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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Proposed Anthology Business Plan (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Proposed Anthology Business Plan
extrinsic
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Hat Tree Creek Fiction Anthology, Online Edition
Proposed Year One Business Plan Summary
Projected first edition submission deadline August 31, 2013
Volume One, Edition One, Reading period July 1, 2013 through September 1, 2013
Anticipated first edition release date November 30, 2013

      "Fail to plan, plan to fail." —
       —— attributed to Winston Churchill

  • Purpose and goal; showcase Hatrack River Writers Workshop writers' original short fiction and short, stand-alone excerpts from original long fiction works; foster and encourage writers' skill development and professional development.
  • Mission; inclusive fiction publishing free of value judgments.
  • People; principal partner and associate partners: publisher partner, senior editor partner, assistant editor partner, production editor partner, business book partner: minimum two partners to share tasks, primarily mechanical style editing and bookkeeping. Partners from any place able to communicate proficiently in English using digital communication, primarily e-mail. Editor partners with proficient digital editing software applications experience and methods preferred. Microsoft Word "track changes" and similar: WordPerfect Office, Open Office, typescript files saved and shared in Rich Text Format, RTF, file format. Artwork shared in JPEG or GIF format, 5 inches width and 4 inches height.
  • Business profile; Limited Liability Partnership business model operating on a shoe-string start-up budget, publishing Hatrack River writers' not-for-profit, online digital short fantastical fiction to contributors, fellow writers, marketplace scouts, and readers of fantastical fiction. Clean, Simple, Plain Wrapper Slick (slick: glossy digital magazine), Standard Online Publication Format aesthetic.
  • Graphic artwork accepted on a case-by-case basis and on the same terms as typescript submissions, as outlined in the Business Model below.
  • Marketing plan; generate word-of-mouth buzz.
  • Expansion Plan
    • One annual edition, second annual edition if circumstances favor.
    • Market testing from Web site launch forward and word-of-mouth notification and feedback by participants.
    • Encourage craft, intent, and meaning analysis discussions at online forums, like Hatrack River's Discussing Published Hooks and Books forum. Discourage fault-finding discussions.
    • Promote the online digest as a venue for writers' professional development.
    • Participate in additional marketing, promotion, publicity, advertising as opportunities present; i.e., participation in other writing venues, interviews, writing conferences, and fan convention venues, etc.
    • Further, perhaps an annual best of the best Print On Demand print edition anthology, and its attendant different contractual terms, recognizing outstanding creative accomplishment for selected fiction works.
  • Damage control plan; cease business operations, remove all content from publication, notify concerned consumers, contributors, and agencies of business termination, and apologize for unforeseen outcomes.
  • Cash flow assessment
    Total anticipated year one cost breakdown:
    • Initial Limited Liability Partnership registration fee $125.00
    • Annual LLP fiscal year end report state filing fee (mandatory) $200.00
    • Annual domain name registration for two domains (dot Com and dot Org) $32.00 USD
    • Monthly bare-bones Web site hosting for one site $6.00, annually $72.00
    • U.S. Copyright Office registration, optional, per edition $35
    • International Standard Serial Number, ISSN, registration at no cost
    • Annual incidental expenses, postage, office expenses, paper, envelopes, printer ink, paper file folder architecture, etc., $100.00 to $200.00
    • Legal consultations, use release assignment contract templates, indemnity contracts, etc., ???
    • Total anticipated sales revenues $0.00
    • Anticipated cash contribution revenues ???
    • Total anticipated year one costs $700.00~
    • Total anticipated year one revenue $0.00
  • Business Model
    • Operate as an LLP to limit potential publisher and associates' liability exposure.
    • Establish LLP in order to raise operating funds from partner cash contributions, and conduct sweepstakes and contests, and promotional and publicity events.
    • in the event the organization becomes an ongoing concern, ease of conversion to a 501(c) nonprofit tax entity: limited liability partnership corporation.
    • And conduct business with associate partners from different state and country domiciles.
  • Publication Protocols
    • Writers submit original short fiction digital typescripts for publication.
    • Artists submit original digital graphic artwork for publication.
    • Writers and artists' Use Release Assignment contract and indemnity contract submitted with fiction or art submission.
    • Editors screen for and recommend typescript changes solely for mechanical style concerns.
    • Production editor designs, formats, and posts submissions for online, digital publication by a date certain.
    • Web site freely accessible to the global public on the date certain and forward into perpetuity, barring unforeseen circumstances.
    • Publication constitutes consumption of first global electronic publication reproduction rights.
    • Use Permission assigns perpetual nonexclusive reproduction rights for publication in one edition.
    • All published contributions will be open to online public access for perpetuity in archived editions; subject to removal as circumstances indicate.
    • All other reproduction rights remain with copyright holder.
    • In the event an original work is published by Hat Tree Creek, writer assumes all responsibility for due diligence: use permission assignment, prior publication acknowledgments and credits, obtaining and forwarding to publisher required use releases of others' intellectual property used, factual accuracy, re: honest and good faith representation of intellectual property ownership; mechanical style, content, organization, expression, originality, and free of slanderous and libelous content and infringing content, etc. This writer responsibility clause also applies to original, reprint publication works and any submitted artwork.


