Writer Unboxed is 8 years old today! Here’s an Everything-You-Ever-Wanted-to-Know-and-Some-Things-You-Didn’t Q&A about WU.

photo by gfpeck /

Therese here. Back in November, I put a call out to the WU Facebook group for pitches to claim one of the last remaining spots on our calendar for 2013. Eddie Louise won the spot I had set aside for the win. Some of the pitches were so good that I hoarded them for later use. Jeannie Ruesch has a fantastic post coming up next Sunday with some giveaways of Stephen King’s On Writing. And then there’s this: a 10-question Q&A for Kath and me, proposed by WU community member Beverly Diehl. We thought, well, we can use it for our anniversary post, and here we are. Thank you, Beverly, for the idea and the interview. We hope you all enjoy this inside peek into WU’s eight-year journey.

1) Why “Writer Unboxed”? How was the name born?

Kath: Your question prompted me to dig deep into the WU archives and haul out our inaugural post from January 2006 that asked the very same question. Behold:

It all started when the editor of an industry magazine had the temerity to pass on a proposal we pitched. Not that we’re unused to rejection, but it was kickass. We’d previously co-authored an article with another writer buddy about writing that was well-received, but we’d left a ton of info out in the editing process. Our critiquing sessions also lean toward finding ways out of literary dead-ends—THE BOX, as we call it—by plucking inspiration from pop culture and other mediums. We realized that a blog was the best way for us to organize our thoughts and share our knowledge with other writers who need a dose of inspiration or another way of looking at their work.”

The back story to all this was Therese and I had been faffing around with starting a blog to create the type of writing community we wanted but couldn’t find online at the time. We wanted something authentic yet supportive, and we wanted a forum to discuss the craft of writing novels from the smallest detail to the big picture – the meta and the micro, which wasn’t really around at the time – people had their personal blogs and there were good message board communities, but nothing like what we wanted existed. So we began Writer Unboxed on Blogger. Fun fact: the original name of Writer Unboxed was SnarkBytes, but that was our “practice blog.” Therese hit upon the name Writer Unboxed, which encompassed our mission statement beautifully. I believe SnarkBytes is still registered on Blogger, if I’m not mistaken LOL.

Therese: Ha! I just found it HERE. That’s hysterical.

I also found this. Click the jpg below for the exact email chain that started everything. (Kath and I have had a laugh over our naïveté!)

How it began

Here’s our original header, which we left behind when we left Blogger.

writercomplete1

2) What about Writer Unboxed has turned out much like you expected, and what has been a total surprise?

Kath: What has amazed us is the phenomenal community that has grown around WU. The old saying “if you build it, they will come” isn’t really true in blogging. You have to build something that folks will want to go to in the first place, and stream fresh, useful content continuously. WU’s focus on craft, industry and being a supportive place where novelists and publishing professionals can discuss and learn about all aspects of the industry resonated. WU’s rise also coincided with the shift from traditional to digital publishing models, and everything just exploded around 2010 as authors, publicists and aspiring writers were searching for the elusive online “platform.” By then, WU contributors had been posting quality posts for years, and that sort of content speaks for itself.

We were asking NYT bestselling authors to interview and they would say “yes,” because they saw the traffic we were generating, and the insightful discussions happening in the comments. I’ve heard from countless people discovering WU for the first time who’ve said they’ve spent days combing our archives because the content is so good.

Therese: Would you believe it if I say that nothing has turned out as we expected? We did dream, however, of creating a mega-popular blog that we’d be able to utilize to help sell our future books. Ironically, now that WU is a successful site, we can’t/won’t use it the way we’d once envisioned. (Though I’ll take this moment to tell you that Kath has a kick-ass YA novel, SLUMBER, published as Tamara Blake, and remind you that my second novel, THE MOON SISTERS, releases on March 4th. We’d both love and appreciate your support.)

