‘Sassy ladies, a writing concept, and camaraderie’
‘Broads of a Feather’ brings local authors together
Published: April 20, 2014
Two Bradford County authors brought together by the Internet are now developing a community for area writers.
Carol “C.P.” Stringham of Ridgebury Township and Robin Janney of Wysox began the Broads of a Feather blog collaboration after meeting on Facebook through their love of writing. The two were introduced last fall through a mutual friend, who suggested the two would get along well based on their experiences as independent authors.
Stringham and Janney are both published romance authors through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing self-publishing platform. Stringham has five books available on Amazon and has sold over 50,000 copies of her first novel, “Seventy-Two Hours,” the story of a couple set in the Endless Mountains, including in East Smithfield.
Stringham credits Dick Heyler, her writing teacher in the Athens Area School District, with helping her to discover her passion for the subject. “He showed me there was this wonderful world to explore that was limited only by the boundaries of my own imagination,” she said.
After writing short stories and novels as a hobby in college, Stringham, weary of querying literary agents and publishers only to face the rejection commonplace in the industry, embraced the relatively new movement of self-publishing.
“Based on industry statistics, it’s evident the publishing world is changing and many more authors are choosing to go the route of independent authorship,” she said. “It eliminates the middleman.”
The self-publishing process offers more control to the author and allows writers to bypass the criteria sought by profit-focused agents and traditional publishers, Stringham said.
Janney, who works full-time at Cargill in Wyalusing, published her debut novel “Farmer’s Daughter,” the first of a planned five-book series, in September 2013. Janney also has two fan fiction short stories on the Internet under her maiden name, R.A. Slater.
The small-town love story, like most of her other ideas, came to Janney in a dream that stuck with her back in the late 1990s, she said. However, Janney made tweaks to the original idea as she progressed through the novel, and very little of the dream remains as part of “Farmer’s Daughter,” she said.
After meeting up on Facebook, “I sent her a friend request and it just blossomed from there,” Janney said. Stringham came up with the idea to start Broads of a Feather, inspired by the blogs of other authors. Stringham hardly used her blog page, but Janney regularly updates hers.
“I knew that being part of a weekly blogging team would hold me to some form of accountability,” Stringham said.
Stringham developed a logo and the name Broads of a Feather, derived from the famous saying “birds of a feather flock together.” She quickly developed a concept that evoked the pair’s new friendship — “sassy ladies, a writing concept, and camaraderie,” she said.
Stringham then approached Janney with the idea, who agreed without hesitation. “I didn’t have to think twice,” Janney said. “She had the Facebook page set up overnight, and the next day I started the blog.”
Since starting Broads of a Feather in January, Janney and Stringham have taken turns posting a new entry each week, pulling from their lives and their experiences as authors. The blog has reached readers from a total of 10 countries, including Germany, the United Kingdom and Malaysia, as well as developing a growing audience stateside.
The pair hope to add other regional romance writers to the blog and invite guest bloggers from other genres to generate additional collaboration and traffic.
“Think of it as networking, local author-style,” Stringham said. “With social media, the possibilities of gaining new reads through our network are endless.”
The blog also helps the pair market their works. An online presence, including social media, is critical for today’s aspiring authors, Janney said.
“You want to create a buzz for your book before it ever hits the market,” she said. “If you don’t already have a blog, start one. Start creating a community of readers and fans.”
The blog recently led to the pair’s first presentation, a well-attended discussion on independent authorship at the Spalding Memorial Library in Athens.
Janney and Stringham squeeze their writing in between spending time with their families and pursuing other hobbies, including, of course, reading.
Both enjoy cooking and gardening, and Janney is currently learning how to ride a four-wheeler. Meanwhile, Stringham enjoys spending her time at horse farms with her husband and two daughters, and works to spread autism awareness and acceptance, as one of her children has an autism spectrum disorder.
Stringham serves on the board of directors for the recently formed Arc of North Central Pennsylvania, which advocates for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The blog has become yet another hobby for the ladies, but more importantly, it’s led to a strong relationship between the two.
“Between us, a beautiful friendship has grown,” Stringham said. “Writers are a breed all their own. We’re happiest when we are alone and allowing our imaginations to keep us company. We have horrendous sleep habits and talk out loud to ourselves while coming up with character dialogue. Inspiration strikes us at the oddest times and may leave our families feeling snubbed. It’s been wonderful having a local person to bounce ideas off of as well as vent and commiserate with because she just gets it.”
Check out Broads of a Feather at http://broadsofafeatherofnepa.blogspot.com as well as on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr. Books by C.P. Stringham and Robin Janney can be found at amazon.com.
Other local authors interested in joining in on the fun can message either Janney or Stringham through the website.
Amanda Renko can be reached at (570) 888-9652; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.