[ January 20, 2013, 07:53 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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History
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Makes my eyes glaze over.

How do you propose raising the $700?

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LDWriter2
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Wow, that took some work. Well thought out too.

One or two questions though.

You mention artwork is that for more than just the cover?

And, I could have missed something, what are the plans to raise the $700?

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extrinsic
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Initial financing will be out-of-pocket, mine for domain registration, site hosting, the LLP application, copyright registration, and
headquarters' office expenses. We'll see what else comes in during the first-year interim, the balance not due until the end of year one. Silent partner contributions, active partner contributions are welcome; other sources to be determined.

Submitted graphic artwork will be considered and selected from for cover, clip art, and per published short work.

I'm a bit of a graphic designer too. I can make graphics design and editing applications do cartwheels and handstands.

My philosophy herein is threefold; one, transparency and inclusivity; two, writer's professional development; and three, personal professional development. My personal goals are twofold: foster and expand a writing community culture, and practice practical publishing business.

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History
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I suggest:
(1) provision and updates of financials to the Membership, since this anthology is for our benefit.
(2) provision of a business account (Paypal?) to which contributions can be made to cover expenses.

I would also encourage nearly all communications, including submissions, be electronic. I appreciate that any signed agreements may necessitate paper and snail mail (though I believe .pdf files permit electronic signature).

I still find the "business" of such a venture as you outline intimidating (demonstrating my country boy ignorance and naivite, I guess). With so many Hatrack members electronically self-pubbing so quickly and easily, it didn't seem to me such a project should be this complex. Live and learn, I guess.

On reflection, will there be a challenge finding "Members" to serve as editors? There may be complaint of "nepotism" (as it were) if editors submit stories for consideration and they are accepted. I surmise more will be interested in seeing their stories selected for inclusion rather than doing the selecting and being excluded from submitting. One could consider anonymous submissions, such as occurs with WOTF; however I imagine most of the submissions will be stories that in part or whole have been previously shared on the Forum. Your thoughts?

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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genevive42
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Not to be a wet blanket, but beware if anyone is planning on using a portion of a larger work, or characters from what you hope to become a later novel. I know of at least one agent who would consider those rights encumbered and would be very unlikely to sign on for that.
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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by History:
I suggest:
(1) provision and updates of financials to the Membership, since this anthology is for our benefit.
(2) provision of a business account (Paypal?) to which contributions can be made to cover expenses.

Yes, (1), transparency for the sake of professional development.
And, (2), PayPal accounts are easy-peasy to establish. I have a couple, one more wouldn't hurt.
quote:
Originally posted by History:
I would also encourage nearly all communications, including submissions, be electronic. I appreciate that any signed agreements may necessitate paper and snail mail (though I believe .pdf files permit electronic signature).

I'm familiar with PDF capabilities and how to create fillable fields in them. A print copy can be hand-signed, digitally scanned and then e-mailed as a PDF to a partnership address.
quote:
Originally posted by History:
I still find the "business" of such a venture as you outline intimidating (demonstrating my country boy ignorance and naivite, I guess). With so many Hatrack members electronically self-pubbing so quickly and easily, it didn't seem to me such a project should be this complex. Live and learn, I guess.