Total surprise? The tight-knit community that has evolved out of WU, the rate of organic growth we’ve seen since the site’s inception, and of course the amount of time required to run the site.

3) The Great Time Suck. How do you keep a beastie like Writer Unboxed from eating up all your own writing time? On average, how many hours do you Founding Mamas give to Writer Unboxed in a week, and how many person hours does it consume for your “staff”?

Kath: What people might not realize is that even with a slew of wonderful volunteers and contributors, keeping Writer Unboxed going is a full-time job. I already have a full-time job, plus I was a contract writer for Working Partners LTD. Somewhere in there, I was working on my own projects, plus trying to find time to be a mom and a (less grumpy) spouse. The juggling act was killing my desire to write. It was an untenable situation, and so in 2011 after a lot of soul-searching and Therese’s full support, I made the decision to take a step back from WU and give my muse a chance to heal. I’m still around, but I don’t have an active hand in the day-to-day. Therese is the Prime Mama now, and really responsible for the way the community has grown to what it is today.

Therese: I’ve never calculated how many hours I devote to WU-related activities in a week, which may be a sanity defense mechanism on my part, but I’ve often said what Kath says here—it’s like a full-time job. For the sake of disclosure, here are some of the things that may require attention in a day:

  • responding to complaints, suggestions, questions or pitches in the WU inbox
  • finding lost comments on the blog (usually retrieved in spam, which needs to be deleted regularly)
  • liaising with Amy at SUMY Designs on any number of tech issues that are over my head, like trying to resolve problems with our email service for readers
  • adding or changing information on WU’s Google calendar (AKA: my bible)
  • brainstorming ideas with guests for posts
  • approving comments waiting in the queue
  • chiming in over conflicts or questions on the Facebook page with the Mod Squad or group members
  • tweaking a post if a picture is too big or small, or if the “more” code has been missed or could use a re-positioning
  • sending notes to contributors about this or that, or responding to notes from contributors about this or that
  • developing “educational material”/guides for volunteers and guests
  • updating plugins, software, or content on the sidebar
  • liaising with our “Ad Guru,” Jeanne, over ad content and sales
  • thinking of ways to make everything run more efficiently

More challenging are long-term projects, or problems with web hosts or the site’s stability. (I am never more grateful for Amy’s help than when the site codes out on us, because what can I do?) Worst experience was a few years ago when WU was taken over by a porn outfit on the day we received a nod from Write to Done for being one of the Top 10 blogs for Writers. Good times!

This is a little off-topic, and it’s going to make my long answer even longer, but it’s related and significant. This past summer when I had a health scare, several people stepped up to help (most notably Jan O’Hara, one of the most generous souls out there). The scramble to keep WU going when I wasn’t on the scene taught me something: I don’t want WU to be completely reliant on me. If I could no longer be a part of things for whatever reason, I’d want the site to continue. I’d like WU to be around one hundred years from now, and who’s to say that can’t happen? I’ve learned there are a lot of people who care a great deal for this community, who are willing to volunteer their time to keep things running smoothly and with high standards.

Julia Munroe Martin and Jeannine Walls Thibodeau began loading guest posts for us, and they’ve both said that—while the job is getting quicker for them—it can still take one or even two hours to load a single post. That may shock a lot of people, but it takes time to write an introduction, to insert code in the right place, to find a good photo… I developed a guest post template years ago to help streamline a process that had become a giant time suck, too. And how many guest posts have we had over the years on WU? About three hundred since we’ve been with WordPress.

I spoke with WU’s Facebook moderators. Said Vaughn Roycroft:

I would say it boils down to about an hour a day. Some days more, some only a few checks of the page. It’s hard, because we interact almost every day, but some (a lot) of that is not “technically” WU biz. And we’re always there for each other, so when one of us needs a few days, we can just forget about it.”

