It began when we–Therese and Kath–were together on a long car ride. Maybe it was the result of too much caffeine. Or the fact that since starting and growing Writer Unboxed into a successful online community for writers, we’d been mulling over finding a way to bring a stronger component spotlighting readers but without losing focus on what we’ve already built. We discussed it over that three-hour ride but couldn’t make the idea jell. We put it on the backburner.
Two years later, we were on another long car ride together. More caffeine, but this time with a side of sugar (in the form of chocolate). We revisited the Reader Unboxed idea, but this time instead of talking about it in vague terms, we really started to dig into the idea. We both wanted a community that offered a place for readers to find books reviewed by readers who were just like them. A place that was easy to navigate, with ways for readers to discuss books honestly but without flaming or negativity. Most of all, we wanted to focus on unboxed fiction—fresh works that bring something new to the table—and the writers and publishers who have the courage to push boundaries.
We had the germ of a great idea but we needed to find the missing piece of the puzzle, someone who had connections and credibility with the reading community. Enter the founder of The Divining Wand, Larramie. Also known as the Fairy Godmother of the book world to readers, authors, and publicists alike, Larramie enthusiastically champions great novels. She also has a reputation for discovering exciting debut authors and introducing them to a wider audience, thus helping to boost their profile at a critical moment in their careers. Plus she is a doll-and-a-half. We were thrilled when she agreed to join our enterprise.
With Larramie’s help, other recommendations, and our WU network, we were able to assemble a team of wonderful contributors eager to discover unboxed fiction and share it with others via reviews. We developed some unboxed columns, too, like Reader Roulette and Undiscovered Treasures, to encourage interactivity between readers and RU. We hope to continually develop new and innovative ways that community members can participate in the site and share literary discoveries. And in the future, we hope to bridge WU and RU in a more comprehensive way, bringing unboxed writers from one site to the other for chats, interviews, reviews, and more.
If you’re a big reader and would like to be involved in some way, stop by Reader Unboxed to learn more. Then stick around. Linger. You might find a surprise or two.