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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Critical Thinking: The Writers' Co-op

The Writers’ Co-op

- Sooo…Henry goes with M to a couple of conferences and is amazed at M’s ability to cold-talk to anybody.
- A writer goes to Disneyland and spends the entire time passing out bookmarks of her YA novel.
- Another writer has 600 Facebook friends and still can’t get her novel published.
- All but a select few of my “friends” on my writing Facebook account are published writers who are trying to impress their publishers with their own “friends” number.
- Nobody can tell you exactly how to find your “tribe” on the internet, although everybody tells you that you must.

All of these happenstances, and more, made me start thinking, why couldn’t I use your tribe? And you could use mine, and then we both could use hers and his, and, before we know it, we have a pretty serious tribe. And, whatya know, one of us can build a website in twenty minutes, and another is a pro at talking to random strangers (that would not be me), and we all have local bookstores that may be interested in carrying an indy book…

I’m not even close to having this fleshed out, yet. The Stupefying collection is a great test, though, because so many of us have a stake in it. And this experiment certainly wouldn’t be solely devoted to published books. Short stories accepted by an e-zine need an audience, too.

A brain-stormed sampling of skills that would be useful to such an endeavor:

- Website guru: a single site for the co-op with individual author pages
- Graphic artist: for bookmarks and other publicity materials
- Video guru: my friend’s agent actually told her to stop working on her novel and come up with a trailer because that will sell it to a publisher quicker than any query could
- A release-writer
- A query specialist
- Someone who knows how to get books to reviewers
- Someone who knows how to get authors interviewed

Oooh! And how about a super-secret database of agents and publishers, what they like, individual experiences with them, and etc?

That’s the specialized stuff. Everybody involved could do the littler stuff:

- Bookstore schlepper
- Blogger
- Facebooker
- Word of mouther

If authors are more and more responsible for their own publicity and if smaller, independent publishers are the wave of the future, I think this is something to consider. I don’t know what competing agents and publishers would think about it, but if this stuff is up to the authors, I don’t see why each one should do it in a vacuum.

Of course there are some questions:

- What if you don’t actually like another’s book?
- What if one person doesn’t do their share?
- How do you pay for it all? Regular dues? Pro-rated to favor the unpublished?

What do you think? What would you like to see? Would this work?
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