We recently made the group “secret” because of a change at Facebook that made us appear in other writers’ group sidebars and seemed to be the cause of attracting a lot of people who were only interested in self-promo. The change has made a huge difference. Said Kim Downes Bullock:

Before we went secret I put in about an hour a day. Now it’s only a few minutes, not counting the times we are on here just chatting.”

Before last summer, I handled WU’s Twitter account myself. Now we have a team, of which I’m still a part. Denise Wilson Falvo and Lara McKusky each spend between 1 ½-2 hours a week on Twitter gathering and posting. Heather Webb, who covers the traditional publishing beat there (#WUAgent, #WUPrint), also has begun to write a Twitter roundup for WU. Total time per week, not counting the roundup: ~5 hours. Then there’s the roundup. That’s an additional 3 hours monthly.

I know contributors who can whip out a WU post in twenty minutes, but you can group me with contributors who’ll spend hours refining a post, sometimes over a few days. (I just checked out of curiosity; I’ve written 499 posts for WU since we’ve been with WordPress. My big 5-0-0 will happen next month!)

You can see how this “beastie” can indeed eat all of a person’s time, and why our contributors and volunteers are essential to keep the site running as it’s been. And, frankly, to keep me running as well.

4) Website. Facebook. Twitter. Newsletter. Which is most fun for you and why?

Therese: As of December, the newsletter is on hiatus. We all loved it, and Jan and Liz and all of the contributors did a great job keeping the information fresh and valuable, but ultimately we felt we could best serve the WU audience by concentrating our efforts (and WU’s modest income) in other areas.

I love all of WU’s components, but I think the WU Facebook group is special in that everyone has a voice, and anyone can decide to share an article or start a conversation. And because we disallow promotion there, those conversations can be just as rich as those you’ll find in comments on WU. I feel I’ve gotten to know people there in ways I wouldn’t over the blog—though of course this site is my first love.

5) Writers who mercilessly promote their own books in every other post are one of the biggest things that chase me away from a blog or Tweetstream. What are some of the other big mistakes you see in the writing community?

Kath: We’re pretty draconian about WU’s no-promo policy. We have a few select opportunities for our contributors when they have a new release, but that’s it. Keeping a lid on promo has helped make WU a safe place for readers. It’s been a challenge, though, especially for the Mod Squad on WU’s Facebook page.

I think some authors feel they have to do it all: Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Tumblr, website, blog, Amazon and B&N page, Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, massive blog-tour, and that they must be in constant promotion mode. People can sense the stink of desperation if you do nothing but promote, and it’s a huge turn-off.

Another turn-off is being rude to other authors online, or indulging in diva-antics.

Therese: I agree with everything Kath said. I also cringe anytime I see people arguing with readers on Goodreads (or anywhere) over a negative review.

Kath: As wise woman and cultural icon Sweet Brown tells us, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

6) Do you solicit articles from your vast array of contributors and authors, or do they approach you with “I’ve got a great idea for…”? How about wanna-be contributors to Writer Unboxed? Do you take queries, pitches, or review potential articles, or are you so replete with material there’s no room for more?

Thanks to the WayBack Machine, you can see the site’s evolution after we became devotees of WordPress and claimed our own URL:

2006 (Does anyone remember this background and header? Check out the sidebar for a list of guests who were coming to WU. See some familiar names? That’s where/how our contact with two of our future contributors began.)
2007 (Our interview with Dave King appeared in 2007, and he charmed us right away.)
2008 (That novel by Lucia Nevai, Salvation, is still on my bookshelf. Loved its stark beautiful self.)
2009 (Contest time!)
2010 (New header, but it never quite fit.)
2011 (We needed an update and decided it was time for a new setup too. When we couldn’t find an ideal structure, we had it built.)
2012 (Houston, we have a logo, thanks to Kristy Condon!)
2013 (SUMY Designs built our custom, interactive header, and we can’t imagine ever wanting another change.)