Self-publishing doesn't involve as much potential litigation risk as for an institutional publisher. A major risk for a publisher being infringement accusations.
quote:
Originally posted by History:
On reflection, will there be a challenge finding "Members" to serve as editors? There may be complaint of "nepotism" (as it were) if editors submit stories for consideration and they are accepted. I surmise more will be interested in seeing their stories selected for inclusion rather than doing the selecting and being excluded from submitting. One could consider anonymous submissions, such as occurs with WOTF; however I imagine most of the submissions will be stories that in part or whole have been previously shared on the Forum. Your thoughts?

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

Several Hatrack members have indicated interests being editors. Nepotism issues are mitigated by; one, inclusivity policy, limited to one per partner short fiction and one graphic per publication each edition, same for all contributors; two, transparency policy. Since all passable submissions, excepting ones exhibiting egregiously incurable mechanical style issues, will be published, I see no compelling need for blind submission. Actually, since the sole exclusion is of non-Hatrack members, validating membership will require self-identification.
quote:
Originally posted by genevive42:
Not to be a wet blanket, but beware if anyone is planning on using a portion of a larger work, or characters from what you hope to become a later novel. I know of at least one agent who would consider those rights encumbered and would be very unlikely to sign on for that.

This too is part of professional development, informed consent for deciding whether to publish with Hat Tree Creek and consume a reproduction right. Ideally, short fiction work publication will not impinge on other intellectual property rights. Better yet, the exposure might enhance writers' professional development potential.

[ January 21, 2013, 08:25 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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LDWriter2
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quote:
Originally posted by History:


I still find the "business" of such a venture as you outline intimidating (demonstrating my country boy ignorance and naivite, I guess). With so many Hatrack members electronically self-pubbing so quickly and easily, it didn't seem to me such a project should be this complex. Live and learn, I guess.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

extrinsic has already responded to this but I wanted to say that I had the same feelings but I just realized that when we do E-pub and POD for our own work we are dealing with just ourselves which makes things easier all the way around but with this anthology or magazine there are many people involved. Which does complicate things.
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LDWriter2
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One more thing. I forgot in my last post, I was a little confused on the format. Are we or you, doing a book type format or magazine type?
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extrinsic
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Suggested online publication will be magazine style. In the event of a best-of-the-best print edition for year two of year one contributions, suggested publication will be formatted as a digest-style trade paperback, similar to book publishing, and no internal color graphics.
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Robert Nowall
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Whoah.
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Reziac
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My brain hurts.

As to funding, have you looked into Kickstarter?

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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by Reziac:
My brain hurts.

As to funding, have you looked into Kickstarter?

A hurting brain cranks away, creatively sometimes, no?

I checked into a number of funding schemes. Kickstarter expresses guidelines that may not suit this ongoing project.

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EVOC
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Wow, all very well thought out. It is funny because I was just thinking about what happened to the Hatrack Anthology idea.

I have to agree with History, managing this as a business seems like a lot to take in. And I run a publishing business.

Why not find a publisher to work with? I just think with so many hands in one pot this is bound to become a huge project. Not to mention that if a publisher backs it, there becomes no reason to deal with all LLP paperwork, which will included taxes and such.

It seems like a large chunk to bite off for this project.

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extrinsic
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And miss out on all the fun of starting an enterprise? I've done an LLP before, and a dozen other enterprise startups, each fulfilling their purposes and goals before close of business. I'm currently operating a proprietorship. I've done chapter C, LLP, proprietorship enterprises. A 501{c) I've not done but moving in that direction for two projects, this one and a similar enterprise. The LLP I started also was a nonprofit enterprise, taxes were only assessed on merchandise sold at cost, retail sales tax. I know what I'm in for and how to do it, especially why an LLP is a sound decision.
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EVOC
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It certainly sounds like you know, I was just curious.

I don't know much about LLP and both the business I have owned (one in the past, and now Plasma Spyglass) were Sole Proprietorships.

I sit on the board of directors of a non-profit and we have a harder time staying non-profit. LOL But I don't pretend to understand the semantics of a non-profit.

In any case, you have this down. I'll be excited to submit some work for it.

