Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Better with Friends

Alethea Black, Michelle Toth, Celine Keating at Medi (photo by Miguel Rocha)
Months ago, my friend Alethea Black emailed me asking if I'd like to join up with her and another writer friend, Celine Keating, on a project to document our individual paths to publication (Alethea's book of stories was the most traditional, through Broadway Books/Random House, Celine's debut novel was to be published by a small press, and I was self-publishing). What emerged was a highly enjoyable months-long process of comparing notes and interviewing each other and writing and editing to produce a non-fiction article on our varied experiences leading up to our publication dates, which were all within a couple of months of each other.  That piece was subsequently accepted by Poets & Writers, and will be published this month.  Along the way we agreed that it would be fun to pitch our threesome to other venues, and we will be reading together at the Cornelia Cafe in NYC on July 6th.  Easily as important as these wonderful outcomes has been the cameraderie of collaborating with fellow writers on a shared mission to connect with readers and other writers, and I've seen this approach work beautifuly for other groups of writers who were debuting at the same time. I highly recommend finding 2-3 other writers with books coming out in close succession to act as a built-in support system for the inevitable questions and issues as well as opportunities that arise.

PS: Recently, Alethea, Celine and I met at Medi restaurant to plan our Cornelia reading and to take a photo that we could use in the promotional materials. We were planning, by necessity, to use our low-tech cameras and make due, but when we arrived at the restaurant, we found Miguel Rocha, of Medi, taking photographs, and discovered he is a photographer. Miguel took several pictures for us. What serendipity! One of my favorites is posted above.

Alethea's book of stories: I Knew You'd Be Lovely
Celine's novel: Layla

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