Therese: The contributors you see on WU’s sidebar know what works on WU, and we trust them to come up with their own ideas. Every once in a while, a contributor will ask for my opinion about a topic and I’ll offer it, but for the most part they are independent and trusted partners. The only exception: themed months. For example, we’re going to focus on topics related to the publishing industry in February—even our guests. I’ve compiled a list of topics and feel confident that we won’t read the same post twice.

We do get pitches in the WU inbox, sometimes several in a single day, however because the calendar is full through May we’ve put a hold on these for a few months.

7) This brings us to: Rejections. Even after 8 gazillion published books and stories, Isaac Asimov got rejected. Two pronged question: why do you reject an article, and how do you tell somebody like Donald Maass that his work wasn’t quite what you were looking for?

Therese: Very rarely I’ll see a post before it goes live and realize it needs a revise or won’t work for the WU community for one reason or another (maybe its scope is off for the audience, for example, or it doesn’t offer that empowering spin we like to see with WU posts). It’s never comfortable to ask someone you respect for even more of their time, but I would generally send that person a brief note explaining my concerns and offering suggestions. Our contributors are pretty awesome, though, and as I said, that sort of thing happens very rarely.

8) Occasionally an article must need editing or trimming. How does the process work? Does an author submit the article to be nipped and tucked as you see fit, or does someone send back prospective edits for the author’s approval, prior to adopting them?

Therese: I should say that I don’t read every single post before it goes live. I don’t always have the time, but also some contributors write their posts up until—and even beyond—the last second. If I do read through a post and note a typo, even after it’s been published, I’ll go in and fix it. Sometimes I’ll add bold headers to an essay-style post if it seems it might benefit from that. But if a post needs more substantial work, we’d likely send it back to the author and ask nicely for some changes. (Again, rare.)

9) Writer Unboxed does take ads (if unobtrusive ones) and donations. But I thought everything on the Interwebs was FREEEE! Why is Writer Unboxed asking for money?

Kath: A community member enjoys the content on WU for free. That doesn’t mean Therese and I haven’t spent a goodly sum on WU from the online infrastructure to the WU email account to a host of other expenses folks don’t realize we incur, not to mention the hours dedicated to keeping WU running smoothly. Recently we’ve had to get a dedicated server because WU has grown so large. We’ve resisted AdSense and other online ads for years because we found them annoying and couldn’t control the content. Now that WU’s traffic is robust and targeted, we have opportunities for interested parties to buy leaderboard ad space. If folks need to have an ad created, our Ad Guru, Jeanne Kisacky, will work to help create something wonderful. Not that we’re anal or anything, but we try to ensure that whatever we do is tasteful and with the highest quality.

Therese: We also use funds for occasional contest giveaways and to try new things (like the newsletter, and a site for readers that didn’t work out).

It might be worth mentioning that we received three donations in 2013. While we appreciate anyone who’d like to donate funds to the site, this isn’t a big income generator. That said, we do almost nothing to draw attention to the donation button, which you can reach by clicking the “D” key on the typewriter in our header.

10) What do you see in the future for Writer Unboxed? Do you have Plans, or will you let it grow organically?

Therese: I’m committed to putting together WU’s first live event, this November. Details will emerge this spring, but I think this is going to be something special. After that, who knows? I’m sure there’s more unboxing to be done, somewhere.

Big thanks to Beverly for providing the Qs for this Q&A! You can learn more about Beverly on her website and blog, and you can follow her on Twitter and Facebook. Write on, everyone.

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About

Writer Unboxed began as a collaboration between aspiring novelists Therese Walsh and Kathleen Bolton in January, 2006. Since then the site has grown to include ~40 regular contributors--including bestselling authors and industry leaders--and frequent guests. You can follow Writer Unboxed on Twitter, or join our thriving Facebook community.

Comments

  1. says

    Congratulations on the anniversary! I’m a relative short-timer as far as visiting here, but I’ve gained a ton from this place–thank you!

