Dreaming of Becoming an Author? You're Not Alone.

independent publishingIt took us a while to get here.

David and I started Collective Inkwell nearly a year ago, though without a clear direction or defined sense of purpose. Like two thrill-seekers without a map, yet thirsty for adventure, we set out with our packs, eager for the open road and curious to see where the new domain would take us.

We wanted to write, that much we knew even without a compass. Did I mention we forgot the compass? Well we did, and we were short on supplies as well. But that didn’t matter. We had dreams.

My favorite feature of the earliest Inkwell, and the only deeply rooted part of our plan, was the serialized story we ran with a fresh installment every Friday. Available Darkness wasn’t just a genre bending thriller which finished off each week with a surprising cliffhanger, it was an opportunity to write fiction with the best creative partner I’ve ever had, while taking a break from the SEO, web copy and general administration which occupied the majority of my hours.

Throughout the Inkwell’s life, Available Darkness has always been the constant.

It was mid-summer when we first realized the fundamental flaw with the Inkwell. What was it that truly made it special? We had Available Darkness, sure, but that story could and would be resting on its own domain. We had our personalities, but our main fan base, some of who had followed us from our primary sites, could get that by following Blogger Dad, Writer Dad or both. We offered writing advice and general thoughts on creativity, but so did a million other sites on the web, and many of them much better than us. I have a tendency to focus on theory or lingering thought, rather than the tangible lists with actionable items most people are looking for. Dave tends to be shy about discussing the many things which make him truly exceptional.

Besides, even at our best, we were discussing writing and creativity without a context. That’s like tossing our coats into the corner of the room, expecting them to hang in mid-air without a hook.

Yet the glue was strong, even when adhering to something uncertain. We continued to pour heart and soul into Available Darkness while allowing the rest of the site to run on auto-pilot while we searched for its true purpose. We continued to write every day, forever engaged in endless discussion, stoking our dreams and abundance of ideas.

Once Ghostwriter Dad started to do well, David and I had the opportunity to start the migration away from web copy and closer to our dreams by helping budding authors fine tune their books before sending them to publishers or off to print. At the same time, I finished off the manuscript for the children’s book I’d been working on, “Penny to a Million”

Dave designed the book cover, of course, along with the interior art. We worked on the page layout together, bought our ISBN numbers and registered the work with the Library of Congress. We then set a release date and sent the file to the printer.

Though this process was no different than what we would do for a client, doing it for ourselves left a 1.21 jiggawatt lightbulb lingering over our heads.

We finally knew what we wanted to do with our online lives and had the perfect direction for our Collective Inkwell. Everything we had shared with one another over the last year could help others. All we had to do was sit down and start to articulate.

Moving a book from the inner corridors of the mind to the rolling paper of a printing press is the most vehement dream of many an author. Yet the process is difficult, peppered with trial and error and an awful lot of loneliness. Had Dave and I not found the perfect silent partner in each other, we would likely still be resting heads on restless pillows, wondering if our dreams were really worth chasing. Instead, we have built a quickly growing independent publishing house together. We have a full roster of titles going to print for 2010, in addition to the many authors whose dreams we are helping to fulfill.

It may have taken the Inkwell a year to find itself, but it was for the best. Had David and I not spent the last year taking the time needed to discover what it means to have a perfect partner, we would not be nearly as equipped to be the silent partners standing quietly behind our clients.

We hope to share all we know with you.

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23 responses to Dreaming of Becoming an Author? You're Not Alone.

    • Sean

      Thanks, Wendi! We couldn’t be more excited. 2009 was a year of learning, 2010 will be one of doing.

  1. Dave

    I love the new direction for the Inkwell. I confess I’ve had some trouble with AD but only because I don’t enjoy the genre and in truth, that kept me away from the Inkwell. You and David are talented and incredibly helpful – I should know, I’ve been on the receiving end.

    • Sean

      I completely understand. Sometimes, when I find something that’s way too awesome for me, I climb under the covers and cry like a little girl too. Don’t feel bad though, we’ll eventually write a story about rainbows and butterflies. Now that we know how you feel, we might even throw in a unicorn or two. : )

    • David Wright

      Dave – Sorry, the minute we start writing in your genre, Historical Romance/Soccer Fiction in which all the characters are dragons, we’ll let you know. 🙂

      • Dave

        Let me know when you start writing about My Little Ponies and then I’ll be here like a shot.

      • Sean

        We’re gonna write a story about a renegade group of My Little Ponies who are sent somewhere over the rainbow to destroy a raging population of vampire bunnies. It’s a bit of us and a bit of you. What do you think?

      • Sean

        No, these are like the miniature lop-eared bunnies you keep in a cage by the bed for “emergencies.”

  2. Corey - Simple Marriage

    Awesome. Love the new look and feel as well as focus. I’ll be sure to use you guys before my first best-seller comes out. That way, if you both buy the book later, I’m guaranteed at least 7 book sales – hello money!

    • Sean

      LOL, awesome Corey. Thanks for the compliments, and yeah, the design is awesome but I think the focus is even better.

  3. Emma Newman

    Wow! What a shock – no, that sounds negative – what a delightful surprise! I *love* the new look and am thrilled to hear of the new direction, it sounds perfect. The way you write about it with such calm and confidence only confirms to me that this has all fallen into place now.

    Rock on! 2010 is going to be one helluva year!

  4. Cynthia Schuerr

    I am loving the new look of the site and the direction of your focus. I can’t wait until I am into my final draft of my novel. Your hard work and confidence has given me total trust in you to make all of dreams come true. 🙂

    Congrats on new beginnings in 2010.

  5. Rolling Portfolio | Ghostwriter Dad

    […] make an old story new at the beginning of the week, relaunching the Inkwell into a site which helps authors get their books to print, just as both David and Sean will soon be doing with Available Darkness, the latest chapter which […]

  6. Lori

    I found your sites recently and am blown away. I love the sites’ designs, your approach to partnership, and the writing styles at your sites.

    Thanks for the time you have put in to helping others with their writing – it’s amazing to see your passion convert to something so amazing.

    Here’s to your wild success (and I hope to work with you two someday very soon)!
    ~xo
    Lori

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