I’ve had several short stories published in anthologies. It’s always been a fun experience. The most fun was when MURDER ON WHEELS, by the Austin Mystery Writers with a couple of invited guests won the Silver Falchion at Killer Nashville in 2016. I had served as point person for that one, liaising between the writers and Wildside Press, the publisher. It had been work, but I thought I had a handle on how to put an anthology together.
So, when I got a bee in my bonnet, a bee that kept buzzing about the upcoming total solar eclipse, I had an idea I could put a short story anthology together by myself. It turns out that I could, but the process was not without a learning curve!
WHAT I ALREADY KNEW
There’s not much money to be made doing short story anthologies. Even if you sell a lot, you’re dividing the money among quite a few people.
I had an idea how many stories there should be and how long the book should be so that it could be priced at an amount people could spring for—should they be interested in short stories themed around eclipses.
I knew I needed to put out a call for submissions in several places where some people knew me. Those were mainly the Guppy chapter of Sisters in Crime and Short Mystery Fiction Society.
I knew we needed to edit the heck out of the stories. Okay, I needed to edit the heck out of them since this was my baby.
Also, I knew that time was very tight. The bee started buzzing in about January and the eclipse was going to happen in August. The book needed to come before then. There was no way to move that deadline!
WHAT I FOUND OUT
I found out I have a friend in Wildside Press. I’ve been part of several anthologies they’ve published, plus they did our award-winning WHEELS in 2015. I took a leap and asked them if they’d like to publish it—rushing it to production and not knowing yet what the stories would be. It was a high point for me when they said they’d do it!
I found out that the subject interested a lot of people! I got more submissions that I could have dreamed of. I was hoping I’d get enough to make a decent sized volume. Instead I had to reject some. I worked with Wildside to decide exactly how long to make the book and it’s longer than I had planned, but not too much so.
I learned that I hate rejecting stories. There were just too many! I had to reject some very good ones that maybe didn’t play up the theme quite as well, or were too much like some of the others, or were fine stories, but didn’t grab me the way some of them did. I also learned, doing this, how subjective accepting and rejecting are. I was unsure exactly which ones to take at this stage, but went with my gut feelings and plowed ahead.
In retrospect, I wish I’d decided to publish two volumes, but by the time that occurred to me, it was getting too late.
I found out how useful my habit of keeping things on spreadsheets is. I would have been totally lost without that tool!
I learned that a bunch of the writers are enthusiastic promoters. If this volume succeeds in sales, it will be largely because of their efforts. I happened to pick stories from a bunch of go-getters! One extra bonus is that one of the writers, Laura Oles, is adept at writing press releases and gave us a bang-up one.
Several of us have picked some relevant charities to donate part or all of our proceeds to, since, as mentioned above, none of us will get rich from this. The inventiveness and generosity of the writers, demonstrated in their stories, was again evident in their charity picks.
The stories appear in the order in which the eclipse appears to their locations for the stories that deal with this present-day eclipse (some are historical and some include lunar eclipse):
Carol L. Wright
Paul D. Marks
Suzanne Berube Rorhus
Melissa H. Blaine
Joseph S. Walker
Margaret S. Hamilton
And here is the list of charities that will benefit from our publication:
Earth and Sky, Petconnect Rescue, Natural Resources Defense Council, Science Center in Finland, DonorsChoose.org, Friends of Goldendale Observatory, Friends of the Earth, Morehead Planetarium, Texas Museum of Science and Techonology, DAPCEP.org for STEM education for future astronomers and scientists in Detroit, and personal friends in need, all in the spirit of light and life.
BIO: Kaye George, national-bestselling, multiple-award-winning author, writes five series: Imogene Duckworthy; Cressa Carraway Musical Mysteries; People of the Wind (Neanderthal), the upcoming Vintage Sweets series, and as Janet Cantrell, the Fat Cat series. You can find her short stories in anthologies and magazines, her collection, A Patchwork of Stories, and her own anthology of eclipse stories, DAY OF THE DARK, by Wildside Press, July 2017. She reviews for Suspense Magazine and lives in Knoxville, TN.
Webpages: http://kayegeorge.com/ and http://janetcantrell.com/
Blogs: Solo: http://travelswithkaye.blogspot.com/ and http://janetcantrell.blogspot.com/
Group blog: http://www.killercharacters.com/
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4037415.Kaye_George
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B004CFRJ76