But that’s a good thing!
What happens when you put 30 authors together in one publishing house, then give them a key?
Are you kidding me?
They find devious ways to use it, of course.
What happens when they decide to collaborate to write a story together?
They plan an Escapade and take over their publisher’s blog.
And that’s exactly what’s happening.
In an industry first, thirty authors signed to Escape Publishing have come together to write one contemporary romance, 200 words at a time, over thirty consecutive days from Valentine’s Day to March 15.
It’s part Pass the Parcel, part Chinese Whispers, part Build a Bear and all original.
The authors agreed the Escapade story would be based on a meet-cute, told third-person from the heroine’s point of view and would be made available free for readers episodically.
Despite the fact the authors write everything from suspense to space opera they’ve chosen to stick squarely to a contemporary love story. There’s no erotica, paranormal or historical, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be scary moments, comedy, underdressed characters or um—handcuffs.
“It’s a huge amount of fun but there’s also pressure to be true to the existing story, carry it forward so it develops and contribute something fresh,” said Alissa Callen, What Love Sounds Like.
The story was kicked off by erotica and contemporary author Rhian Cahill, Valentine’s Dates, and will roll across the desks of authors across Australia as well as in New Zealand, Fiji, the United States and the United Kingdom. All but four of the authors are RWA Australia members.
None of the authors know what’s been written prior to their own turn and they can’t alter the story that’s already been told. They can however do whatever the muse inspires with between one and 200 words when their turn comes.
The idea of a round robin story with shared authorship isn’t new, but the sheer number of authors involved, the timescale, the multiple locations, the word count and the experimental nature of the creativity is, according to Escape Publishing’s Kate Cuthbert, a first for the industry.
“I’ve never seen anything like it, and I’m deeply, embarrassingly immersed in the romance world,” said Kate.
The idea for the story came from an online chat about the complexities of author promotion and culminated in a proposal to Escape Publishing to take over the Escapades blog for a month.
“We don’t know if it will help us sell more books but it’s a fun way of testing ourselves as writers and creating something of value to thank people who’ve already bought Escape titles,” said Lee Christine, In Safe Hands.
You can catch up on the Escapade and read daily episodes by subscribing to the Escapades blog.
The Escapade’s Escape Artists & their titles: In order of appearance on Escapades blog:
1. Rhian Cahill Valentine’s Dates Feb 14
2. Keziah Hill Chains of Revenge Feb 15
3. Caitlyn Nichols The Danger Game Feb 16
4. Lee Christine In Safe Hands Feb 17
5. Rebekah Turner Chaos Born Feb 18
6. Alissa Callen What Love Sounds Like Feb 19
7. Nicole Flockton Bound by Her Ring Feb 20
8. Jenny Schwartz Mistaken Engagement Feb 21
9. Coleen Kwan Short Soup Feb 22
10. Juliet Madison Fast Forward Feb 23
11. SE Gilchrist Legend Beyond the Stars Feb 24
12. Elizabeth Dunk Arranged to Love Feb 25
13. Nina Hamilton Rescue Heat Feb 26
14. Lucy Forster Finding Elizabeth Feb 27
15. Juanita Kees Under The Hood Feb 28
16. Sami Lee A Man Like Mike March 1
17. Donna Maree Hanson Rayessa & the Space Pirates March 2
18. Jacquie Underdown The Paler Shade ofAutumn March 3
19. Sandra Antonelli A Basic Renovation March 4
20. Lily Malone His Brand of Beautiful March 5
21. Robyn Rychards Her Man from Shilo March 6
22. Bridget Gray No Strings Attached March 7
23. Jane O’Reilly Once a Bad Girl March 8
24. Francis Housden The Chieftan’s Curse March 9
25. Robin Thomas High Stakes March 10
26. Vanessa Stark Room Service March 11
27. Shannon Curtis Enamoured March 12
28. Ros Baxter Fish Out of Water March 13
29. Elise K Ackers Unforgettable March 14
30. Ainslie Paton Grease Monkey Jive March 15