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Writing Communities April 16, 2012

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in weekly topics, writing communities.
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Media Monday: How do you remember all of the books you’ve read? Today we’ll explore reader’s groups such as GoodReads, LibraryThing and other ways to organize reading. Take a look at how Pamela Paul, features editor and children’s books editor, of the New York Times, keeps track of the books she’s read: My Life With Bob.

Backspace Logo

Writing is a solitary endeavor. The time spent on a literary work, whether a simple haiku, a novel, or an academic text can seem endless, even with a deadline in sight. There’s hours spent alone with research, outlining, drafting and revising, followed by cycles of editing and proofing. Through the years writers have sought the camaraderie of fellow writers to help offset the solitary tendencies, for it seems no one else truly understands the misery of rejection, the triumph of acceptance, and the thrill of publication. Guilds, unions, clubs and other associations exist to provide legal assistance, support, and encouragement for writers.

Karen Dionne

This Wednesday  in #litchat we’re discussing the importance of camaraderie among writers and how to thrive in a writing community. Joining us as guest hosts on Friday, April 20, is Karen Dionne and Christopher Graham, founders Backspace, one of the top online writing communities.

I confess, I am hugely partial to Backspace. Having floundered in early online writer’s sites, I connected with Karen through one such site that had terrific reach, but dismal moderation. It was an online free-for-all, with bombastic highbrows, thinly veiled personas, and vicious trolls. But there were enough serious writers sharing their experience (or lack of), leads, advice and competent criticism to make visiting that place worth the effort. Such authors as Sara Gruen, Jon Clinch, Jackie Kessler, Heather Brewer, and many other now-published authors swam with me in that primordial pool of slush.

Christopher Graham, co-founder of Backspace

Christopher Graham

When Karen, Chris, and several others tired of the constant troll attacks and other infighting among the faithless, they banded together to create a new type of online writing forum that would have personal accountability, would be judiciously moderated, and would have a membership fee to weed out those who were not serious enough to invest in their career. Karen and Chris worked tirelessly through the end of 2003 building the initial forum which opened in early 2004 with just more than 100 members. Today, the site has more than 1,000 members and has been named by Writer’s Digest among the 101 Best Websites for Writers for several years running. Backspace also produces agent/author seminars twice yearly, as well as the annual Backspace Writers Conference.

In addition to co-founding Backspace, Karen Dionne is author of Boiling Point,an environmental thriller about an erupting volcano, a missing researcher, and a radical scheme to end global warming. Karen’s first science thriller, Freezing Point, was nominated by RT Book Reviews as Best First Mystery of 2008. Freezing Point has been published in Germany and the Czech Republic, and both novels are available in audio from Audible.com. Her short story, “Calling the Shots,” appears in the anthology First Thrills edited by Lee Child. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and the International Thriller Writers, where she serves on the board of directors as Vice President, Technology. Karen blogs at The Huffington Post and writes about the publishing industry from an author’s perspective atDailyFinance. She also reviews for The New York Journal of Books.

Christopher Graham is a former independent bookstore owner and co-founder of Backspace and The Backspace Book Promotion Network. He has written for a variety of newspapers, and his fiction has appeared in BluePrintReview.

Follow Backspace on Twitter: @bksp_org.

Follow Karen Dionne on Twitter: @KarenDionne.

Follow Christopher Graham on Twitter: @cgbackspace.