A big publisher, Del Rey, a branch of Random House, had a bright, new, shiny idea. How about gathering all the wannabe authors into an online workshop and setting up a monthly editor’s choice? The winner might get published in their brand new ebook scheme.
And so it came to pass that a multitude of us wannabe authors were gathered together in the Online Writers Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy. We learned a lot and we also made lifelong friends. Of course, all good things come to an end, and the publishing house decided not to continue with its ebooks at that time so had no use for sponsoring loads of wannabe writers. However, writers won’t be put down and the site was organized to operate without the publisher, although we all now had to pay. It didn’t matter. What price can a person put on the ability to talk to another genre writer about the problems on their manuscript? And so we thrived.
In the fullness of time a goodly number of the veteran members have been published, including myself. I have a special shelf for their books, signed or not. I have read them all in various stages before the paperback ever came to my hands, but it doesn’t matter. I could read these books over and over and over. They are old friends, familiar and comfortable, as well as thrilling. Looking up at this shelf I can see my author friends from all over the world. Now that is one heck of a buzz. Of course, anyone can pull up a picture of one of us from their website, or Amazon, or Goodreads, etc. This thing is we can pull up memories, conversations, trials and tribulations as well as the photo of the person. It might be a friend at distance, but this is still very much a friend. There is very little as personal as sharing a raw manuscript between fellow authors.