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  2. says

    Happy anniversary! LOVED LOVED LOVED this detailed look at how all of this started. What an amazing community you have helped foster – THANK YOU!!!!
    -Dan

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  3. says

    Kath & Therese-

    Big congrats and even bigger thanks for building this outstanding home for writers. I had no idea so much was involved, and on a daily basis. One hour to load posts? I will endeavor to deliver mine earlier than the last minute!

    As a regular monthly contributor, I’ve gotten more than I’ve given by posting here. At WU I’ve not only been able to share new insights into fiction craft, but to hone my own craft. Blogging has taught me, for one thing, to delete extra words without remorse. I’m totally over my darlings.

    Most helpful of all have been my fellow contributors, guests and everyone’s comments. This place is a window onto writers’ process, techniques, fears, coping and confidence. There’s plenty of food on industry topics yet most everyone here, refreshingly, keeps their focus on where it most matters: story.

    What makes this place a daily, coffee-like necessity for me is its spirit. Both smart and kind, savvy and open, inspiring and honest, WU is for writers a wise, wide-ranging, resourceful and endlessly supportive best friend. That spirit radiates from the two ladies who are interviewed here. We owe them much.

    Therese and Kath: As Mick Jagger said to Keith Richards, what you’ve built is bigger than the both of you. This band is gonna rock on for more many, many more years. Happy Eighth. But think of this: You’re just starting. Imagine what this site will be like eight more years from now!

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    • says

      Thanks for being one of the gang, Don, and for everything you bring to the site every month. I know you’ve made a difference in many writers’ lives because of the way you not only tap into what makes a great novel, but the way you convey those truths–with concise language and homework-style questions. If we are the mamas, you are definitely one of the papas. We wouldn’t want to run this thing without you. Thank you again.

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  4. Julie Lawson Timmer says

    Happy Anniversary!! Thanks for all you two have done. This is an extraordinary community and I’m grateful to you for having created it.

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  5. Charlotte Hunter says

    Happy birthday! Many thanks for the consistently interesting and pertinent discussions of writing, and even more thanks for taking all the time and effort to support all of us who love and need to write.

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  6. says

    Happy Anniversary! And thank you for setting the bar very high for blogs aimed at helping writers. The advice and support we receive from Writer Unboxed is superb. You all are the gold standard!

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  7. says

    Happy Anniversary!
    And can I please add my thanks to everyone else’s.
    WU is consistently thought-provoking, interesting, fun – it’s great content.
    Thank you!

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  8. says

    So cool that you have documentation of the conversation where the name Writer Unboxed was born! Ah, the power of the internet age. I remember all of the headers except the original blogger one. And the 2011 link to Jane’s post reminded me of an incident that demonstrated the power and reach of WU. In the comments I had idiotically said that Justine Musk made me feel like I was in high school again (captured in the recent comments sidebar box). Apparently my brain was in high school mode. But Jane replied with her usual Zen-like wisdom and, empowered and inspired, I moved on with my day. Within a few hours I was getting fb messages and tweets telling me I’d better go and look back at the comments section. Yep, you guessed it—I was called out by Justine for mouthing off. She was extremely gracious and charming about it, and funny when she ribbed me on Twitter about it, but—oh—was my face red.

    Being sort of the “WU Community Specialist” both during the newsletter’s run, in two of my posts here on the blog, and on a panel at The Grub Street writers’ conference (thank you, T & Kath for those very special opportunities) has given me a lot of time to reflect on what WU means to me. Such a world of opportunity has opened up for me as a writer since I first discovered WU (my five year anniversary of *finding* WU was just a few months ago). I’ve gained not only a daily dose of knowledge and inspiration, but beta-readers and mentors, an editor and coach, and an always-there community to use as a quick-response resource and sounding board.

