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How to do an anthology

When I moaned on Facebook that most of the queer and/or porn anthologies of the 80s and 90s have vanished – meaning I'd missed my chance to get my queer and/or porn work into them – I was encouraged to put one together myself. At present that's out of the question, because I can't afford to buy books, let alone publish one, and my crowdfunding-fu is weak. But assuming that my financial situation changes (which it must), I've been turning the idea over a bit in my head. I'm sure I know enough people who'd jump at the chance to have their work included in a thick book or a quarterly floppy or whatever, especially if they got paid for it (which I would definitely do, if I was going to do it at all).

But what I know about editing and publishing an anthology could fit on the front and back of a 3x5" index card.

Any pointers, tips, words of wisdom, advice, etc. about how to go about something like this? For example, I'm wondering about the merits of trying to publish it myself vs. pitching it to one of the handful of publishers who might touch this kind of material. What about paying a flat page rate for the rights to publish a piece vs. a share of the profits? And especially: what do you figure I'm probably not thinking of?

Comments


  • Well, there are different schools of thought on how to do these things. 

    If I'm editing, I want to edit stories at the script phase to make sure they are as sharp as can be. I'll look at completed stories but only on the understanding that the authors will change it if there's something I have a problem with or which can be improved (usually lettering wise.) I am also very happy to look at story pitches--Dino here used to hit me with five or six pitches and would then develop the one I chose into a script. But I found it rare for writers to do that.

    Also, you need contributors who will agree to take edits int he lettering. There's nothing more frustrating than receiving lettered pages with typos in them and being unable to persuade the contributors to fix them.

    Things to look out for: 
    • Book design and production always takes longer than you'd think, especially if it's your first time.
    • Postage is a motherfucker especially if people order the books from overseas. Look for offshore POD options if you're willing to sell hardcopy editions internationally.
    • Keep your on-hand stock levels low. It sucks to have all of your storage space taken up with boxes of unsold comics.
    • Never trust a courier company.

    I dunno, maybe that was too obvious? How about this:

    Try have at least one name contributor who can spearhead sales into their existing (genre appropriate) fanbase. 

    Oh god, I am having PTSD flashbacks now.
  • That's helpful. I honestly hadn't thought about the issue of quality control and content management beyond the simple question of including a piece or not. The books I've been thinking of as the inspiration for this always included a lot of pre-existing material, so I was figuring that they'd land in my inbox as fully-formed and finished pages. But I do have a little experience in that role, since I've effectively been editor of the Tales that others have drawn for me. And in college journalism, where I merciless rewrote articles that went thru me.

    But your non-obvious advice is pretty much my underlying motive for doing this: I want to use an anthology to piggyback my own work into the hands of other people's fans. :)
  • JasonFranks - you put out some very strong books. I was proud and excited to play a small role.

    @JasonAQuest - a small thing I might add is contributor copies...maybe they can be used to augment or replace some payment. I dunno...

  • Thanks, @DinoCaruso. I really enjoyed putting them together, but... so much work! 

    They were really rewarding to do. I don't really get to work with other writers in the same way I did on those books. 
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