Monolithic (the Xan Whittle edit)

This article was edited with help from Xan Whittle, a member of the Creative Writers’ Facebook group. The original can be found at journal.media/monolithic. If you like the changes they made, check out quill & ink consultancy.

A few months ago, I received a Facebook notification that one of the writing groups I was a member of was about to be deleted unless I would like to become an admin. It had no admin and only 32 members. That group was Creative Writers.

Normally, I’d ignore such notifications. If I wanted to make a name for myself as a writer, I couldn’t afford to take on the responsibility of safeguarding a growing online community. I had too much to do already. Between writing my Sci-Fi series, Hermes925, maintaining my authorial presence online and looking for paid writing opportunities, where could I possibly find the time?

Perhaps it was because of the name. My favourite classes in school were the Creative Writing classes. To this day, my best stories are written the way my teachers at St. James’ Junior School taught me to write. You always need to know the beginning, the middle (or muddle) and the end before you even start the rough draft.

The fact that almost every writing group I was in wouldn’t let you post links to your stories was definitely a factor. I wanted to start my own group that encouraged open discussion of your work-in-progress. Posting links without participating regularly in discussion would result in you being labelled a spammer.

Amongst these other reasons, the opportunity to create a haven for writers lead me to my final decision of filling the role. With a little help from my writer friends, I got by, and Creative Writers flourished. We have now reached 6,308 members, and we’re still growing! It is a bustling hub where writers of all genres seek advice, information and encouragement.

One of the ways we’re encouraging members to discuss their writing (and thus, often, write more) is by offering our members an opportunity. This was also inspired by the way that other Facebook groups, writing contests, and vanity press sites did things. I wanted to provide a writing opportunity that I, as a writer myself, would be excited to participate in. So, after in-depth consideration, I produced from my figurative sleeve; The Monolith Anthology.

The Monolith Anthology would not charge a submission fee, or have any other hidden costs. It also wouldn’t bear an iota of resemblance to the endless slick of hideously overproduced, poorly written self-published work. Regardless of the level of technical skill, the books I’m referring too are clearly written too quickly and solely for financial gain. Monolith would be as grand, epic and magnificent as its name implied, and would also be priced appropriately. Too many books devalue themselves. I wanted to be able to pay my writers well, and know that the book will sell. I want to produce something that I know will blow away all who read it, drive them to enthuse about it to their friends.

We’ve already begun receiving short-story submissions for the anthology and the quality of writing we’re receiving is impressive. By the time submissions close on August 31st, we could easily have a book at least 2 inches thick, packed full of some of the best short stories you have ever read. We originally planned for a finished product by January 2018, but I think we can do much better than that. The sooner we get it out there, the sooner we can start work on volume 2!

In order to secure the success of this endeavour as much as success can be secured, I aim to encourage pre-orders, sponsorship, crowdfunding and donations in order to fund the project and allow me and the other admins to work on this full time. With the Creative Writers‘ shared passion for writing, and my own background in business and marketing, this challenge is well within our repertoire.

The way I see this story ending is with over a hundred success stories from every author whose careers we’ve helped to launch, each with a range of books published by the Creative Writers’ Press; writers that were all valued members of the best creative writing community around.

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