You’ve written a dynamic, super page turner that you deem will revolutionize your genre, but one obstacle stands in your way to greatness: feedback! Most writers live in a bubble. The other people who orbit our lives don’t necessarily know a thing or two about putting a novel together. Where does that leave the individual who is dependent on a nine to five, who scribbles a paragraph here and there during breaks, lunchtime, waiting for trains and buses out in the open under old man winter’s icy grip, or under the sun’s glaring orb during summer months? None of the writing software available online for free or for purchase can have a conversation with you about your work. They don’t know you and what inspires you! What’s a writer to do?
Join a book club, why don’t you? We’re a finicky breed when it comes to sharing work that as yet to be copyrighted. Picture the little hairless guy, meme a million times over, from Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings series. Yes, that’s us fussing over the protection of our work. With a mindset like that, it would seem then that the problem is incurable! We should just throw our hands up in the air and walk away!
To make matters worse, some solutions lead to more problems. For example, some book review sites will charge fifty dollars to make a book available for review in a pool of seven hundred reviewers. If those reviewers give you enough “up votes,” then you move to round two and the book goes on a live feed on their website. This also gets you mentioned in their newsletter. What if no one reviews your precious? What then?
I thought Indie publishing was supposed to solve the many woes writers faced with traditional publishers, which had a tight grip on who got published and who didn’t. Writers were promised the land of milk and honey if we all flocked over to indie publishing. Yet, the milk and honey are slow droplets oozing pass that firm grip on market access.
Think about it, we’ve replaced the gods of traditional publishing with another set of gods and goddesses who rule over the millions of hungry writers desperate to have their work read. If you don’t believe me, try getting a book blogger to read your material! Go ahead, I’m waiting, I have time! Based on my research, their rules for submission are just as stringent as a traditional pub’s and the waiting list just as long. Forget about family because everyone there has a real career either in law, medicine, accounting, etc. You are the only lone wolf who thought he was an artist and would make trillions this way. Yet, hope lingers in you like weed taking root in the cracks of a sidewalk.
I propose that indie writers form a consortium. Groups would be based on genre of writing naturally. Let’s play it out for a minute! Ten Fiction writers network and form a bond over their craft. Like group therapy, not that I’ve ever been, but you get the idea. We must first build trust. Then each writer in the group gets assigned a number from one to ten. Writer number one passes his/her work to writer number two and so on until we get to writer number ten whose work goes to writer number one. Six weeks later, each writer generates a written evaluation of the manuscript and returns it to its author. But my piece isn’t ready yet! I don’t have as much time to write like writer number four, who’s a stay at home mom/dad. O.k., then the group waits and uses that time to throw another coat of editing on their piece. Then, when we’re all set to exchange, ten manuscripts will get an evaluation in six weeks. And this process can repeat itself if the consortium deems it necessary. If not, the consortium moves to phase two.
In phase two, the consortium should begin to research where they will collectively take their finished manuscripts. The writers in this consortium are no longer making moves as individuals but rather as a block of individuals whose purchasing power just got amplified tenfold. My thinking is that publishing presses are more likely to charge an individual author a high rate but are more likely to reduce that rate significantly if a block of authors is to do business with them. It’s kind of like buying in bulk as opposed to single units–you save more! Based on my own research, the consortium can expect to be offered a fifteen percent discount on a print and editing package. However, I would argue that at the risk of letting a group of ten walk away, most publishers would probably entice the group with a twenty percent discount offer. I could be wrong!
I truly believe that a writer consortium could be beneficial to all involved. The key is to keep the group at no more than ten members. Consortium members wouldn’t have to parade their work or troll social media outlets with hopes of finding a reasonably priced reviewer. Everyone would have access to a writing partner to bounce off ideas and a person who eventually becomes familiar with his/her style and helps them to grow as a writer. More importantly, the group has greater leverage in making negotiations with indie publishers. Subsequently, everyone in the group grows and flourishes. Of course, Non-disclosure forms would be necessary to maintain the groups sense of security over their work. You know how writers can be!
So, Who’s with me?