Emma arrived late, as usual, at our weekly writers’ lunch in The Blue Rooms cafe, Byram Arcade in Huddersfield. On this occasion, none of us were interested in the Perrinesque reason for her lateness because Emma was carrying the proof copy of Dining on WORDS. Our pre-lunch chatter ceased as the physical evidence of our co-labours was passed around the table to nods of approval and checks that our names were really on the back cover.
The collection was created from pieces which first appeared on this blog. The lunches, initially a way for several ex and current creative writing students from Kirklees College to stay in touch, developed into a writing group where we support and encourage each other’s works-in-progress. Over time, we could see each other’s writing develop in range and confidence. We had publication successes to share, from articles to competitions and books, fiction and non-fiction. The blog encouraged us to keep writing – and to keep lunching – because our only firm rule is that in order to post on the blog, you have to come to a lunch.
Of course, there is more to writing than just putting words on a page in roughly the right order. As a group, we developed the associated polishing and publishing skills which go with writing itself. So when one of us suggested we could produce an anthology of the Writers’ Lunch pieces in book form, it wasn’t a ridiculous idea. Between us, we had an understanding of publishing in different formats, the process of editing, copy-editing, preparing the lay-out, and commissioning a cover. We even know something about the difficult business of selling a book, building outwards from The Blue Rooms and our individual networks.
The process, from idea to publication, took five months. During that time, our lunches became business-like on occasion. There were decisions to be made and all eight authors were involved in the theme (the book is arranged like the courses of a meal) choice of pieces, title, typeface, and cover design. Three of the main courses were even written collaboratively. The hardest part? Choosing a title and the other stuff that goes on a cover. I am pleased to report we are all still friends.
Emma has co-ordinated our efforts, starting with a project plan which we actually stuck to. The book is published by Hilltop Communications, which may one day develop into Emma’s own indie publishing company, using Createspace and Amazon to produce and print the book on demand. We have each contributed £50, the largest expenditure being for a professionally executed cover and marketing materials. We aim to recoup our investment through sales. A brief spell in the Amazon top 100 chart for fiction anthologies gave us hope of that, but more importantly, the book is another step in our development as writers.
To buy a copy of the book via Amazon just click on the cover picture, or visit the Blue Rooms café. The Yorkshire Writers’ Lunch is open to new members and guest visitors. Aspiring or published writers are welcome to join us for lunch. See the ‘Contact’ page for details.