Next Steps for The Colony


Forms of address


Not open for further replies.


Capo Famiglia
Full Member
May 19, 2014
London UK
I’d like to explain a little more about my intentions for the new Litopia, and outline some new features that will be appearing soon. What follows is therefore something of a roadmap.

First, I’m so pleased that members of the old Litopia are finding us and rejoining. It’s so nice to see so many old friends here again. The spirit that made Litopia one of the most supportive places for writers on the net is clearly still alive, and it is entirely due to you, our wonderful members. Thank you for being here, and thank you for supporting in the Litopia ethos.

So what lies ahead?

Well, as you can see, Litopia is currently split into two parts. There’s the public-facing side – – and then we have the Colony, which is the boiler room (where we are now).

Our Public Face

My aim for the public face of Litopia is to become ever more visible and successful. In the past six months, Litopia’s shows have been downloaded 200,000 times. I want this to expand and increase with more listeners and more products on sale.

Mostly importantly, I want the public face of Litopia to become more and more of a platform for our members.

I won’t go on and on about platforms. Suffice to say that I can’t now pitch an author to a publisher without them asking “what is the author’s platform?” It really is that important.

Candidly, many / most authors don’t have a platform. Many of us wouldn’t recognize one if it jumped up and hit us in the face.

Nevertheless... in our brave new digital world, you must have some visibility, or your writing will sink without trace.

Litopia can build you that platform. Every new listener we get is a potential new reader for you.

So... much of the forthcoming activity on Litopia will be focused around the ideas of attracting listeners and building platforms.

Bearing this in mind, here’s a glimpse of what’s to come...

Litopia AfterBurn

This is a brand new series from Litopia! Sister show of the venerable Litopia After Dark (LAD). Litopia After Dark is now very much formatted as a one-on-one, in-depth interview show with big names and bigger ideas. Hosted by the ever-coruscating Ian Winn (he’s here in the Colony, folks! Anyone recognize him?). LAD comes out when we’ve got world-class guests here in the London studio, i.e. the schedule can be somewhat erratic.

Litopia AfterBurn, by contrast, will have a regular weekly schedule, and be very much open to Litopian members. If you’re nervous about taking the plunge towards your own platform... here is your opportunity to take tiny little teeter-totter steps, hand held at every stage.

If you have a new book coming out, we want to know about it. Likewise, if something interesting has happened – tell us.

If you can review something – maybe a book, film or website, - then do it for us!

Litopia AfterBurn aims to create as many opportunities as we can for Litopians to develop their platforms and gain some experience in the dark arts of self-promotion.

We’re aiming for about 25 minutes a week, recorded “as live”, probably on Sunday evenings London time (about 6pm UK / 1pm Eastern time). If you have Skype, you can be a contributor.

I’ll be posting more specific requirements as we gradually develop the format, but it’s safe to say that we will be looking for...

· Litopians talking about their books & writing...

· Lots of scope for regular features & contributions...

· Flash Fiction winners – the winning entry to our monthly mini-fiction contest, hopefully to be resurrected soon...

I want the show to have a relaxed, comfortable feel. Will be posting a separate development thread about LAB shortly –but start thinking about it now, and how you might take part.

The Houses

Already mentioned elsewhere. Unique to Litopia, utilizing our own, proven method of critiquing – part of an author’s education.

Flash Fiction

Very keen to resurrect this successful feature of the old Litopia. Again, we probably need a certain critical mass of active members before we can go live.

Litopia Live

For the moment, I’m deliberately not calling this a “town hall meeting”, “village pump” or something equally clichéd and threadbare... but that’s basically what it is. I would like to schedule a regular (bi-monthly?) virtual get-together for Litopians (Google Hangouts seem an obvious choice, but there may be other ways too). My preference would be to have a pre-planned agenda and possibly even a special guest, the whole thing to last an hour or so.

Let The Readers In

This is probably the most radical of all the proposals ,but something that I believe will benefit us all. And yes, it does blur the lines a bit between our public-facing area and here, the backroom.

The basic idea is to create a new area here, in the Colony, for fans and readers.

We’ve never done this before, although I have had some experience in running reader fan sites.

I think it could work brilliantly – after all, the whole business of publishing is basically all about bringing writers and readers together.

Now... over to you for your thoughts.
It's really good to get a feel for your roadmap, Peter, and some very interesting stuff here. Much of it I'd just respond 'Great stuff, looking forward to it!', but there are a couple of specifics that I think need exploring further.

One is the whole matter of platform. This is probably more important for non-fiction writers like me - and for us it does matter in a big way, but it isn't just about putting yourself out there. The platform tends to be very topic-oriented. So to make a platform worthwhile for me, for instance, it would have to have an audience of people interested in science and science writing. Litopia podcasts are a platform that, I suspect is not that, but is people who are interested in publishing and writing - so I think it would be a great platform if you write books about how to write/how to get published, but not necessarily for, say, a science writer.

The other is the 'Let the Readers in' bit. I think that is a great idea, but I suspect the only way to get readers in would be to have some big name writers on there. That really would be make or break. I do get communication with readers via email, Twitter and Facebook, but those are environments they're using already. To get them to make the effort to come into a new environment, like Litopia, I think there would have to be a big incentive.

Not trying to knock these ideas - I think they're good - but hopefully providing formative feedback!
Thanks, Brian, very helpful. A couple of quick responses... Yes re topic-related platforms for non-fiction. There are already a number of very successful shows/podcasts in the science / history area, I subscribe to several of them. It would be nice to have something similar in our stable.

