Writers dream of the day when the words they have committed to paper will be read and appreciated by people they may never meet. The desire to be published is a goal that motivates gifted scribes to spend long hours at computer keyboards, to spend money and time to attend conferences, and to join local writers’ support groups. The struggle can be lonely, daunting, and expensive. Yet, even with all that effort, the acceptance letter and contract is often like an elusive butterfly.
However, The Cherokee Christian Writers’ Group has found a better way to capture that moment of first seeing one’s name in print, while giving prospective new members another reason to join. And, sales of the book raise funds for the group!
Earlier this year, I told my fellow group members, “Writers need to write, and what is written needs to be published.” In response, members voted to combine their talents and finances to produce a Print on Demand (POD) book of memoirs told through stories and poems. The project involved months of writing, editing, screening, critiquing, and revising. Thirteen professionals from outside of the group judged the best of the best in the blind. The chosen fifty-two selections from eighteen of the members were incorporated into a 225-page book entitled Stepping Stones Across the Stream of Time: Collected Memories of a Writers’ Group. The glossy cover is a beautiful photograph of a flowing stream with large stones forming a crossing point.
It was an emotional night of celebration when the galley proof arrived from BookLocker.com, especially for those members whose work appears in those pages. The initial order of 350 books included 250 purchased by members for gifts or for sales to friends and co-workers. The 100 extra will be used for awards, for inclusion in new member packets, for book signings at conferences, and for consignment sales through small bookstores.
The project was so successful that CCWG is planning to release a new book each year, and will expand the list of authors until all fifty-plus members have had the opportunity to be published in one of our volumes. The 2004 book will consist of a collection of short fictional stories and poems.
The joint authoring of a book makes a lot of sense. The common goal drives the work to completion, and sharing the expense through fund raising, dues, and prepaid orders results in publication without the individual burden of going it alone. You can read more about Stepping Stones at the link below so your group can see what one writers’ organization has accomplished. Then consider how a similar project can benefit your own membership’s goal of publication. BookLocker.com’s submission guidelines are HERE.
R.T. Byrum, a published author of radio-TV commercials, scripts, articles, and young adult novels, is the president of The Cherokee Christian Writers’ Group. You can learn more about R.T. at: http://www.rtbwriter.com