Sunday, June 9, 2013

Suckers Guild

Late last fall, I got into a conversation on Twitter about how much better things would be for both writers and readers if there were an indie writers' guild. It started out very light-hearted - an offhand comment and a couple of joking responses - but very soon we realized we were onto something.

The Premise

The idea was that as much as we may want to, no one writer can ever produce a truly professional book all alone. It's not that we can't teach ourselves anything we would need to know. It's that no one of us could teach ourselves everything we would need to know, at the necessary level of expertise. And then there's the fact that you just can't edit your own work. To produce a truly professional book requires at least a few different pairs of eyes.

There are only three possible ways I can think of that an author can get a book out there, without compromising quality:

  1. Traditional publishing. I mean really traditional publishing, with the full editing and marketing force that goes with that. This option is like the lady's slipper I found this morning: we can't exactly pick that one, because it's an endangered species.
  2. Extremely expensive self-publishing. You pay for four, or at the very least, three expert editors, in addition to experts in layout, graphics, electronic formatting, printing, marketing and distribution. I've probably forgotten a job or two. Obviously, most writers simply don't have the money for this one.
  3. Collaboration. Like bees in a hive, each of us has a specialty, or develops one, and we all work together to publish and sell books we're not ashamed to put our names on.

The Plot

So that's the idea behind the Suckers Guild. We looked around and didn't see any writers' group already out there that worked like this, so we started one. To learn more, you can visit the Suckers Guild site.

The Title

I know you're wondering why we named it the Suckers Guild. It came from the half-joking remarks that began the whole conversation, about how we don't want our books to suck, about how our lack of access to publishing resources sucks, and even about PT Barnum's famous saying, that there's a sucker born every minute.

In the end, we chose it because it reminds us that while we strive against all the odds life throws at us, there's no need to be stuffy and take ourselves too seriously. Because -  yup, I'm going to say it - that would suck.

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