some who speculated she might be. Robert Silverberg, in his introduction to the anthology featuring the tale, insisted that Tiptree’s writing had to be the work of a man, that there was “something ineluctably masculine” about it. To his credit, when the truth came out, he congratulated Tiptree for fooling him so successfully and said “You’ve given my head a greatly needed wrenching.”
Writing – A Team Sport?
“Gone are the days of waking up at 907 Whitehead Street, dropping a Spanish onion into a glass of chilled gin with the requisite splash of vermouth, putting paper into the typewriter and cranking out an iconic piece of literature as a seven-toed cat wanders between your legs. Not anymore. Today’s writer must do it all: write something worth reading, sell it to an agent or publisher, create a business model and social media platform, market your work and you, sell again, this time to the consumer, and then deal with insurance and taxes.”
It’s All Personal
“How do we get people to buy our books? In my experience, it’s all personal.”
“I have sold dozens of books through local shops. Not bookstores, but shops where the owner is willing to display my books for a share of the revenue. This requires direct selling to the owner. Telephone contact doesn’t work; I have to walk in the front door with the books in my hands.”
“I was asked to speak at a meeting of a regional environmental group. My presentation was not about my books, but I had a box of them along. I prepared carefully, tried to be entertaining, finished my presentation by reading a story, and sold a few hundred dollars worth of books when the meeting was over. That was a good day for me.”
“None of this easy for me. I have to work hard to sell myself and my books. But it is what works best.”
“I believe that successful marketing, especially for emerging writers, is all personal.”
Nonsense and Stuff
“Fantasy is a genre that creates a world in its entirety. There may be no gravity perhaps, or maybe people eat milk and drink cheese, but whatever world is created is bound by an established set of rules. What separates nonsense from the more popular genre of fantasy is that there is no bounding set of rules. There is a surprisingly deep, and playfully intellectual nature to nonsense that lifts it above gibberish.”
Selling Your Baby
“Ultimately, marketing your book is far more than posting ads and links and waiting for the royalties to roll in. It’s about connecting with your potential readers and engaging them in your story’s world. We have a pretty good idea what doesn’t work, so take a look at all the successful marketing around you and make it work for you.”
Carl E Reed
“The big deal is that every time you jump into another character’s head to directly reveal the inner life of that character you steal focus from the scene’s focal point character, thus injecting emotional distance into your text by diffusing empathy and muddying the over-all clarity, dramatic pacing and concision of your scene. A clean line or chapter break when switching amongst POVs will help to keep your reader focused, involved and empathizing with the most important person in the narrated scene.”
“We sit around waiting for the world to come to us, we’re gonna be waiting one damn long time.
To quote Mark Knopfler: It may be a game but I won’t play to lose.
Don’t scorn the old-fashioned basics. Don’t depend on the web to spread the word. Flyers, mailers, I’m going to try it all.
I’m researching bumper stickers. I see not only bumper stickers, but magnets, decals, and labels in a variety of sizes and shapes (like those I Voted Today labels you get on Election Day) for a modest price.”
“I recall that the artist Keith Haring started his career by defacing posters in the Manhattan subway tunnels. Mysterious doodles, unsigned, got him a lot of attention. People were mad to know what the Radiant Babies meant. When he finally revealed himself, the press jumped on it.”
Publishing Through a Start-up Independent Publisher
“The final step was working with the line editor. This guy was not as bad as my first editor, but was close. I’m pretty sure he had written a book himself, which only added to his know-it-all attitude (granted to be a writer, myself included, you need a pretty large ego), and he did make some valuable comments (I do greatly overuse ‘that’) and corrections. Unfortunately, he had absolutely no concept of science fiction. In some cases I politely explained his mistakes, in others I just ignored him. He was also in love with a computer program which counts the number of times a word is used and highlights perceived overuse. I do know I often “fall in love” with words and overuse them, but recognizing this foible I work to correct it. Unfortunately, many times there are only a limited number of choices. My line editor would apparently run to the thesaurus, find a word I had not used and substitute it for mine. The problem was he ignored the first rule of the thesaurus game – when you find a nifty synonym check the dictionary to make sure it really fits. I must admit there were a number of times my annoyance was curbed by my chuckling at the words he chose. In the end I accepted about 10% of his suggestions.”
All falls end and in this universe, as in life, we are all falling. But our first year feels like we are in for a very long fall. I “Whoosh” us all a very Happy and Productive 2017!