The last few years have been terrific ones for the T Party, the London writing group I’ve belonged to since I can’t remember when (about 15 years – I think). Web sites always need more work, so I decided a nice way to celebrate would be to make up some banners of all the novels published by current members as page headers.
This one highlights my books, there’s a different one for every writer with published books, presented randomly as you navigate.Looking at them like that made me realise how far we’d come. The current group has a total of twenty novels, collections, and anthologies. Included there are the three anthologies the group has published over the years. The latest one, Mind Seed, is hot off the press, and I think it’s terrific. Although I would say that, being one of the two editors, it’s the stories that make an anthology, and they come from the writers.
So, twenty, and that’s not counting all the short story sales – I’ve no idea how many of those there are, but there must be hundreds (Thirty from me alone, how did that happen?). And it’s also not counting former members such as Aliette de Bodard, and Tom Pollock (who launched Our Lady of the Streets, the third book in his Skyscraper Throne series this week).
Most of this has happened in the last three to four years – with at least another year before that with the authors working with their agents and publishers on various projects. And as any writer will tell you, before any of that, before the day when the Man or Woman say ‘Yes’, before contracts are signed, and before anything gets published, there are also years, and sometimes decades, of hard work beforehand.*
When the group first started, there were a handful of keen and bright-eyed young hopefuls. When I joined I knew three-quarters of fuck-all about publishing, and only slightly more about writing. The group grew, it shrank, it grew again. We learned, we got better. Now we have 35 members, nine of whom have published novels, and fair few more have agents.
It’s been a good few years, and there’s more to come. Huzzah!
And yes, we’re always open for new members.
* Agreed, things are different today. If you want, you can self-publish the first thing your ever write. That is a good thing in some ways, not so good in others. That’s a different conversation to the Traditional vs Sel-publishing conversation, and equally important. Two big conversations, both very interesting, and they are not over. Whatever you think, there’s room for both ways. There always was.