Triskele Books - writers' collective

31 January 2014 / Leave a Comment

Triskele Books is a writers’ collective and their motto is ‘Going it alone, together.’ I wanted to find out more about how a writers’ collective works …

How did Triskele Books come about?
The five of us first met via an online writing group. Our individual aims were the same: to become better writers. Through mutual support, constructive criticism and enthusiastic encouragement, our writing improved. However, our prospects of publication looked bleaker than ever.

Rapid changes in the world of publishing made agents and editors reluctant to take risks. So bookstores filled their shelves with celebrity memoirs and safe bets, such as proven bestsellers. Understandable. But very depressing.

At the other end of the spectrum was the self-published book, whose reputation left much to be desired. So many examples were poorly put together, with homemade covers, amateur typesetting and frequently full of errors. We’d put so much work into the content, we couldn’t let ourselves down by shoddy presentation.

December 2011 - we met in London to discuss a middle way: publishing top quality books without compromising on content or presentation, and at the same time, retaining control over our material. That became a writers’ collective: Triskele Books.

Please tell us a little about how the collective operates?
Triskele is not a publishing company. It’s a writers’ platform which enables us to harness our skills and networks. It’s also a brand. Location is a vital feature of all our books. So Triskele stands for three things: high quality writing, professional presentation and a strong sense of place.

We all work as editors of each other’s material, ensuring the books meet our self-imposed standards. We hire a proofreader, get a professional cover designed, and operate as a marketing team. Each of us owns the rights to our own work, but we chip in equally to the running costs of the collective.

As for decisions, we try to reach a consensus. Communication is not always easy across three countries and two time zones, but it is essential.

You have recently published a book about the Triskele Books journey, The Triskele Trail, what can other writers learn from this book?
When we started out on our publishing journey, pioneering authors and small presses were very generous with their expertise. Two years and fourteen books later, we’d learned a thing or two ourselves and wanted to pass that on. So, with a little help from our friends, we collated all our independent publishing knowledge into one useful volume. The Triskele Trail is not a How-To book, but How-We-Did-It.

It’s got information on ISBNs, peer critique sites, eBooks and print books, research resources, details on how to plan a launch party, legal deposit, getting reviews, interviews with editors, a design terms glossary and lots more. It also contains details of how publishing differs in other places in Europe.

Since that first meeting in London, we’ve not looked back. We have enthusiastic readers and eager future members; we’re achieving superb sales and great reviews; we’ve now got an agent for translation rights; we’re in demand for speaking engagements and literary festivals; we’re all members of The Alliance of Independent Authors, (ethics and excellence in independent publishing); and we’re collecting an array of awards, seals and badges of quality. But most importantly of all, we’re still writing. Our next three books will be released this summer.


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