UPDATE: The Writers' Collective is currently unavailable, but this article still provides interesting information about how Thinklings got started and about our values, skills, and experience.
Thinklings Books was originally started as a writing group. We three founders knew that writing, especially in the day of social media disconnect, was a lonely career. In addition to the solitude, writers (unlike companies with many—or even a few—employees) don’t have other people’s skills and strengths to fall back on when our own don’t suffice.
At the time, in addition to writing my own books, I ran a ghostwriting company. I am not an amazing line editor and am a terrible proofreader, so I ended up having to hire those skills out. First, that meant I had to actually find someone who was better than I in those areas. It’s surprising how many line editors out there had only about the same skill level as I did. It also meant that I had to use a significant portion of my profits to have proofreading and cover design done.
I found Deborah almost a decade ago when I hired her to edit my first novel. It took me a while to find an editor who gelled with me and my style and was terrific and didn’t charge me $10,000 to edit the book. I held on to her tightly and eventually, we—along with my fantastic proofreader and longtime friend, Sarah—started a writing group.
I’ve learned that, unlike many writers, I am skilled at the marketing and business aspects of writing, something I channeled into a career as a literary consultant. This, along with my overdeveloped large-scale developmental editing skills, meant I had something to offer Sarah and Deborah that was as valuable to them as their proofreading and editing skills were to me.
If you want to find out more about the founding of Thinklings, you can read some of our other posts here and here, but this post is about the community that we formed, and about how community is such an integral part of the human experience that it’s hardwired into our DNA.
Thinklings Books’ goal is to publish high-quality writers, regardless of their platform, but the MOST important part of that mission has to start with community. What many writers and others who aren’t familiar with marketing don’t realize is that marketing is all about connection. The more authentic a connection, the better. Being part of an active, thriving community makes writers better. It helps them promote, rely on, and learn from one another.
Thinklings writers alone, along with us, could certainly form an exclusive community. We could shut the gates and say, “Well, you aren’t one of us”—or even the conceited “You aren’t good enough for us”—“so you can’t learn from us.”
But that sounds too elitist to us, and too like the traditional publishers’ mantra of “We don’t care about you if you don’t have a good marketing platform.” And we don’t believe in that. So while we may not have the ability to publish everyone who sends us their manuscript, we can offer everyone a community in which they can thrive.
At first, we had only The Readers’ Collective [now called Thinklings' Thoughts]. And this has been a smash hit, but it’s not geared toward writers, and it doesn’t try to be a “matchmaker” for the readers. We aren’t introducing all our thousands of readers to each other.
But we do want to introduce our writers, so we put our heads together and came up with the writers’ version—conveniently named The Writers' Collective. It’s currently in its testing phase and open to all writers. Here’s what we decided, based on polls of writers, to include in The Writers’ Collective.
1. Up-to-date news and information that will affect writers
Did Amazon change important KDP information yet again? What new war is being waged between traditional publishers, bookstores, and libraries? Where are the small publishers that accept unsolicited manuscripts? What hashtags are authors using on Twitter?
2. Short how-to videos on topics important to writers
Each week we will upload new videos from CEO Deborah Natelson. How do I approach a literary agent? How do I edit my own work? What can I do to increase my number of Facebook followers? How do I find beta readers?
3. A private group
Hive Queen Ali Chehab will be actively moderating a group for chatting, sharing tips and troubles, and asking for opinions on WIPs and query letters. This is a place where you can connect with other writing professionals on a daily or weekly basis to not feel so alone and to make important connections. No need to wait for admin to approve questions. An active moderator will ensure no abuse takes place.
4. A list of proven resources and links
These include cover designers; advertising specialists; reviewers; local bookstores; our Ex Libris Thinklings Books line of publishing, editing, and marketing resource books; sneak peeks at our blogs; and much more.
5. Regular courses and webinars with live access to help
We’ll be holding 60-minute courses and webinars that you can sign up for without extra charge. Space will be limited, and right now we’re only going to be doing about one per month. Topics range from platform building to spotting scams and unethical companies targeting writers. You’ll have a workbook and access to the executive staff, who will answer questions. Best of all, you’ll get complete access to all our content all at once—no drip-feeding or upselling so you can get the real content. It’s already at your fingertips.
While we’re working out the kinks and starting up, we’re only charging $10 per month. In addition to getting a reduced price, being in on the ground level means you get to help shape The Writers’ Collective. We’re looking for feedback, and we’d like yours.
We’re also offering the entire first week for free. That means you can take a look and if it doesn’t suit you, you can cancel at any time in the first week and not be charged.
We’ve designed The Writers’ Collective to give you the biggest bang for your buck, which means we’ll continually update information and options. We know writers have limited money and time. That means our goal is to be as affordable as possible and to make the information you need as easily accessible as possible, so you don’t spend hours surfing the internet to get it . . . only to find that info is out-of-date or inaccurate. You have something better to be doing: writing.
And that’s it: $10 a month for access to everything. No hidden fees or upsells for bigger, better products. No secret areas that require extra. No pushing to publish with Thinklings. No worries about copyright infringement.
*Like most internet companies, we do have ads on the pages and the occasional affiliate link in our blog. However, ours are incredibly unobtrusive. Your web browser won’t crash from the sheer amount of ads.
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