    But the most important and surprising gift I’ve received from my involvement with WU has to be the gift of friendship. The ongoing support and encouragement of the very real and dear friendships that have sprung from WU are indeed a priceless gift. I’m not sure where I’d be as a writer if I hadn’t stumbled upon WU in November of ’08 (perhaps subject enough for a post of its own), but I’m quite sure I’d have missed out on some very special friendships. And that’s a lot.

    So thank you, Jan (I mean, Boss). Thank you, Kath. Thank you, T. Happy Anniversary! And thank you, WU!

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  9. says

    Thank you, Therese and Kath, for a wonderful and important site. I found WU a few years ago via a link from a bestselling author’s website (to her WU interview)–and have never looked back!

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  10. says

    Dear Therese and Kath,
    Happy Birthday, Anniversary, and Congratulations! Thank you so much for your hard work and TLC, and for making WU feel like home!

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    • says

      The great Campari Incident with Porter has to rank as one of the all-time funniest moments on WU, Dee, and that’s saying alot with this witty crowd. T and I were crying with laughter.

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  11. says

    I love that first header! And hahaha about the time-consumption expectations in that first note. It’s probably a good thing you had no idea about what it would take to build this blogging behemoth.

    Happy Anniversary, T and K. Don said everything I’d want to say, except I’ll add that your designation as “Mamas” is both well-chosen and embodied. I’ve learned a TON, due to you both. I’ve been pushed, prodded and expected to live up to a higher standards, both as a writer and a person. Thank you for the steadfast encouragement, the openness and honesty, and for setting the tone which makes WU a source of information, friendship and family. You are two generous souls!

    PS: Kath, you’re so quiet on the promo front, I didn’t even know you had a new one out. Off to rectify that immediately.

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  12. says

    Happy 8th anniversary! It was really fun (and educational) to read this post. It’s incredibly inspiring to see how much you’ve accomplished; I feel honored to be a part of such a wonderful community of supportive and hard-working writers.

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  13. Bernadette Phipps-Lincke says

    Happy Birthday/Anniversary!

    I’m at a loss for words to express my appreciation, because anything I say will be a vast understatement on the difference you have made in helping writers attain the neccessary knowlege and support to pursue our dreams.

    By your gracious giving example you have taught me the true meaning of “heart of an artist”.

    Thank you.

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  14. says

    Cheers and hugs to you all on your 8th year, and heartfelt thanks to Therese and Kathleen for the passion of helping others. Finding WU in the tornado of learning the craft and business has been as important for me as Dorothy finding the Yellow Brick Road. It affirms my direction and sense of community on a daily basis. Look, here comes the Tin Man now!

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  15. says

    I’ve hung out with a number of online communities over the years, writing and otherwise. The WU community is by far the most intelligent, helpful, troll-free I’ve encountered. The comments on my posts and discussions on the Facebook page have been consistently informative without being pedantic, and refreshingly respectful, even in disagreement. WU has great content (if I do say so myself), but its real strength is in the people it attracts.

    Good on you, Therese and Kathleen!

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    • says

      I love your presence here on the blog, Dave, but I love it just as much on the WU Facebook page. You are always there, eager to participate in conversations, and I know others have learned from your expertise. Thanks for all you do!

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  16. Bernadette Phipps-Lincke says

    Er…that’s *necessary knowledge. I’m a maudlin fool, and I had tears misting my eyes, so I didn’t check my clumsy typos. Yeah! That’s the ticket…

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  17. says

    If my records are correct, it was October of 2007 that I wrote my first post as a contributor to Writer Unboxed. I’m here to say that I continue to be grateful to Teri and Kath for letting me be a part of this community. I learn something every time I visit (daily) and also feel grateful for the opportunity to work on paying it forward whenever my contributions contribute–both here and on my blog, I continue to admire how writers come together to help each other, not to compete. Consider that we do, in fact, compete for publishers and readers, I think that makes us pretty darned remarkable, and Writer Unboxed is the premiere example. Congratulations, Blog Mommas, from one of your biggest fans!