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pdblake
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Some questions you may well have answered above, but I got a tad lost in the legalese:)

Who is the target audience?

What is there in this for the writer that a thousand other websites don't provide? What I can see from the above is that the writer gets coverage, but no renumeration. There are myriad sites out there that offer the same kind of coverage for no payment.

I take it this is open to Hatrack members only and that submissions will be dealt with in the usual manner?


I'll be happy to submit something when you get it up and running:)

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extrinsic
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This is a bootstrap project. If the market test works out, and then becomes a going concern, I foresee it evolving into a professional association dedicated to writer and artist members' professional development. Later phases will expand into; one, an annual best-of-the-best print publication with payment for contributing writers and artists; two, critical analysis essays of contributor's short fiction and artwork composed by members; and three, craft and voice and artwork method essays composed by members.

An anchor feature of respected professional associations is a prestigous publication and awards. A print best-of-the best edition fits that possibility. Ideally, screened by the membership rather than editors and judge panels.

Target audiences are Hatrack writers, writers generally, market scouts, and fantastical fiction readers.

Submissions are open to Hatrack members only. However, online publication submissions will only undergo screening and editorial responses for addressing mechanical style concerns. Further development of any work will be a writer's responsibility, though critical analysis responses may foster adjustments and professional development. One point on that, critical analysis isn't a fault-finding process or a value judgment. Critical analysis interprets method, what works, or interprets intent and meaning, or both synergistically: focused artistic scrutiny processes.

This will be different from other publishing venues to a degree mainly from being inclusive, transparent, membership driven, and dedicated to professional development. Bootstrap launch and booster phases into orbit. If it works out, huzzah! If it doesn't: nothing ventured, nothing gained.

[ January 22, 2013, 10:41 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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pdblake
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Sounds fine.

So when I get rejected you'll tell me why? That'll be a refreshing change.

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extrinsic
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Initial submissions will not be rejected, except for egregiously incurable mechanical style issues.

I envision eligibility for the print edition, if such comes to pass, being based on critical analysis responses. If your work garners a meaningful response, it would be eligible for the print edition and accompanied by the critical response. Objective criteria will determine if a critical response meaningfully suits a work. I'll post those criteria in time. First principle: reading and comprehension ease suiting the discourse community's sensibilities.

Telling why a work didn't make the print edition, I'm not that enlightened. In an ironic way, the reason will be because the audience wasn't passionate enough about the work to compose a critical response.

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pdblake
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Ah, so just about anything can get published in the digital version?

And this is open to public critique so the writer can develop it?

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History
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quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:
Initial submissions will not be rejected, except for egregiously incurable mechanical style issues.

Contrarily, I believe there must be a quality threshold for story acceptance that goes beyond mere "mechanics". This threshold is determined by the anthology's editors of a "Best of Hatrack 201-".

Selection and inclusion should be something members aspire to, recognition among one's peers for quality work. Otherwise this is mere vanity publishing.

Editorial peer review and selection for inclusion is essential to establish any anthology's reputation (i.e. stories worth non-Hatrack member's, reviewer's, and editor's time to read), and to encourage Member's to improve and submit their best work of the year that, for whatever reason, has not been recognized by existing paying markets.

Members should aspire to be selected and have their stories among the best that Hatracker's have to offer. The incentive or disincentive to submit is often determined by the quality criteria (or lack thereof)--i.e. one's reputation is, in part, determined by the company one keeps.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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EVOC
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I am confused here now. I thought this was a yearly anthology of Hatrack writers.

If it is, we have to have a editorial process that includes rejections. First, we have to realize that if everything is accepted we will get a large influx of members to this forum that have no intent other than to be in our anthology. Second, a publication that accepts everything quickly loses its respect as being reputable.

But if we are talking about a website that allows writers to essentially post their works for critiques, I'm not sure I like that. First, I would be giving up first rights. Second, I can get all the same information, and even better quality critiques from this writers group.

Because if anyone is allowed to be published, and anyone is allowed to critique, then all this would be is a glorified writer's group.

I think, extrinsic, you need to post this idea in layman's terms. I think I might not be the only one confused by what the actual direction this is taking.

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extrinsic
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I'm not sure you-all understand the philosophy I envision. Inclusivity and transparency demand universal participation, albeit limited to a defined group. Professional development demands practical practice, tactile practice.

