Sunday, November 17, 2013

Not farewell, but au revoir

Siggy tells me that she’s putting Writers Get Together on hold for a while.

I understand. Running a blog is not a lot of work — it’s not a full-time job, certainly —  but the schedule that Siggy had set, publishing a new post every two days, is demanding.

Running the blog as I did for the summer for Siggy showed me just how much time and stress it could cause. I had to find new contributors, ask them for posts, follow up, edit and format the entry, find pictures, add and verify the links, schedule the thing and add labels or tags.

I added another task, too. I set up a Twitter feed, which meant that that I had make a tweet for every post.

None of these tasks takes a long time — writing a Tweet and adding a shortened link can be done in a minute or two, literally. But it all adds up.

And life has other demands: day job, family, health, home — and, of course, the drive to write the next book. Personally, I have at least three different books in my head that are clamouring to get out onto paper (or screen, at least).

But putting down a blog like Writers Get Together is a hard thing to do, because it is an example of what today’s writer has to do to succeed — to having a point to writing down those stories.

As I’ve written before, the major commercial publishers have failed to make the transition to the new e-book reality and the ability of authors to self-publish. The most exciting and best-selling new authors today (though not necessarily the best) have all begun with self-publishing and then been picked up by major publishers, including the (terrible, but huge-selling) EL James’ Fifty Shades trilogy; but also really good books like Wool by Hugh Howey.

Yes, authors can succeed independently of commercial publishers, retaining control and a much larger share of the proceeds. But commercial publishers exist because they perform essential tasks, like editing, printing, manufacturing, marketing and delivering books.

We can’t do all of it alone. I’m known for saying “you cannot edit your own writing.” First, we writers need someone else to tell us whether our idea makes sense; we need someone else to edit our writing — and probably several people to do the different types of editing, from substantive to copy-editing to proofreading.

We need a designer for the cover; we often need help with formatting for print or e-book production (although the computer tools that do that for us are getting better and better).

And most of all, we need a group of people to help us publicize our work — getting the word out, letting others know about our writing.

That’s where a blog like Writers Get Together can come in: a blog that serves the function in the digital world of the old-fashioned coffee house, where writers can share new work, experiment with new ideas and get feedback from colleagues. And it’s a place where we can discover exciting new writers, or at least exciting writers new to us, and follow links to their work and spread the word through other channels about our discoveries.

That’s why I will not say that Siggy is cancelling Writers Get Together. Instead, I’ll describe it as being on “hiatus.”

I see WGT as a valuable resource, and I am asking all of you now: send me or Siggy some contributions, suggestions, links or anything. Let’s keep the spirit alive.

Come on, writers — get together!

Scott Bury

I am a journalist, editor and writer living in Ottawa. I have written articles for newspapers and magazines in Canada, the US, UK and Australia, includingMacworld, the OttawaCitizen, the Financial Post, Marketing, Canadian Printer, Applied Arts, PEM, Workplace, Advanced Manufacturing and others.
My first published fiction is “Sam, the Strawb Part,” a children’s adventure story. My first published novel wasThe Bones of the Earth,published in 2012. In April 2013, Independent Authors International published my spoof of Fifty Shades of Grey: One Shade of Red.

My website:
Twitter: @ScottTheWriter

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