Marina Aris: Building a Writing Community in Greenpoint
I first met Marina Aris two years ago when she invited me to take part in Indie Writers Day at the Greenpoint Library. Marina immediately impressed me not only with her in-depth knowledge about independent publishing, but more with her warmth and amazing enthusiasm about independent publishing. Her eagerness to help others realize their vision of successfully self-publishing their stories stood out. I participated again this year at Indie Day and saw that Marina was making major steps to create a Greenpoint writers center. Interested in writing? Then Marina’s story of how she created the Brooklyn Writers Project should interest you.In 2012, Marina left the corporate finance world to pursue her passion, which wasn’t easy because she was the mother of two small children. She began writing again. She wrote while her children napped, and whenever else she could. Even when she pushed a baby stroller she was listening to podcasts to learn everything about independent publishing. She also devoured countless books on the craft of writing and publishing. She educated herself on the industry and soon mastered many of the aspects of successful self-publishing.
In 2013, just for fun, she started AVANTHAM, a free creative inspiration e-zine to showcase the work of talented people from all walks of life. She realized how much she enjoyed finding and supporting people on their creative writing journeys. She sensed she was onto something, and though she wasn’t yet sure exactly what it was, the flame had been lit.
After moving back to Greenpoint in 2016 and realizing that a writing group was an essential part of publishing, she began searching for a local writing group. The first draft of her memoir was finished and she knew it was time for feedback and revisions. However, she could not attend the only local group because it met only in the evenings. So she started her own group, naming it the Brooklyn Writer’s Project.
She soon connected with other writers in the community and quickly recognized a common problem. Writers were interested in independent publishing, but weren’t sure where to begin. She decided then-and-there to expand the Brooklyn Writers Project into a platform that could help indie authors, like herself, to publish. After a little more than a year of weekly meetings with the core group of writers she had come to deeply respect and admire, she was ready to launch her platform and Brooklyn Writers Press was born. By June, another writer in the group, Diane Fener was willing to publish under her new imprint. Diane quickly became One of Marina’s biggest supporters as the dream of developing the Brooklyn Writers Project grew into something bigger.
In the Spring, she started a pilot indie author publishing program since some writers in the group were either self-publishing or planning to. The pilot was a huge success! Writers enjoyed concrete, serious meetings that were focused only on the business of their books. The experience further confirmed to Aris, she was heading in the right direction.
The Brooklyn writers project needed a home though, and she found the Pencil Works factory right in the heart of Greenpoint. What could be more perfect for a literary startup? Today, the Brooklyn Writers Project is quickly growing and evolving and Marina is enthusiastic about helping Greenpoint writers realize their dreams of publishing.