No, not a Plague of Doves.
I was at a local Brisbane book launch last night for writer Trent Jamieson , kickoff for the Business of Death and the first of the Roil books, The Nightbound Land (steampunk). It was a good night with very smooth and amusing speeches and a few choice readings. I saw many of the usual suspects from the Brisbane writing scene coming to support a writer they have known for years, as well as many more people I did not know. Trent has long been a very successful short story writer, now he has broken through at novel length in a big way, with four novels hitting the shelves in the last twelve months.
It just got me reflecting how much our success in many ways relies on the support of fellow writers. It’s about the group. Not a Shrewdness of Apes, or a Battery of Barracudas, Chatter of Budgerigars (although there was plenty of chatter:)), Drove of Bullocks or a Quiver of Cobras – no – in this case I think I can coin a new collective noun: A Launch of Writers:)
There used to be the old cliché of the writer sitting in their garret, giving an image of isolation, but nothing could be further from the truth these days. Not only do writers need the support of their community to improve in their craft through workshops and critique groups, they also need that same support when they step out as published writers as well. It’s quid pro quo – you come to my launch and by a copy or three of my book and I’ll come to your lauch and buy a copy or five of yours. This might be a little less relevant for those who have their first books auctioned in New York for a million dollars, but for the rest of us, it’s a matter of stepping up the steep slope one step at a time by dint of hard work, dedication and the help of writer friends.
You can’t discount the value of information either. That same network is the crucial grapevine, where news about new anthologies, new novel length publishers, or news about the change in status of closed markets arrives first.
Nowhere is this solidarity more apparent than at the most well situated bar of the SF convention. Coffee and tea are for when the bum is in the chair, alcohol when you are let out to play:)
How has your own writing community, or writing buddies, helped you as a writer?