Today – 1st April – is a very special date for The Write Romantics. It’s not because we’re fans of the April Fool’s tradition of playing practical jokes, but because it’s our anniversary and 2018 sees us celebrating a whopping FIVE YEARS together! Happy Anniversary to us!
We’ve been reflecting on where we started and how far we’ve come in that half decade and the results have been quite astonishing. We think that we’re proof to anyone wishing to pursue a dream of becoming a writer that patience and persistence pays off and that dreams can come true. More on that shortly.
This is the first in a series of posts across four days to celebrate our first five years together, starting with how it was then and how it is now ….
In the beginning…
There were two unpublished writers – Jo and Jessica – who’d met virtually through the RNA, had exchanged several emails, and decided to form The Write Romantics as a blogging duo.
It seemed like a great idea at the time and they set up a wordpress account, full of enthusiasm and started blogging. It didn’t take them long to realise that there was no way two unpublished writers were going to be able to think of enough interesting content to blog regularly so they decided to see if any other new writers would be interested in becoming Write Romantics. They thought that maybe two or three would join the group. Eight writers replied!
The line-up of ten has only changed once with Sharon Booth joining us in September 2014 when Lorraine wanted her writing to take a back seat for a while. Jessica and Alys had known Sharon for the past year and she’d been a huge supporter of the group before joining so she was a very logical choice for a replacement, already feeling like an honorary WR.
When the ten-strong line-up started, all members were in the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme and dreaming of publication. Deirdre had dipped her toe in the water with an indie release but many of us hadn’t yet finished writing our first book so that publication dream was certainly there … just quite a distant one.
Our trailblazer, Helen Phifer, had secured a publishing deal with Carina and was about to dip out of the NWS, although her debut novel hadn’t yet been released so we really were all at the very start of our journey.
Rachael Thomas was next to secure a life-long dream of being published by Mills and Boon, following success in a competition they’d run, and then it slowly but surely started happening for all of us. Late 2014 and into 2015 was a time of big change as that was when many of the WRs secured a publishing deal or released their first indie book.
Five years down the line, every single Write Romantic has had at least two novels published plus a short story included in our charity anthology, Winter Tales.
We published Winter Tales in 2014 with stories from the Write Romantics featuring alongside stories from other successful writers we’d met through the RNA. The aim was to give all proceeds from sales of the paperback or eBook to two charities close to our hearts: Teenage Cancer Trust and Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
We rebranded the anthology with a fresh new look for winter 2017/2018 and are delighted that it continues to sell.
So far, we’ve been able to send £220 to each charity but we’re about to add to this…
I am thrilled to exclusively announce that we’ve raised another £350 so cheques for £175 per charity are being written as I write this. Woo hoo!
Thank you so much to all those who contributed their stories, and to all those who’ve bought the anthology, raising £395 per charity … so far! You can buy Winter Tales here.
From that starting point of one indie book and one publishing deal in the bag, a heck of a lot has changed for the WRs over the past five years. Here’s some figures for you:
Wow! From one novel to 69 of them in five years! Woo hoo again!
Over the next few days, I’ll be posting some thoughts from The Write Romantics about what they’ve learned over the past five years, and also sharing some photos as our group of geographically-dispersed strangers became friends.
I’ll finish this post with an enormous thank you to anyone who has downloaded an eBook, listened to an audio book, borrowed a book from Amazon’s lending library, or purchased any of the books/novellas/short stories/pocket novels the group have produced. We wouldn’t have been able to do this without you.
I’m off to raise a glass of something bubbly to celebrate. To be fair, it will probably be a Diet Pepsi as it’s a little early to partake, but the thought will be there!
Happy anniversary, Write Romantics!