11 Comments

Year One at NAF

With this little post our blog began.  

JANUARY 15, 2010

This is our official birthday, even though you’ll find a few posts dated prior to this.  That’s because when we started, several of us moved and back-dated posts from other locations.

So we missed our anniversary last month.  But now I wanted to give you a review of Year One at NAF.

The Beginning

How did we start?  Where did this come from?  Well, it emerged in the aftermath of the infamous Marcher Lord Select Contest held in the fall of 2009.  Several of our members are survivors of the contest.  Personally, it was that contest that finally brought me out of my shell and into the world of unpublished writers.  I began to make friends and see the importance of networking.  I also began to see the importance of blogging regularly.  There are many great reasons to blog, but that’s a subject for another post.

So I started a blog… again.  It wasn’t my first attempt, but I was determined this time.  One thing I realized real quick is that it’s very difficult to actually attract readers.  So I visited some of the blogs of my new friends to support them.  Then I realized they were having the same problem.

That’s when it hit me.  We just all need to get together and blog on one site.  If we did that, then all our readers would merge together and we’d all have higher traffic.  With enough people, that could be pretty beneficial, right?

And so the concept was born.  I began to pitch it to a few people who thought it was a great idea.  Diane was the first to join.  Followed by Paul, Kristen, Ren, and Mauricio.  Carol Van Drie helped out by putting up one of the first posts, but never became active.  A little later David and Zoë joined and our founding members were complete.

Changes

Like any new venture, things don’t always end up the way initially intended.  Changes are needed… things evolve.  And NAF has gone through several, often painful, changes over the year.

We started with three designations.  Author, Alumni, and Junior Author.  Authors were supposed to be unpublished authors with a complete manuscript.  Alumni were published authors.  And Junior Authors were writers who had not yet finished their book.  Mauricio, David, and Zoë filled the category of Junior Authors, and Kristen filled the Alumni spot as an honorary Alumni.  Carol also was listed under honorary Alumni for a while.

The idea was that a person would transition from Junior to Author to Alumni.  But within a few months it became apparent that this was not exactly a practical idea.  It could take YEARS for a Junior to move up.  We did away with it.  Mauricio, David, and Zoë were grandfathered up to Author while they continued to work on their books.

Over the summer of 2010 we overhauled the look of our site for our 6th month anniversary, and prepared to graduate our first real Alumni, Paul.  We also started to define ourselves as a group that focused mainly on speculative fiction with a Christian world view.

When Paul’s book was published, we had an open call for a new member.  Three candidates stood out, but there was only one slot.  Little did we know at the time, that all three would become members by the end of the year.  Avily joined us on August 13, Robynn on November 18, and Kat just recently joined on January 7.

Just before Robynn came on board, we saw a few more changes to our structure.  In an effort to create consistency in our stated definitions and how we applied them to our members, a few members were reclassified… voluntarily of course, but most everybody saw the wisdom in making such a change.  Now a duck was called a duck, and we didn’t have to explain away all our exceptions to our own rules.  Kristen, whom we’d been calling an Alumni, was not really an Alumni.  Neither were Mauricio, Zoë, and David Authors by our own definition.  So we opened up a Contributors designation, that in the future could be used to invite any number of published authors or potential candidates to join us for a short time. Kristen and Mauricio moved first, by choice.  Zoë and David stayed as Authors with the anticipation of finishing their books soon.  When it became apparent that Zoë wouldn’t make it, she asked to move too.  We’re still cheering David on as he pushes forward with his book!

Success

The blog has been received better than any one of us could ever have conceived.  In the first month we had a little over 1,800 hits and it has grown steadily to over 4,000 hits this past January.  Last fall we introduced Special Guest blogs, where we invite published authors to share with us a glimpse of their journey to publication.  We have had Chila Woychik, Sherry Thompson, Kerry Nietz, Tosa Lee, and Alton Gansky so far, with other great authors on the horizon.  We have a ton of great interviews and reviews done by our members.  By the way, you will ONLY find character interviews here at NAF.  It’s one of our little pioneering features.  And in case you haven’t noticed, somehow through God’s providence I managed to assemble probably the most talented group of writers ever gathered on one blog.