Other publishing venues screen from subjective criteria and personal sensibilities I'm not aesthetically able to define. They are unique to their respective individuals' subjective sensibilities. I am, though, able to analyze from objective criteria and my awareness of them is acute and broad. Injudicious summarization and explanation? Common. Awkward, unsettled narrative point of view? Common. Emotionally flat expression (voice)? Common. Lackluster audience appeal? Common. And much, much more.

"I know it when I see it," Justice Potter Stewart's infamous saying, is about all that can be meaningfully said of any superlative writing's aesthetic merits.

Frankly, from reading and analyzing Hatrack writers' writing, much of published writing for that matter, I think there's room for improvement. But that's my aesthetic sensibilities at play. Who am I to decide who's in and who's out? Do I want to be excluded? No. No. No. Who will play the decision-maker role? You or you or you-all? Will the product be a consequence of a popularity pagentry? Who will decide who fulfills the decision-maker role? Not me. I don't want those jobs. Selection criteria will, however, evolve, I'm sure.

I do not envision an open critique practice, not as done conventionally on writing workshops. I suggest critical analysis responses focused on merits, virtues, and uncommon qualities. Not approving of what works, not disapproving of what doesn't work, not fault-finding, but profound expression that enhances the conversation that writing and art is.

I feel a critical analysis responder earns merits from doing so, professional development, prestige, and warm support from a united and cordial community.

For startup purposes, let's get the ball rolling by an open acceptance policy and see where things settle out, huh? Otherwise, this might not be my cup of tea.

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History
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Dear extrinsic,

I admire and respect your business acumen, and your outline of a business model that addresses the legal concerns of a publisher.

I'll again echo EVOC's sentiments, however. I am leery, as a reader and as a writer, of publishers who publish anyone or anything. I'd likely not submit to this, even though I first broached the idea.

My preference is for editors who discriminate for quality in picking stories for a "best of year" anthology. What criteria constitute "quality" can be discussed by Members. I'd trust a panel of volunteer editors chosen from (or voted in annually by) fellow Hatrackers to make this selection.

Then again, why not consider both?
1) an "open acceptance" showcase as you propose, and separately
2) an anthology that challenges members to have their best work of the year judged by an editorial panel of our peers?

Respectfully,
Dr.Bob

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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by History:
Then again, why not consider both?
1) an "open acceptance" showcase as you propose, and separately
2) an anthology that challenges members to have their best work of the year judged by an editorial panel of our peers?

Respectfully,
Dr.Bob

That is precisely what I propose. Begin with an online showcase of best to-date efforts and follow up with an annual best-of-the-best efforts edition chosen from those and available in print POD. In order to be eligible for the editorial panel though, I envision a run-off between critical responders to determine panelists. Now those, I have some guidance to offer, objective criteria. Subjective parameters, notwithstanding, are another matter.
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LDWriter2
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Sounds like you know what you are doing and evidently you find it fun and/or challenging, so I say go for it.

Just tell me what I am supposed to do and when, when it comes to the stories. If I have any questions or forget anything I can ask.


Or one thing the length of the stories. Is that to be decided or will that come later when it's more organized?

I have a couple shorter stories I may give a shot here.

Or did you want something written for the Hat Tree Creek Fiction Anthology specifically? Now that could make an interesting challenge for the challenge section.

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extrinsic
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About every writer I've met and every writing mentor of mine when asked how long a story should be has answered as long as it takes to tell the story.

I'm inclined to agree with that philosophy, as lacking in a firm answer as it is. For the anthology I believe audience sensibilities should be accounted for. The average reader reads two thousand words in about ten minutes, five thousand words in about a half hour, ten thousand words in about an hour. During the heydays of digest publication circa 1950s, these principles drove a publication's length criteria: coffee and watercooler break readers, ten minutes; lunch break readers, thirty minutes; commuter train or bus readers, sixty minutes. I imagine our audience will be some from column A, some from column B, some from column C, and some who get around to it during nonwork time or are not qualifiable based on length preferences.

Since Web publication does not have conventional space limitations, length is not an overriding factor. When it comes to print publication, though, space limitations are a concern.

