If you have been following this blog, you already know that Five Directions Press is not the only writers’ cooperative in publishing today. Indeed, when authors confront the array of tasks associated with self-publishing—editing, cover design, typesetting, marketing, and the general need to produce and upload files in multiple formats—it would be astonishing if people did not seek out like-minded and amenable souls to share the journey. I discovered Triskele Books—a group of writers living in the UK, France, and Switzerland—on GoodReads, the Internet book club, and engaged in a blog conversation with them last year. Their “how we did it” guide, The Triskele Trail, is available on Kindle and will soon be revised for print. If you think you might like to start your own cooperative, The Triskele Trail offers lots of useful information on what does and doesn’t work.
As a sign that this is indeed part of a broader trend, Joel Friedlander, whose The Book Designer should be on every self- and small-group-published author’s blog list, hosted an article on cooperatives by Jordan Rosenfeld a few months ago. It provoked a lot of comments and not a little interest among readers.
Just recently, I came across another coop, also through GoodReads. This one is Writer’s Choice, based in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. Like Five Directions Press and Triskele Books, Writer’s Choice grew out of a critique group—in their case online—at the point where the writers involved had full novels that were getting good responses from agents and editors but, for one reason or another, no contracts. So they banded together and decided to take advantage of the new publishing environment. For the moment, they have three authors, each with a book in print, and more on the way.
G. J. Berger, South of Burnt Rocks—West of the Moon
Chosen as Best Published Historical fiction of 2012 by San Diego Book Awards, winner of the BRAG Medallion.
After three great wars, Rome has crushed Carthage. Now the undefended riches of Iberia beckon—gold, tin, olives, wine, and healthy young bodies to enslave.
Lavena, last child of the strongest remaining Iberian tribal leader, confronts the Romans who plunder and loot her land, at times helped only by her father’s favorite dog and a special horse. Guided by spirits of earth and sky, she strives to unite her people and oust the Roman menace. Based on real characters, places, and events, South of Burnt Rocks recreates that shadowy history—and eternal human nature rubbed raw.
P.D.R. Lindsay, Tizzie
There’s no slavery in the Yorkshire Dales—not in 1887, not ever. But loving families use artful schemes to enslave the innocent. Twenty-nine-year-old Tizzie is such an innocent. She has worked herself down to skin and bones as a dairymaid on the farm of her dear brother, his Scottish wife, and their three boys and one girl—Agnes.
Expert at many things, though not in spotting conniving entrapment, Tizzie longs to see young Agnes escape her own spinster fate. In trying to help Agnes find an education and avoid a life of drudgery in their male-dominated world, Tizzie begins at last to suspect her family’s treachery.
Soon she discovers it plans to enslave and use up Agnes, too. With only her wits to guide her, Tizzie tries to right years of wrongs and set Agnes free.
Sharon Robards, Unforgivable (2014)
Bestselling author of A Woman Transported
Australia, 1966. Seventeen-year-old Sylvia, without a husband to legitimize her pregnancy, has no choice but to wait for the birth of her child in St. Joseph’s Hospital, managed by the Sisters of St. Anthony on behalf of the Catholic Church. No girl has ever walked out the front gate without leaving behind her baby. Sylvia intends to become the first.
In the great religious and social upheaval brought on by Vatican II, amid a thriving adoption industry driven by society’s fierce disapproval of unmarried mothers, a determined teenager battles with the nuns to save her child.
And on a different topic, I’m happy to report that my interview with James Aitcheson (Sworn Sword, The Splintered Kingdom, and Knights of the Hawk) went off without a hitch—or a cough. So stay tuned for the link to that podcast, which should be live by the middle of next week.