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Why book inc?

When J. Greg Phelan realized that something was missing from his writing practice, a community, he created book inc.

By J. Greg Phelan

March 03, 2022

I’d been writing novels for years. I’ve gone to writing workshops, earned an MFA, and even had the incredible experience of doing a novel fellowship with a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. Still, I felt something was missing. Reading the acknowledgement pages of authors I love gave me a clue: they thanked dozens of people who helped them write and publish their books, novels and memoirs many of them writers. Slowly, I realized what I’d been missing: being part of a community of writers who had a vested interest in each other’s success.

So we started one—book inc, a community of writers who help each other write, revise, and (we hope) publish books. As we imagine the world of our stories and gather the raw material of our novels and embark on our first draft and do our revisions, we share our experience in real-time and support each other. We talk about what’s holding us back. We become vulnerable. We build trust.

We continue to follow our own vision for our work. In fact, having the steady encouragement of our fellow writers builds the confidence we need to make the million little decisions necessary to bring our books to fruition. We go through the process together, and amazing things happen. We’ve seen it with all the engaging, wonderful novels our first incubator group drafted, revised, and are sending out into the world.

So why not a community of writers writing books together? It works. It’s also a lot more fun than doing it alone.

J. Greg Phelan has written for The New York Times, America, and other publications. He is the co-founder and board chair of Project Write Now, a nonprofit writing center providing classes and outreach for writers of all ages. In 2020, he launched book inc, a community for memoir and novel writers.