I suggest write whatever suits your fancy. If you'd like to start a challenge, a suggestion I'd offer is to consider who the audience is for such products and thus what kind of prompt or theme you envision that would fulfill that want. For example, a lot of marketplace culture chatter perpetually says there's not enough fresh hard science fiction, nor enough fresh high fanatasy, nor enough fresh supernatural horror. Character and voice emphasis are other areas in demand.

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pdblake
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Not wanting to sound disrespectful here, but it sounds as if you want to publish the contents of the slush pile because you don't feel qualified to judge it.

If that is so then I can't see many readers wanting to wade through it for you to find the one or two that you should have published.

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Grumpy old guy
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extrinsic, I understand the desire and urge to be inclusive of all, to give acceptance without judgement. The ideal is laudable, the mechanics, well, let's just say, they're difficult.

I have critiqued stories by writers who, to put not to fine a point on it, were juvenile. And I have strived purposefully to be positive and encouraging in what I've said; not always successfully.

Now, thinking a little about e-publishing the 'magazine', I think those stories that are included at that level need some sort of filtering system. Hatrack members only is a first criteria; there need to be some others. I only encourage that to prevent every 'dog's-body' from trying to join Hatrack so they can get in the anthology. Assuming, that is, it becomes well known, and possibly respected. perhaps a volunteer panel of 10 'reviewers' chosen at random to vet initial submissions.

I mention the 'at random' to negate accusations of nepotism.

Just a thought or two to encourage more debate and development.

Phil.

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History
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quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:
quote:
Originally posted by History:
Then again, why not consider both?
1) an "open acceptance" showcase as you propose, and separately
2) an anthology that challenges members to have their best work of the year judged by an editorial panel of our peers?

Respectfully,
Dr.Bob

That is precisely what I propose. Begin with an online showcase of best to-date efforts and follow up with an annual best-of-the-best efforts edition chosen from those and available in print POD. In order to be eligible for the editorial panel though, I envision a run-off between critical responders to determine panelists. Now those, I have some guidance to offer, objective criteria. Subjective parameters, notwithstanding, are another matter.
Extrinsic,
I'll echo the Grumpy's and Pdblake's sentiments, but still respect your vision.

In bold is my key objection. I would be hesitant to submit to a publisher who prints anything and has no threshold (and thus no reputation) for quality.

I would submit to editors who accept or reject stories based on quality for inclusion in an anthology of original work representing our best unsold efforts of the year. These would be stories that Members may at most have seen only the first 13 lines (except for Members who have performed full story critiques).

My suggestion to "do both" is to accomodate your vision of the former and yet retain my original vision of the latter--not to mix the two.

Or, humbly, we could offer the different proposed visions to the Membership and ask what they prefer.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

[ January 23, 2013, 10:52 AM: Message edited by: History ]

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EVOC
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Extrinsic,

Everything you say you don't want is everything the publishing industry is about. You have to have a filter, and an Editor is the filter. Eventually this will have to happen, as who will decide the best of the best? What I might this is best, may not be best to you, or History, or Pdblake. That is part of being an editor. You get to publish what you think is best.

If there was a uniform "best" than we wouldn't have the vast array of publications we have today. We have those because of the opinion factor of editors. It also is exactly the thing that gives me, as a writer, hope. I know that just because Editor X hated it, there is still likely an Editor that wants it. And so far, that has been the case.

I just don't think you will get much in the way of quality by being a 100% (or close) acceptance publication. Go check out the 100% acceptance ezines out there. You will find, even with 100% acceptance, they have trouble meeting their publication deadlines. Why? Well I hypothesize that it is because a low number of writers wish to submit to them. And when you read what they publish, you will probably understand why so few want to publish.

As a writer, I want to have my name attached to publications known for something. Quality, edgy fiction, great characters, are all things to look for.

To echo what pdblake said, readers will not sort through stories to find the ones they like. You have to have an identity and that means both subjective and objective editing.

The hardest rejection letters I send as an editor where for stories that were beautifully told, with almost nothing I can critique about it, but is simply didn't fit my magazine's identity. Those absolutely suck to send out, but if you want to run a successful publication it is required.

