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How to Organize a Fantasy Anthology

Earlier today I had an interview with speculative fiction writer Eric Olive, who organized the Kickstarter for the speculative fiction anthology "Deep Signal".

I am going to add a link to the book on Amazon when it becomes available. At present it isn't available on Amazon just yet. So you will have to wait a bit, but feel free to Google it in case it becomes available sooner than I expect.



I am not going to post the interview in its entirety, but I am going to record some notes regarding publishing an anthology in the manner which he did. So the notes below are my notes, not direct quotes per se.

Notes

#1. Get a good contract template prepared for all the writers participating, which includes their word count range and payment agreement (eg. per word agreement).
#2. Create a database/list of all relevant data: Shipping addresses, PayPal accounts, other methods of payment, payment status, payment records/receipts.
#3. Make sure everyone gets paid. Hence the need to record payment status.
#4. Take care of your writers!
#5. Kickstarter [and similar websites] are one method of funding such a book to make sure they all get paid. Note that Kickstarter takes about 7.5% of the budget if you raise funds via Kickstarter.
#6. Get at least 2 big name authors and pay them top industry rate. 9 to 10 cents per word. (Pro rate is 6 cents per word.)
#7. Get it in the contracts that authors, especially the big name authors, must hype the book on social media at least 3 times.
#8. Make a press kit to help the authors promote the anthology.
#9. Promote the finished book on YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
#10. Get an ISBN number.
#11. Promote on Amazon and Ingram.
#12. Expect the project to take 6 to 12 months from start to the end of the editing process.
#13. Editing is the biggest hurdle.
#14. Life will interfere with the process.



Additional Notes / Conclusions

#1. If this anthology is very low budget, make sure all participants know they might only be paid a small amount.
#2. Honestly I think authors should be encouraged to hype the book 10 or more times. The more the merrier when it comes to marketing.
#3. If the budget allows, have print copies of the book made too.
#4. A person organizing an anthology should be highly motivated to finish the project. If they aren't motivated enough the project will be dead in the water.
#5. Get a professionally made book cover.


So why am I posting about this?

I am thinking of organizing a fantasy anthology and I am currently in the planning stage / looking for possible authors.

Unlike Eric, whose first foray into anthology has a $17,000 budget so he can get some big name authors, I am not interested in hiring big name authors. It would be nice I suppose, but hiring a big name author to write a short story can get awfully expensive.

How Much to Pay Authors

Top industry rate, as noted by Eric, is 9 to 10 cents per word. So a 15,000 word short story might cost you $1350 to $1500 to get the publishing rights for just one author.

Pro rate in comparison is 6 cents per word. So a similar 15,000 word short story by a less well known author might be $900.

Semi pro rate is 1 cent per word. $150 for each semi pro writer.

Now it should be noted that there are many publishers of short stories who publish fantasy / sci fi / speculative fiction who don't even pay semi pro rates, but instead a flat fee stipend, because their publication is so low budget they cannot afford to pay any more than that. Or worse, the publishers who only give a token copy of the publication or the writers are completely unpaid.

So for example here is a list of Flash Fiction Publishers, which you can see only 5 out of the 11 publishers pay anything, and none of them pay pro rates. The best payer is Leading Edge which pays semi pro rates (or as I call them, sempro).

In some cases the publisher even charges a fee just to submit your work, like in the case of Fiction War.


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