f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Day 5 of a New Writers Group – Ummmm, Now What?

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Friday, July 02, 2004

Day 5 of a New Writers Group – Ummmm, Now What?

We could continue talking about these issues forever, but at some point the actual hard work of developing this group is going to have to be done. While I still think there needs to be a least a little more discussion, it’s also time to begin getting people in place.

Before we open that door, there’s one final consideration to be discussed and that is the groups’ affiliation with publishers.

As you all know, hopefully, I work for a publishing company. In house, we’ve often discussed the question of whether it’d be worthwhile someday to run our own writing workshop. It’d be smaller and applicants would be selected based on their submitted manuscripts. Instructors would be editors and other publishing people from Bethany House and then some our authors, too. That has been discussed, but we’ve never moved on it.

A similar case could be made for hosting a writers group. In theory, we could look at bearing a greater portion of the start-up costs and in turn the group would be taken under the wing of our editorial group. This is good for writers in that their would be immediate access to editors and an “in” with a publishing house. There’d be more resources available for training and, in theory, a breadth of authors who could host clinics/workshops/etc. It would act, sort of, like a ramped-up, highly interactive version of what we’re doing here. That’s the upside, as I see it.

The downside. The group wouldn’t have the critical freedom to look at CBA books. Also, my guess is there’d be some sort of “write-of-first-refusal” agreement that we’d have to talk through. If writers worked with our editors on their manuscripts, we would need to at least have first crack at publishing them. If we turned them down, you’d be free to go elsewhere, but you wouldn’t have quite the same autonomy.

So that’s one option. It’s an interesting one. And certainly one that’s never been tried before that I know of. It’s has some benefits but some limitations as well. It would also have to be approved at levels higher than me.

The other direction is for the new writers group to break with all publishers. You could form loose associations with publishers for editors to come and do workshops, but the key here would be to be self-supporting, based on membership dues and possibly ad space on your website. It offers all the freedom and all the responsibility.

So, I just wanted to bring those ideas up.

Now is the time to begin to decide which path to choose, which direction to follow. I will have moved the conversation to a new forum called “The New Group.” From now on, we’ll keep planning conversation over here. That way the other area stays clear for more general F*i*F discussion.

Exciting times. God be with us all.