• Chris OBrien

Introducing Long Overdue Writing Groups

We've been thinking a lot about the different ways people publish (or don't publish) their writing. We wanted to identify what these different writing categories are, what obstacles a person might run into in each group, and then create unique ways for Long Overdue to help.

We came up with four categories for writing/publishing.

  • Writing in private - Journal/diary, personal notes. "For your eyes only."

  • Writing for friends/family - Letters. Posts on Facebook/LinkedIn/Instagram. Memoir/biography.

  • Self-Publishing or Hybrid Publishing - Putting a book out there on Amazon.

  • Traditional Publishing - Landing a literary agent, landing a traditional publisher. Getting your book in bookstores, airports. Maybe pursuing a film/TV deal. The main difference here is someone is paying you to publish your work whereas self and hybrid publishing the writer takes on the publishing costs.

Writing in private or writing for friends/family - One of the challenges for this group might be coming up with new ideas. Avoiding writer's block. This is why we'll be releasing a book of story prompts in the next couple of months and we'll continue to publish new versions (for example: "Writing about your childhood," "Family Stories," "Writing about the hard times").

And while we don't have a traditional publishing arm, we've created Long Overdue Books as a way for writers to share chapters of their work, build an audience, all while pursuing their traditional publishing goals. We'll also keep sharing information on various sites like Wattpad and Bookboro who have a similar setup for aspiring authors. And we are more than happy to share lists of literary agents and different publishers to consider.

But the self-publishing group was always the hardest one to figure out in terms of how Long Overdue could be of assistance. Was it helping with editing, cover design, book formatting? Should we set up videos for how to use Amazon KDP? Should we create our own self-service site, maybe get in touch with a local printer?

While all of these things are helpful, we think it still misses a major problem self-published authors face.

The problem is this feeling that your book is just a needle in an enormous haystack out there on Amazon.com. There are so many titles, literally millions of other self-published books, how does yours stand out in the crowd? Is there any way for Long Overdue to help?

We found our answer at a local bookstore. Right there by the front counter was a table marked as being for local authors. Some were self-published, others traditional, others hybrid. But they were grouped together with other local authors and had a much better shot at being picked up vs. being somewhere else on the various shelves.

People like reading local authors. We like having our town be part of the story. We like knowing the author went to our same high school. The book may still only sell 10, 20, 50 copies, but there's a deeper connection being made between the author and the local community.

So here's what we're going to do, we are setting up Long Overdue writing groups. Our way of creating those local author tables.

We're starting with three groups.

  • Writers of Lakeview, Chicago

  • Alumni of Hope College

  • Authors of Traverse City, Michigan

Our hope is these groups can become more than just ways to group local books/authors together. We'd love to see these morph into little writing communities. Maybe people join as writers, others as editors. Artists hop in to help with cover designs, photographers for back-of-the-book author photos. Maybe writers start meeting up at coffee shops to write together or share ideas. We're excited to see what these Long Overdue writing groups become.

And if you'd like to create your own group, let us know and we'll get one set up on Long Overdue. We think doing it by location or something like "Alumni of" works out really well but if you want to start something like, "Sci-Fi writers" or "Children's book authors," hey, why not! We'd love to be a part of that.

Excited to see where this goes. If you'd like to join the new groups above or form a new one, just email us at library@longoverduestories.com

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