December 2013 is a very special month.
In December, the anthology Library of Dreams is coming out, a collection of short stories by various writers. All the profits are going to LitWorld, a literacy charity with projects worldwide, including STAND UP FOR GIRLS.
It is a sad fact that 523 million girls and women worldwide cannot read or write. The Stand up for Girls campaign mobilizes children and adults of all ages to advocate for every girl’s right to tell her story to change the world. By learning to read, write and share their stories, girls understand that their words have the power to create monumental change.
Who do you stand up for?
The anthology was put together by a group of people with their own lives, own jobs; very few of whom have been previously published. The anthology has been edited and designed by members of the same group, and, regardless of time zones, real-life commitments and the fact that all communication occurs online, is ready to hit the shelves.
But how did PSG Publishing come to be?
And what exactly does PSG stand for, anyway?
… and the word was Amazon.
A group of writers from the free publishing site Wattpad got together on Facebook. At first, it was just for fun, and to chat. Then we discovered that Amazon.com hosts the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award once a year, where serious writers can enter their pitches, extracts from their novels, and their full manuscripts for consideration. There were originally about eight of us who wanted to try it out, so we set up a group to help support each other through the submission process.
Together we honed our pitches, blurbs and extracts. We critiqued each other’s work honestly, tearing each other’s work to bits without tearing each other down, and through the exhausting experience of endless revisions, we came to be better writers.
It was fairly intense – everything mattered. To stand out from the thousands and thousands of entries, we had to be prepared to be told “that’s no good”, “take out that apostrophe”, “shorten that sentence”, “put that bit there”, “that doesn’t grab me… try again.” Because that’s what writing is.
We gave each other advice, encouragement and confidence.
We gave each other time, regardless of what time zone we were in.
Some of us went further in the competition than others. None of us actually won. But that didn’t matter. Once the Amazon experience was done and we had all entered, we wanted to stick together anyway.
And that was how the Publishing Support Group [PSG] was born.
Of course, PSG may also stand for Penguin Seeking Garage, or Parrot Shoots Gerbil. It may mean Private Swings Gone, or Party Saves Giraffe. Maybe it really stands for President Stuns Gathering. Not that it matters. What’s in a name, right?
Our motto comes straight from the wise words of Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist and environmental activist (because, seriously, that woman is awesome):
All of us, at some point, feel as if we’re just not good enough. But whatever makes it to the page can be edited. You can’t edit a blank page. Writing is hard! That’s why we have each other.
The first welcome message was pinned to the top of the group wall on the 27th January 2013. We are still a small but tightly-knit community with several published members, pom-pom wielding supporters and struggling writers with big dreams. One of those big dreams was to share our love of literacy with the world and give generously to a good cause.
That’s when the idea for our own group anthology came about.
Now, a year after the first thread was posted, we are raising money through the power of story under the PSG brand. We want others to experience the power of the written word, and for lives to be transformed by the gift of literacy. The theme of the anthology all but wrote itself!
Look out for the Library of Dreams, floating your way December 2013, and make someone’s dream come true.
Written by C. M. Rosens, a writer and Medieval historian living in Cardiff, Wales. She blogs at cmrosens.blogspot.co.uk.