Together, we make one hell of a team.
The motivation behind the birth of Triskele came after a series of online conversations over a few months, culminating in a meeting in a posh London hotel to decide if this idea really had legs. We'd known each other online for about six years and although we lived in different countries, we were all firm friends, comfortably part of a closed critique group, Writing Asylum.
It became clear we'd all reached a similar level with our writing: of a publishable standard or not far away. Gillian and Liza both had agents who were putting in a lot of time and effort into not getting deals, while Jill banged her head against the agent wall, facing excuses from ‘the economy’ to ‘the writing’s too cerebral’. Traditional publishing seemed to think we were too risky.
That's where the idea started. If Jill wanted to be cerebral, Gillian wanted to cross genres between crime and paranormal, and Liza to tell the story she wanted to tell about revolutionary France - then we’d have to go it alone.
Alone but also as part of a team of six.
From the off, we were determined our brand would shout quality. We did not want to be associated with the poor image of self-publishing that had given us all serious doubts for many years. So, from our website to our promotional material, from our editing to our interviews, everything would be shared, agreed, proofed, reproofed and then checked again. Nothing would represent Triskele without being seen and vetted by people whose talent and commitment we trusted. Thanks to the remarkable creative design skills of one of our members, Jane Dixon Smith, we had one huge box ticked.
Having a team hell-bent on the highest standards is what has made Triskele Books a success. It's early days, and we are only just about to launch our first three books - Behind Closed Doors by Jill Marsh; The Charter by Gillian Hamer and Spirit of Lost Angels by Liza Perrat - but already we have one eye on the future. Second books are planned, taking new writers onboard is under discussion, and being able to publish what we want to write rather than what suits the current marketplace is what drives us forward.
We have put in a tremendous amount of work, both in getting the books to the best they can possibly be, and the endless rounds of networking, promotion and online publicity required to spread the Triskele word.
But there is already a huge sense of satisfaction that we have turned negatives into positives, and instead of feeling sorry for ourselves and letting our books stagnate on a hard drive, we are doing it our way. This is probably the biggest motivation for each of us – actually seeing a book we love and which has been such an intrinsic part of our lives out there in print and looking damn fine.
And for any other writer in a similar position, if you're lucky enough to be surrounded by people you respect and trust enough to be in business with (and be clear this is very much a business commitment) then give it a go. Sharing the workload whilst retaining the profits, not to mention the invaluable support in the highs and lows of being a writer, make collectives a truly viable option for future publishing decisions.
Guest Post By Gillian Hamer, one of the Triskele authors. Gillian, Jill and Lisa are now, all three, members of ALLi. For more information about their titles, launching this weekend, contact Triskele Books.