The Future

What’s in store for Year 2 at NAF?  You’ll see more reviews, more interviews, and an ever increasing array of guests.  I think by the end of the year, being a guest at NAF will become like Dancing With the Stars… you know, the “thing to do” for a published author.  At some point we’ll probably do a face-lift to the site, but certainly not as drastic as the overhaul we did at the 6th month anniversary.  I think I can also safely predict at least TWO new Alumni this year.  Maybe more.  So some names will move around, and you’re likely to see a few new faces.

Of course you can expect one thing to remain true, and it will always do so.  Our blog is for unpublished authors by unpublished authors.  We are here to chronicle our journey to publication, the ups and the downs, the victories and defeats.  Our stories include life, faith, humor, sadness, frustration, and anger, with a little creativity thrown in.  We won’t tell you how to write.  But we will tell how difficult it is to actually be successful.  And through that, you can find encouragement in our journeys.

And that, my friends, is what sets the New Authors’ Fellowship apart.

About Keven Newsome

Keven Newsome is an musician, theologian, and a bit of a nerd. He enjoys a variety of musical genres, from Christian rock to movie soundtracks to KPop. A former band director, he plays about a dozen instruments, given a couple of weeks to practice up. His theological work has included a book on multi-generational ministry and a thesis on the theology of communicating with the dead. As for his nerd-card, he enjoys the fandoms of The Legend of Zelda, Doctor Who, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Lord of the Rings. With a music degree from William Carey University and a theology degree from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Keven actively serves in ministry as both pastor and worship leader.

11 comments on “Year One at NAF

  1. Made me a bit weepy-eyed. 😀

  2. I loved the short voyage with you all. And I love a good storm. So let’s make the next one a little more adventurous, eh? 😉

    Congrats on 1 full year of bloggerly bliss!

    ~Chila

  3. I love to see success and with all the gifted writers that are members (as well as guest writers), you couldn’t go wrong ,even with the growing pains. As some of you know the speculative fiction world was a whole new one to me and even though I tested the waters in attempting to write something along that line myself and bombed ,I am definitely a huge fan of the gendre’. I have Lady Di (Diane Graham) to thank for that. Lessons learned about doors that are closed in God’s plan for our lives are just as important as the open ones. I can’t help but believe that it was the NAF that stirred up the embers that had laid dormant in me due to rejection and life hitting me from all sides. I had a successful published (best seller list) author tell me that we know that God has called us to be a writer if we “have” to write as much as we have to take a breath. Even if all we have is a napkin with a broken crayon. Well, I now carry a little notebook around with me. If I hear an interesting phrase or word or see something that prompts an article, I , like a mad woman, jot it down, I am passionate about it. Your blogsite has made me realize my true calling and that fact alone is an eye opener, that you guys help others fulfill their destiny.

    I wanted to give a public “shout out” to Diane. Your weekly blogs have sustained me when I was hanging on by a thread. I find my “safe place” in between the paragraphs of your written thoughts . You have this uncanny ability to know exactly what your readers need to hear . I apply that message every time I write. Our website (AGAPE MOVEMENT)is just catching fire, although it is not into the thousands yet , (it is in the hundreds ) God always starts with a remnant. I would not have the confidence to undertake this task if I had not learned it all here! It is only by faith that we walk out our destiny. Most of us do not get paid. It is well worth the sacrifice because it is a sacrifice of love for God that pushes us.

    I look at the New Authors Fellowship as a “church” so to speak, a ministry. If you accomplished all of this in a year, just wait and see what God is going to do with another one! Amazing! Congratulations.

  4. To celebrate your first year the Lost Genre Guild blog seems to be modeling itself after what you do so well here. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, no?

  5. Congratulations!!

  6. I met most of you folks through the MLS Contest, I followed this blog before I joined it, but this fills in some of the “behind the scenes” for me.

    Great idea, Iguana!

    Well done.

  7. Keven, I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels I “survived” MLS. That experience really rattled my confidence as a novelist. But the critique partner relationships that came out of it helped me realize that what I really love is helping writers polish their work till it shines. MLS and NAF, along with a couple of other initialisms I belong to, were major contributing factors to my decision to start freelancing.

    Thanks, everyone, for the support and friendship. May God bless each one of you.

    (Look at me…now I’m verklempt. I need a tissue…)

  8. […] For those who are new to NAF, let me recap. This site is the brainchild of Keven Newsome. Here’s how he described the formation of New Authors Fellowship: […]

  9. […] Here’s how Keven described the formation of New Authors Fellowship: […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: