As much as one might think they write books all on their own, that belief is as far from the truth as one could imagine. Take the scenario of a single person who is ensconced in a room with a keyboard and screen – no other person in the house/apartment/etc – no employer, no fellow employees, no subordinates, no spouse, parent, child, friend, or roommate to interact with while a book is being written. That might be the stereotype for an author, but it is far from the norm. When looking closer at this scenario, we miss all the people who stand at a distance when the author is not writing – walking on the street, eating at a restaurant, rummaging through a book store or library, and the list goes on. No one exists in a vacuum.
Yet the stereotype continues to exist, fed by the ability to write and then publish without any face-to-face contact with others. Yet, there is contact – computer-mediated communication which requires another person to be on the other end, even if anonymous. So, with that point made, I want to shift to the ways we connect with other people.
Facebook has a number of groups for authors to meet with each other, virtually. Twitter allows authors to do the same using hashtags such as #WritingCommunity, #amwriting, #amediting, #wip, etc. I find Twitter to be very social when connecting with other authors using these hashtags. And then there are the friends one makes along the way. I think of Will Forest and Paul Z. Walker who share this site with me. Added to the growing friendships are other naturist authors and those who support the genre.
At some point, the connections with others lead to dialogue around one’s latest project. Some become beta readers for new works in progress. Some become cover artists. And many become a cheering audience of sorts. All become collaborators in some fashion. I have a few examples to share here.
Paul, as you likely know, has written his first Naturist Fiction novel in Dutch. I have agreed to attempt a translation of his book for those who read in English. We’ve bounced back and forth a bit with part of the first chapter. It looks like it just might work.
I have just finished writing the third novel in the René Beauchemin series, having used several of my Twitter universe friends as beta readers to help weed out inconsistencies, and so on. Now, I have another friend from Twitter who is busy working on a cover for the Naturist Fiction version of the book using the pseudonym of René Beauchemin as author of the book. A non-naturist cover is being used for the non-naturist market using my real name as author.
There are many more such collaborations that exist, sometimes so incidental that we don’t even recognise them for what they are. It’s interesting what you discover about the process when one looks closely at the dynamics between self and others as an author.