Readers... big name writers... well, why not ? ;)
Hi Peter,

Like so many other here I too am a returnee. I did not mention this when I signed up because I was a very inactive member (although I did donate). My loss and a mistake I don't plan to repeat. Like Brian I'm impressed with the thrust of your new vision.

As to the platform building, that can work for the fiction writers if we support each other and get behind building the membership. I for one will participate. Surely, if it has survived the Houses and has been vetted by Peter, the book should be at least an interesting read, regardless of genre.

Lastly, I suspect there are few of us who can't afford to part with a few dollars a month to support a fellow Litopian's book sale, and that's the start of a platform right there.

Tabby3 (Garry)
Last edited:
We have to hang together and support each other. I honestly can’t see any other viable alternative.

And I think it’s going to be fun, too :cool:
I'm very excited about this direction. I look forward to participating - more than I did before. I am an aspiring writer hoping to build a platform and publish a book. I enjoyed providing feedback in the houses in the previous incarnation of Litopia. I have also spent 20 years trying to escape the software industry, so am willing to provide support/expertise from that perspective as well since platforms require a web presence.
Thanks, Ben your expertise will be much appreciated. Please be sure to take part in our Litopia Live sessions as they start to be scheduled (a few weeks yet).

We have some cracking shows coming up on Litopia in the next few months, I'm just about to issue a Fall Line-Up press release. Our numbers can only continue to grow...
So glad to find this writing community again. It was and I'm sure still is, head and shoulders above others I visited and didn't go back to. I've been on a diet of Litopia After Dark meantime. Platform, well, yes, I have one; I've needed to establish one for my 'day job'; FB x2, LinkedIn and Twitter...I'm having problems adding Twitter to my profile here for some reason. I'm doing something wrong with the address. I'll figure it out...duh...

I have reviewed on Goodreads; without accountability, therefore, but I'd be interested to give review writing a go, here.
Last edited:
Assistance and advice in the whole area of promotion and publicity would be hugely welcome; it is an aspect of writing-as-a-career that makes me immensely uncomfortable. Unfortunately, as a confirmed sociophobic introvert with no charisma or conversational skills, I fear I am doomed to fail on that front, unless the arms-length self-promotion allowed by the digital age can fully replace the face-to-face stuff.....Is there any chance that books can stand or fail on their own merits rather than requiring authors such as me to make desperate and uncomfortable attempts at marketing? Thought not.
I think there is, actually. It’s become received wisdom amongst many publishers that an author must have an established platform in order to succeed (they often don’t really know what they mean by that, other than Twitter & Facebook) but in fact, the right book at the right time can succeed without any of that. Nevertheless, an effective platform can narrow the odds nicely ;)
Aloof and mysterious might become it's own kind of marketable if someone likes the book enough, Marc Joan.
I bought Hilary Mantel's 'Wolf Hall' and 'Bring Up the Bodies' because I am and have for a long time been intensely interested in the Tudor court, not because of the hoo-ha. I read the hoo-ha too, of course, because it was there and added background. A lot of fiction choices come by word of mouth, then I might read the hoo-ha, Goodreads and so on. But, my curiosity piqued, some kind of hoo-ha is available. I still don't understand why a novel like Dragon Under The Hill by Gordon Honeycombe wasn't mega. It's dark but it's good. A terrifying film was made out of another of his novel's 'Neither The Sea Nor The Sand.' But 'Dragon Under The Hill,' hardly anyone's heard of it, despite the fact he was such a well-known face on the box.
From dull and inept to aloof and mysterious in one easy post! That's marketing, folks!! Thanks Katie! Hope you're right.....
Delighted, Brian, wow, instant jackpot. An oasis, just like that, in a desert of empty dusty years of non-Dragon Under The Hill readers...Maybe that says something about this writing community and about Litopia. Marc Joan, it seems to me people who are 'inept' rarely have the self-awareness to think so. You're sociable here with strangers, ain't you...and you express interest in their writing. To be interested generally is to be interesting. It's the magic ingredient in charm or charisma. So long as you sometimes smile, and clearly, you do...
Thanks, Karen. Everyone in the entire publishing arena is learning, especially these days. It’s rather like that great quote from The Princess Bride:

“Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”
All sounds fabulous. Seems as if we are all in for an interesting evolution which we can help steer. Loving the idea of Litopia After Burn especially. I'd add that it is great to feel a strong helm, but it doesn't sound quite polite. Lead on Macduff.
I'm very excited about this direction. I look forward to participating - more than I did before. I am an aspiring writer hoping to build a platform and publish a book. I enjoyed providing feedback in the houses in the previous incarnation of Litopia. I have also spent 20 years trying to escape the software industry, so am willing to provide support/expertise from that perspective as well since platforms require a web presence.
I think Peter may be delighted to have your computer skills/support. He's great at all that stuff himself, but I'm sure he'd be delighted by an extra pair of hands to assist.
Blast. 2 delighteds in 2 sentences. Detention for me, even if that's what I meant.
Thanks, Karen. Everyone in the entire publishing arena is learning, especially these days. It’s rather like that great quote from The Princess Bride:

“Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”
Hah! I love that book/film :D

I think the one very good thing for me personally on Litopia's hiatus is that I've spent a lot of the intervening time missing the place and wishing I had made more of it when I had the chance - the assumption that I could always come back later, I suppose. I feel I'm less likely to take that for granted this time 'round :)
Is Litopia After Burn still open to litopia members. If so is there a link to the interviews?

I found this thread being picked up by a bot and thought to resurrect it after reading the amazing work thats been put into all this and the potential opportunities here.
Last edited:
Not open for further replies.

Forms of address