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    • says

      Fun fact: Ray is one of our oldest contributors. I remember back in the day there was basically just Flogging the Quill, some romance-focused blogs (the romance crowd is always on the cutting edge), big boys like MediaBistro, and then WU. We invited Ray to contribute and here we are today, 8 years later. Amazing!

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      • says

        That’s 100% true. We were fans of Flogging before WU was an idea, and we remain fans to this day. Thanks, Ray, for all YOU have done to help writers. How long has Flogging been online?

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  18. says

    Thanks to all of YOU. We would have evaporated long ago without your support and contributions. From writing a post for us, to leaving an insightful comment, to sharing relevant site info over social media–every person is an important part of the WU canvas and the reason the community works. I hope you’re all proud of the site you’ve helped to build–as proud as Kath and I are.

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  19. says

    Happy Unboxediversary! (Hey, it might be a word…)

    Kath and Therese, you two have built something both impressive and inspiring. To me, WU exemplifies many of the traits that Donald exhorts us to employ in our own writing: The blog itself is a labor of love, coming from a very pure and honest place; its contributors are called on to dig deep with every post; the focus is on connecting with readers rather than marketing to them; and there’s an unspoken but shared sense of responsibility to constantly seek the inner truth of the topics we address. And the posts here frequently lead to thought-provoking and sometimes flat-out epic discussions, similar to how a good book can affect its readers.

    I also love the palpable sense of community I see here at WU, not just among its contributors, but also its audience, with whom I feel a strong sense of kinship. This is a wonderful community you’ve created, and I’m both proud and humbled to get to be a part of this greater whole.

    Oh, and the ginger-wasabi roasted peanuts they serve in the Top Secret Writer Unboxed VIP Champagne Room (or, TSWUVIPCR) are supposed to be awesome, too. I keep hoping somebody will send me directions to the TSWUVIPCR – I’m dying to actually see it. I know you said you emailed me the directions multiple times over the years, but somehow those emails never made it to my inbox. Strange…

    Anyhoo, thanks for building such a great house and attracting such a great group of houseguests. It’s a wonderful online home!

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    • says

      Remember: Take a right, a right, a right, and then another right. Then you’ll find it. (BTW, you can find those at Trader Joes. Isn’t that where all delicious wasabi-related products are purchased? This is what I’ve heard from Sarah McCoy…)

      Thanks for being one of us, Keith, and for sharing your knowledge and your awesome sense of humor with the WU crowd.

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  20. says

    Happy, happy 8th anniversary Writer Unboxed, Mama T and Mama Kath!! Thank you for the shared knowledge and resources, supportive community, and up-to-date news, which jumpstarts each writerly day in all the best ways.

    I love you guys. <3

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    • says

      Thank you, Denise, for being a part of the Twitter team! I didn’t say this in the Q&A, but I should have: You all are doing a much better job than I ever did alone. The account has gained so many new followers because of your efforts. Thanks for all you do.

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  21. says

    Happy Eighth, Kath and Therese!

    You’ve built my favorite go to, first stop in the morning coffee date.
    I could never tell you all the goodness I’ve taken away. And I feel it’s unfair that you do all the giving. Would love to give you something in return! (Please contact me if you think of that something!)

    Wishing you all the best of everything in your respective lives. You deserve it!

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  22. says

    Well, I never will get to sit at (or under, because Dorothy Parker drank me there) the Algonquin Round Table, but the servings at WU have to be just as savory. Such smart folks, with a singular sense of camaraderie, batting about the finer points of language, of character, of those essential things that can make a reader feel—high-calorie happiness indeed.

    Writing can be hair-pulling stuff, but the good people here at WU invite you into the comfy salon where even if that hair is in curlers, someone will give you a tip for smoothing (or riding out) the waves.

