I am excited to be here today with you to share with you a Guest Post from Monique McDonell. She is one of the authors in the book "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Chick Lit."
It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Friendship
I’m so happy to be writing this blog post about It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Chick Lit because it truly has been a great project to be a part of. I’ve put my hand up a couple of times to join chick lit anthologies and then life has had other plans and I have had to opt out. (I was lucky enough to collaborate on one previously with my Sydney writing group which raised $8,000 for the charity Room to Read but that’s another blog post).
When this one came up I threw my hat (or rather my story) in the ring. I had a story half-written and knew that meant I could make the deadline. Writers hate deadlines. We need deadline,s but we hate them. That’s one of the positive things about a group project like this – you have to meet the deadline or you let everyone down.
Let me backtrack a little. All the authors in this anthology are part of a Facebook group for chick lit writers, and a couple of them had an idea for a holiday chicklit anthology and put it out to the group. Those of us who are involved all put our hands up, and here we are, a few months later ,with a gorgeous anthology of festive fiction.
Our anthology features authors from across the United States, Australia and New Zealand so we’re an eclectic bunch with some rather challenging time-zone differences to work around.
Everyone in It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Chick Lit joined the project for different reasons and contributed in different ways.
“I've wanted to find ways to collaborate with other authors for quite a while, so when I heard about this anthology I jumped at the chance to participate. It was a great experience,” says Holly Tierney-Bedford.
The benefits of course go far beyond the anthology itself.
"Writing is such a solitary pursuit, to be able to work with these wonderful fellow authors, to learn from them has been a total gift," adds author Kate O'Keeffe.
Writing can be lonely and trying to maintain enthusiasm when you’re writing in a vacuum is a challenge many authors face. That’s why working on a collaborative project such as this one can be of real value explains Tracy Krimmer.
“Working with a group of other authors has so many benefits, but, most of all, they provide a cheering section for each other. We keep each other motivated and are always there to help one another. “
Of course not every group project is rainbows and unicorns (or Christmas cookies and boughs of holly). It seems that we got lucky with this group if Geralyn Corcillo’s experience is anything to go by.
“I have been involved in seven wonderful anthologies, but this one, by far, has been the most magical. Working with the authors and reading all the stories fill me with warmth and tingles," says Geralyn Corcillo.
I was lucky to have worked with Geralyn before, on a limited run box set ,but she was the only one of the authors I’d had any professional experience with and it’s always a risk to embark on a group project. (Those group projects from high school scarred me for life and I know I’m not alone.)
It’s not just the writing that needs to be professional either. Book cover design, promotion, deadlines and release dates are all things that need to be discussed and a consensus reached so there are plenty of places that the process can come unstuck.
Ultimately though, it is about the writing, and trying to find a balance between styles and stories is another challenge. We don’t all write the same thing so the pieces needed to mesh together. Amy Gettinger proofed everyone’s stories before they were formatted.
“This is a great, professional group of authors to work with. They all wrote beautiful pieces, and I am proud to be in their company.”
So for other writers looking to undertake a shared project what advice do we have? Choose your collaborators wisely, be collaborative and communicate is my best advice.
I’ll let Susan Murphy have the last word.
“I have learnt more in the last few months about being a ChickLit author and the power of having the support of a great tribe, than I ever thought possible. It has been fun, challenging, exciting and scary as hell all rolled into one and I can't wait to do it again!”
Thanks so much for stopping by today!