A New Month, A New Book, A New Business
October brings new and exciting things to The Unknown Authors Club
As we enter a new month and transition to a new season, we are ushering in some new things here at The Unknown Authors Club, too. From releasing our first book to launching a new publishing business, we have a lot of incredible firsts happening around here. Read on to hear about all the new news with our humble little club.
Introducing Our New Book — Coming Oct. 11th
We can’t wait for you to meet the unknown authors who were part of this incredible project
by Leslee Stewart
On Oct. 11, 2022, The Unknown Authors Club makes history with the release of our very first book, The Life of an Unknown Author: An Anthology on Writing and Publishing from Some of the Best Authors You Haven’t Yet Read.
The book features essays by 15 different unknown authors who share their perspectives on writing and publishing, and the many lessons they are learning in anonymity. We believe there is something magical about uniting our collective stories and voices, and celebrating the beauty and grit of writing regardless of our influencer status.
Your support of our book is important. To help us, simply:
Purchase the book on Oct. 11th and write a review on Amazon. A positive review helps this book shine!
Share on social media. Take a picture of the book and share it on your social media with a link to the Amazon page. Be sure to tag us @theunknownauthorsclub so we can reshare your post!
Email your friends and family. If you have friends or family who you think would enjoy the book, please let them know! Simply email them about the book with a link to the Amazon listing.
We are hosting a book launch party on Tuesday, Oct. 11 from 5-7 p.m. at The Wanderlust Book Lounge in Bothell, Washington, just north of Seattle. If you live in the area, we would love for you to pop in, say hello, and purchase a book.
Thank you for helping us amplify the quiet voices of some of the best authors you haven’t yet read!
Pushing Back Against the Platforms
We’re launching a publishing company to help authors rise above resounding rejection
by Rachael Mitchell
I’m very interested in this project, can we please have a conversation?
Dumbfounded, I looked at the improbable response received a mere twenty minutes after I threw up a prayer and shot off an email to an experienced and well-connected literary agent asking for him to read my freshly completed book proposal. I was not expecting a quick response or his interest in my book without having to work hard to get one. And while the “yes” from the agent came swiftly, getting a publisher to respond in kind would prove to be a different matter. For over a year, my agent has shopped my project to numerous editors and publishers, and every time it’s been met with rejection. Their reason? My “lack of platform.”
“Platform” is a term used by the publishing industry to define how much reach and influence an author can leverage via social media, newsletter subscribers, and connections they might have with other literary influencers, to help reach a target audience of potential readers and thus sell books. For a publisher, the larger the platform an author has, the larger the potential for book sales. In days past, an author’s platform was built slowly through writing books, hosting a popular radio program, keynote speaking, or an occasional TV appearance. But now, the slow build of platform has been replaced with the expectation of a frenetic virality of noise, connections, and content. The rules have changed. Online influencers now make more money than the old-time theologian who has written twenty-five books. To book publishing houses today, a large platform is a more reliable foreshadowing of acceptable book sales.
In her brand-new book, Celebrities For Jesus: How Personas, Platforms, and Profits are Hurting the Church, author Katelyn Beaty takes an in-depth look at the cultural shift from slow-building platforms based on “an author’s training, experience, and ministry credentials,” to today’s authors receiving book deals and significant advances based on “a personal brand, and the endless quest for platform.” Beaty’s concern is that in a platform-focused world, “discipleship is outsourced to gurus…authentic relationship is mediated through ‘relatable’ and vulnerable storytelling…spiritual maturity is measured by the number of followers and books sold rather than by everyday integrity beyond the spotlight.” As a result, she writes further, the celebrity mindset within the American church is corroding and cheapening the transformative value it once offered.
You don’t have to be a churchgoer to see that even in mainstream media this trend of rewarding the most popular people (along with their skilled marketing team) with giant book deals will eventually erode the quality of literature available to purchase. If more individuals with personal brands and no writing skills are supplementing their income with book deals, the quality of the literature and the subjects addressed will be more insulting to people who love reading excellent writing.
Enter The Unknown Authors Club.
Leslee, Jodi, and I felt like it was high time for some pushback against this system, that’s why we’re launching our own publishing company. By amplifying the stories written by those with minuscule platforms, and, in our own way, thus declaring them worthy, we are standing our ground against the machine. We imagine ourselves as the Fearless Girl, the iconic bronze Wall Street sculpture by Kristen Visbal, standing stalwart for what is good and right instead of falling for profit and popularity.
Now, don’t get us wrong, we want our business to be profitable. We have big plans for our publishing house to discover and introduce excellent, well-written books into the world, and we want to sell a million copies of each. But we want each of our authors to start out as a “nobody” not in search of fame, but in search of a publisher who sees value in their story and appreciation for their craft.
The Unknown Authors Club will be the publisher that says, “I’m very interested in this project, can we please have a conversation?” not because they’re internet-famous, but because their story is compelling and worthy of reading.
Why Reviews Matter
Do your part to get the word out about great unknown books and their authors
by Jodi Cowles
Have you, like me, noticed that there seems to be kind of an in-crowd vibe going on with publishing these days? There are about a dozen ladies we all follow on Instagram who write, publish, and recommend each other’s books in an endless round-robin.
I’m not trying to be snarky—okay, maybe just a little—but I am expressing my frustration as a reader that I’m being recommended the same couple of books by the same several authors, over and over. It’s almost as if they all belong to the same close-knit, nepotistic, self-protective industry...oh, but shoot, there’s the snark again.
In actual fact, I don’t want to waste time bellyaching about the publishing industry. What I do want to do is ask you to join us as we here at the UAC are working hard to create a different model.
I want more great books to read and I know I’m not alone, but how do I hear about these great books without a mega-platform to break through the noise? And if someone I trust isn’t providing social credit or vetting authors for me, how do I know a book is any good? Because even though I’m one of the biggest advocates for reading unknown authors, even I don’t want to drop $10 or $15 bucks on a book I’ve never heard of until I hear from a few people telling me why I should.
That’s where you come in! We need you, our happy and satisfied newsletter readers, to write a review of our new book and help provide the vetting and social credit that our unknown authors need to be discovered by a broader audience. If our little experiment is going to flourish, we need your partnership and we need your voice, to help us amplify the tiny voices of platformless but great writers!
I’m telling you, from one book lover to another, the number one thing you can do in the current publishing climate to broaden the number of great books available for you to read, is to contribute to spreading the word about them. If you like our book and our mission, tell your friends! But also, we would ask you to go one step further and write a review of our new book so that other book lovers like you can find us.
Together we rise is our motto, but it’s also the truth. Unknown authors need readers and reviews just as much as we need fellow unknown authors. Thank you for helping amplify the light as we navigate the rough waters of the publishing industry.
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