    Eight years, eh? I’ll do eight quick tequila shooters now—er, wait, I mean I’ll light a candle on a slice of quinoa cake with some pu-ehr tea in celebration. (Then the tequila.) Thanks for all the good work.

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  23. says

    Happy birthday! Interesting to read about how this great community evolved to become what it is now. I’m happy to be connected and would like to see it keep growing, possibly with a “post suggestion” option. It would be great is writers who make use of this great resource could also have an opportunity to suggest topics to the contributors. Regardless, I enjoy getting my daily Writer Unboxed email and checking out the latest post.

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  24. says

    Many, many happy returns of the day, Teri, Kath, fellow contributors and community members! What a landmark. I’m delighted to be a part of it, even if we still don’t have that @Campari sponsorship I’m convinced we should have attracted by now.

    I confess, I’m really glad about the name, too. “SnarkByte” would have been simply too dreadfully tempting. I scare myself thinking what kind of Provocations in Publishing I might write for a site called SnarkByte.

    So thank you for saving me from myself, and for the untold work, Teri and Kath, that you’ve put into this. And to everyone, really, for the sheer diligence that has become such a hallmark here…in posts, in comments, you see it all over the #WUworld: something taken seriously. All by itself, an achievement worth cheering.

    And sustained for eight years? I’ll need another one. Send over the #WUwaiter, please.
    -p.

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  25. says

    Happy Anniversary and thanks for keeping going for all these years. Of all the blogs/websites I found way far back when I started writing in earnest, WU is the one I’ve stuck with. I could tell you all the reasons why, but I’d be being redundant to everyone elses comments. Suffice to say, all of you who keep the WU community running are fabulous! Here’s to many more years!

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  26. says

    First of all, CONGRATULATIONS on 8 amazing years! I loved reading the email in which the seeds of ideas are hatching between Therese and Kath (favorite part: where T says “Omg, it IS easy!” in reference to setting up a blog).

    And second of all, THANK YOU for creating such a vibrant and supportive community rich in so much knowledge. WU was one of the first blogs I discovered when I first turned to the internet to learn more about publishing, back in 2009ish, and it’s one I still come back nearly 5 years later. I can only imagine how much time and effort must go into it; even with my own blog, or when I’m loading posts and guest blogs at The Debutante Ball, the little details can often take up the most time (and that’s something I only do about once or twice a week…I’m in awe of your daily upkeep).

    Cheers to many, many more years!

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  27. Marcy McKay says

    When I was 8 I liked to play with my Malibu Barbi & her 3-story townhouse (drawstring elevator included). Don’t know how you 2 ladies will celebrate, but enjoy. What an ACCOMPLISHMENT!

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  28. says

    Eight years of amazing! Happy Anniversary and congratulations on the incredible community you’ve built here. In most of my favorite blogs/websites to visit, it’s often the comment threads that provide the intangible value to a site and this one is no exception. The community was built based on the hard work you’ve put into making the content such high caliber— it brings us all back. Happy to be a part of this community.

    And really? Who writes a blog post in an hour? Hmmpf.

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  29. says

    Happy Birthday! I am so thankful I stumbled into this lovely writing community last year. Thank you for all the hard work you all do and I am looking forward to getting to know some of you better this year.

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  30. says

    Great Q&A! I’m ever in awe of Therese and Kathleen and the whole WU team (of which I am humbly a small, small part) and I’m so grateful that you guys brought this vision to life. It’s been such a blessing to me as a writer, in so many ways. <3

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  31. says

    Thank you all for taking the walk down memory lane with us. It’s really true when we say we would not be here with out all of YOU to make WU the fun, supportive place that it is.

    Psst. Everyone needs to pre-order Therese’s forthcoming novel, The Moon Sisters. It’s amazing.

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  32. Denise Willson says

    I was out of the country and just returned to your post.

    Awesome…just awesome! Congrats. And a BIG thank you to all who make this a site to remember. :)

    Denise Willson
    Author of A Keeper’s Truth

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