Thursday, 25 February 2010

Fire Petal Books - Making A Dream Come True

One of the many side-effects of doing the authonomy thing for me has been my membership of a shadowy cabal of revolutionary, anarchist and even occasionally just normal writers from around the world who have kept in touch over the past year and more, generally swapping edits, news, information, help and assistance and quite a lot of 'there there's too.

One of us, US based editor and writer of young adult books Michelle Witte, recently announced to the group that she was going to open a bookshop. She'd had something of a road to Damascus moment and decided that this was what she wanted to do more than anything else - a community bookshop aimed at young people in Utah, a space where reading and books, teaching and community mattered more than the chain-store big business shareholder-driven push for profit.

To my absolute delight, she didn't stop at announcing what she was up to. She set about making it happen with blinding speed. She set up a Kickstarter project, a Facebook page, a Twitter feed and a website, Fire Petal Books.Oh, and a YouTube channel as well!

And then she cast around for people to help with donating items for an auction to help her fund the startup costs - coming up with a list of authors, literary agents, editors and others that is pretty impressive to say the least, including Neil Gaiman, Chris Cleave and many others. Agents and editors, including two editors from Harper Collins have offered manuscript critiques and even a 15-minute phone call! 15 minutes on the phone to a Harper Collins editor is pretty stunning - especially given that HC will only look at agented authors, let alone talk to writers who aren't signed.

Now Michelle's auction is on - you can find details and bid on stuff here. You'll currently need more than $100 to bid for Neil Gaiman's signed copy of Beowulf, but don't let that stop you. She's got stories running on her in Publisher's Weekly and book trade e-publication Shelf Awareness and there's more to come.

I have the feeling that this is one lady whose dream is going to come true. It just goes to show, doesn't it? All you need is guts, determination and the new tools of the online world!


Oussama said...

WOW, I wish I had her guts, all the best to Ms. Witte. She certainly advocates a quality that has been lost over the years, reading books. But who knows maybe kids will be in her bookshop reading e-books off a kindle

Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist! said...

Wonderful news. I wish her all the best!

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