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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Guilt - or Excellence? - By Association

A couple of odd things have happened recently, confusing Abilene Writers Guild and Silver Boomer Books. The truth is they're absolutely separate. Now, historically, SBB is tied to AWG. Ginny Greene and I hatched the idea of doing a couple of anthologies in line for the meal at the October 2006 AWG Workshop and Luncheon. We recruited writing friends of ours, asking folks in and out of AWG, and went to work, getting manuscripts from Indonesia to England. The next year in October, again at the Workshop and Luncheon, we met with a potential publisher for the first book and shortly after (about Thanksgiving) decided to be publishers rather than "just" editors. It's not as though we're not close to AWG -- of the three current partners in SBB, Ginny and I are both past presidents, past newsletter editors, and active participants, and Becky, living eight-hundred miles away, is a member. We dedicated our third anthology, This Path, in part "with particular appreciation to the fellowship of Abilene Writers Guild, and in tribute to founder Juanita Daniel Zachry, April 6, 1917 - July 29, 2008." Many of our contributing authors know us, hear our progress, and come from the ranks of AWG. If you google the SBB website, the only mention of AWG is in bios. Which brings us to this week's surprises.

First was a call from an out-of-state author published in two of our anthologies. He'd asked if we'd look at a manuscript, and said he was sending it by snail mail rather than electronically to show us some layout and other features. I'd forgotten the conversation, though I immediately remembered it when he called this week. He had mailed the package and sent it priority mail -- to the AWG PO box. Which, unfortunately, had a lapse and had some mail returned, his included. He also called Barbara Darnall, the president of AWG, to ask about it, and she gave him my number. I'm so sorry this happened, and amazed, since all three of our websites have a mailing address (and now a physical address). I thought they had my cell phone number, but they don't. Anyway, it was a puzzlement, and I felt sorry for him in having sent it and not gotten a prompt answer because of the mail box mix-up.

Then yesterday, I got an inquiry about why, in the AWG newsletter, there was not in the "Brags and Sags" a brag that a member had a piece accepted for the upcoming anthology The Harsh and the Heart -- Celebrating the Military. Well, I have through this week's issue edited the newsletter, and yes, we typically count up the AWG members when they are represented in a book published by us when that book's publication is announced -- but we're not in charge of turning in brags we know about from being on the other side of the contract. So I was surprised and somewhat amused.

But on another side, it does show how we're perceived by people states are cities away from us as being the same entity. I have in the past been critical of another city where the leaders of the writing association were publishing and seemed to be using the group to push the publishing company. So am I guilty of that? No. I don't think so. I'm quite sure the name of SBB and of the principals appear no more often in the newsletter than some of the other actively writing members. But it is a wake-up call for me of the need to always, in every situation, serve well well the entities I am representing as well as those people may perceive to be.

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