Writers are solitary beings and even when we venture out to meet other writers, we keep our basic egocentricity – how best to tell our unique and individual stories, how to develop a voice, what will work for our particular readership. In BWW we have mostly known each other for years, and as is the way with these things have tried to support each other through good times and bad – from put-downs from agents to more serious life events. But since the Unchained anthology got off the blocks, with the aim of producing a unified piece of work to professional standards (and selling it far and wide) we’ve had to get our act together as a team.
This has presented quite a few challenges along the way. Ironically we worried less about each-other’s work than the possibility of our own pieces not coming up to scratch. We realised we needed an editorial board to make sure nothing below par slipped through and appointed three of our number whose decisions would be final – well almost. Luckily a deal of to-ing and fro-ing was permitted until everyone was happy with the finished result.
But we knew about writing and editing. The fun really began when we had to deal with everything else. Although everyone loved the initial cover produced by Joe at Wildspark , there were ten opinions on how to get it exactly right in terms of content and appearance – and that was only the front! Website design and content was also mulled over although maybe at not such great length and there was ready agreement onsharing out blog posts.
And now a book launch! Amazingly the publicity machine we didn’t know we had cranked into action. Aspects of our lives which don’t apply in the context of our Thursday evening meetings became vital to the project – like one of us actually works in marketing, and another can get things printed in a trice. An ex-teacher has contacts in several schools and while some of us have thrown ourselves around FB and Twitter, others have simply done the legwork by making sure every café on Gloucester Road (and there are lots!) has a poster advertising the launch. Someone else again had a contact in BCFM so that we could even take to the airwaves. We also learned when something doesn’t need to be discussed. When one of our editors spied that with two weeks to go we had no firm plan for the launch event she bravely just went ahead and made one, for which she has our eternal thanks.
Of course there are many other people without whom … and we’ll be sure to thank them all tomorrow (eek!) night. But as a group we’ve come along way from simply turning up, drinking coffee and talking writing. Maybe we didn’t quite realise what we’d taken on when we decided to publish a book, but by George we did it!