So what are you going to be doing?
The intention is to promote the literature of the fantastic to new readers, reluctant readers, and established readers who have not yet investigated contemporary fantasy. We will seek to raise the profile of fantasy writing within the media; in bookshops; in libraries; in schools; at writersí circles and reading groups; at conferences, conventions and literary festivals. We will give readings, talks and lectures; we will run workshops, and participate in panels and question & answer sessions. Activities like this have become very much a part of the novelistís job in recent years, but generally on an individual and haphazard basis. By pooling our skills, resources and experience, we believe we can have a more significant effect.
Isn't this just about selling more books?
Yes, but not in the way you think. We would hope to benefit individually, through increased sales of our own titles, but it is important to us to promote other writers and the genre as a whole. The last ten years have seen dramatic changes in the book trade, to the point where the commercial imperative is to sell ever more copies of ever fewer books; range is sacrificed to turnover, and the same titles are promoted in the same discount offers throughout the trade. Bestsellers thrive, and everyone else suffers.
We mean to counter this trend by bringing readers in past the discount tables and the bestseller charts, to the shelves where much of the most interesting in contemporary writing can be found. Itís true of all genres, including Ďliterary fictioní, but fantasy in particular tends to be labelled and dismissed; we need to persuade journalists, booksellers, librarians and readers that itís not all Tolkien and Terry Pratchett, nor indeed all Harry Potter. There is adult and literary fiction to be found under the fantasy imprints, and we intend to bring it to the fore.
It's certainly an interesting idea. Who came up with it?
Actually, this kind of collaborative initiative has been pioneered by crime writers such as The Murder Squad and The Unusual Suspects. Those authors as well as libraries and literary festivals have found it a worthwhile approach.
Are you now joined at the hip or have you all undergone some kind of Vulcan mindmeld?
Neither. We all continue to work as independent authors and to do different events and conventions individually. This joint initiative is something we're doing in addition.
And contacting us doesn't commit you to having all of us along. The line up can be arranged depending on what your requirements are, and indeed, who's available.
You're presumably not doing this for free?
Naturally, we'll continue to attend science-fiction conventions, as well as fan and bookshop events, on the customary self-financing basis, unless specifically invited to attend as guests with expenses-paid status.
When we're providing our professional services, we think it's reasonable to charge professional fees and have our travel costs covered. Rates are negotiable depending on the event, the organisation behind it, how many there are of us and what exactly we're doing. Contact us to discuss your requirements and your resources.
And this is it, is it, the nine of you?
Not necessarily. Depending on the occasion, you might well find someone else from our extensive acquaintance among SF&F writers with us. Equally, we'll be happy to come along and join in the fun at other events. We're not setting ourselves up as some exclusive cabal.
Sounds great! How do I join?
Sorry but we're keeping the group small for ease of coordination and liaison. If this changes, we'll be discussing among ourselves who to invite to join us. That said, we'll be happy to share our experiences with any other groups of genre writers curious to learn how we're getting on.
Contact us via email@example.com .