Thursday, 12 December 2013

Short 'n' Sweet by Ann Evans

Our latest anthology
It's all been about short stories recently. Belonging to the Coventry Writers' Group, we decided to put together another anthology of our stories to publish ourselves and to have as an ebook.

Coventry Tales 2 came hot off the press last week, and the group celebrated with a launch at Waterstones last Saturday and a launch party at our main library on Tuesday evening.

We all know how isolated it can be at times when you're a writer, so its nice to belong to a group of like-minded people. Of course it doesn't always work out, but happily over the last few years our lot have really got their act together in making good use of our work.

A couple of years ago, after running a Christmas short story competition, it was decided to compile them into an anthology. Fortunately for us, one particular member is a dab hand at publishing his own non-fiction books and runs a small publishing company. (Yes, we know we're dead lucky in having him as a member!) So he (Mike Boxwell of Greenstream Publishing) was the driving force behind our efforts at getting an anthology together.
Another member of the group was a qualified proof reader and copy editor, and a friend of yet another member is an artist - who volunteered her services to do the cover - again.

For some members of the group that was the first story they had ever published, so it was quite a big deal for them. Plus we all got involved in marketing and promoting the book (definitely good practice) as well as doing some leg-work in calling in at local newsagents and other outlets to see who would like to stock the book for us. One member even went along to the Lord Mayor's office and sold him some books. Seems he was delighted to have a local Coventry book available to give away to visiting dignitaries as gifts.

That anthology Coventry Tales was followed up by a free ebook called Christmas Tales. While another industrious member entered our anthology into a national competition for anthologies – which went on to take the first prize of £250!!

As another promotional event, which was also great fun, we held a performance at a local amateur theatre. We offered it free and put on refreshments as bribes! Then more recently we indulged in a writers' group breakfast at a local pub paid for by the anthology competition prize winnings.

Naturally, we decided to repeat the whole thing, so earlier this year we ran another competition, the theme being fact or fiction and linked to Coventry. During the Coventry Literary Festival we staged another performance (with costumes) at the local theatre which was great fun. And more recently we got all the stories together again, and Mike (bless him!) has once again turned it into a lovely book.

Some of the Coventry Writers' Group rehearsing for
our anthology performance

Following a press release, local radio stations became interested in our latest escapades which resulted in invitations to two radio stations and pieces in local papers. Plus the Coventry library were again fantastic in promoting Coventry Tales 2 and letting us do a launch party, which took place on Tuesday.

Then if that's not enough about anthologies, there's another one on the go, with a totally different group. Around January last year I started up another writing course, called Focus on Fiction. It was intended as a 6-week course, and I had about 10 students. After the six weeks were over, eight of the group were enjoying themselves so much and finding it really useful and supportive, they wanted to continue meeting up – and so the course continued – and continues...

As winter approached we decided to write some short stories with a winter/Christmas theme with the intention of reading them out around Christmas. And then we had the great idea of compiling them into an anthology and producing it as an ebook.

We needed to give ourselves a name, so we played around with names before coming up with The Wordsmiths. And now Winter Tales by the Wordsmiths is about to be launched on the world via Amazon Kindle... and the group are fantastically excited about the event, and so am I.

Only two of this intrepid group have been published before, and I am so impressed by the work and effort they have all shown in writing their stories, and working hard in proof reading them, it's just been absolutely fantastic. Plus knowing they are being published has boosted their confidence in themselves as writers, that they have all visibly upped their writing so impressively that I can't wait to tell everyone about our anthology.

I've only just uploaded it on Kindle, so at the time of writing I can't give you the link. But if you're browsing at any time, please take a peep at Winter Tales by The Wordsmiths.

And my website is:


julia jones said...

Eat your heart out, Hull - city of culture

Karen said...

Sounds like you're very busy, Ann. Good luck with the Anthology. I enjoyed reading the first one. :)

Nicola Morgan said...

Inspiring, Ann! Good luck to your group.