Please don't think I am attacking your business plan. I'm just trying to give you perspective from what I have learned over the last half a year since I opened my business. It is a different view when your responsible for the entire publication, versus being a writer, or even a regular editor. Adding the business perspective changes everything.

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History
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EVOC,

The one thing shared by the proposals, both extrinsic's Hatrack "showcase" and mine for an annual "Best of Hatrack" anthology, is that there is no "identity" other than stories are by Hatrackers. They can be of any genre or none or a mix. They can (at least in electronic format) be of any length (though I'd suggest excluding novels). I only propose that editors chosen (or rotated) among volunteers select for quality.

In our Hatrack "Challenges", we've been assigning "points" in selecting winners. I surmise we could develop criteria and have editors award points for Plot, Chracterization, Voice, Style, Originiality, etc.

Stories could also be divided into categories based on length (e.g. best flash, short story, novelette, novella)as they do for Hugos. We'd need to come up with our own name--Tophats, or some such [Wink] .

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

[ January 23, 2013, 07:54 PM: Message edited by: History ]

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extrinsic
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Consider my proposal from a different approach.

A few platitudes to get out of the way first. Do things this way because that's the way they've always been done. The current, prevailing short fiction publishing model is only a hundred years old. Technological and cultural innovations drove the evolution of magazines and digests. Before, short and long fiction were routinely first published in newspapers mostly, some chapbooks, and otherwise sponsored by patrons or by the writers themselves.

C.J. Cherryh's wise saying, "Follow no rule off a cliff" about mechanical style, voice, and craft proscriptions coming out of the mouths of critics, bowdlerized: Follow no mob off a precipice.

I don't envision doing things the same way ten thousand other tottering online and print short fiction publishers are. "Just following the orders" is a dangerous precedent upon which to rely. I don't want the financial and sweat equity risk exposure, the bookkeeping heartaches, the accusations of narrow-mindedness, the artistic jealousy bickering among rejected publication aspirants.

I want to partcipate in a culture group of involved, cordial, respectful professionals furthering the state of their art and the state of the art at large, and encouraging and supporting up and coming writers. Noble and lofty ambitions, I know.

The evolution of the digital age is still in its infancy. The horizons are wide open expanses ripe for innovation.

On a pragmatic side, my proposal makes ease of correspondence across the globe practical, timely, and frustration free.

Let's look at that from a different perspective.

A member submits a best-effort, digital typescript. The typescript undergoes several rounds of copyediting for mechanical style concerns. The typescript is published online for public access. The critical path flow forks though.

One fork tine makes convenient access for enrolled member (username and password protected) copyeditors to work from. There the whole ball of wax is. Could you, please, read "Typescript Unbound," mark it up for mechanical style adjustment recommendations, and forward for the second round, or third and final pass? Then the recommendations go back to the writer for accepting, recasting, or refusing recommendations. If recommendations are accepted or style awkwardnesses recast, and the typescript returned by the writer, another final copyediting pass before publication. All this on rigid deadlines.

One fork tine provides convenient access for readers. "Typescript Unbound" is published. The writer tells family, friends, acquaintances about the publication. Some of them have a look-see. Maybe they sample other works. Maybe they chat about some of them, the site, the publication. All good. Maybe word-of-mouth buzz is generated. Maybe some of them will be back. Maybe some of them will later buy the best-of-the-best print anthology.

One fork tine provides convenient access to members inclined to comment critically, which are submitted online as well and meet objective criteria: voice, craft, or audience appeal analysis; interpretive analysis of intent and meaning; or interpretive analysis based on a categorical convention compared to a genre, school of thought, or literary canon.

These are volunteer. self-selected panelists for electing works for best-of-the-best awards, prizes, and publication; online and print. Their responses will be published too, but subject to screening. I'll start and post criteria and samples for inspiration and prompts. These also will undergo a more focused copyediting and developmental editing process. Clear, concise, accessible, meaningfully appealing commentary. It won't happen overnight, though. Main focal points are to comment accessibly, appealingly, and meaningfully.

The latter fork tine serves beneficial purposes, like panelists are self-selected, striving for critical commentary excellence, and developing as readers and writers, perhaps editors, critics, and publishers as well.

[ January 23, 2013, 07:27 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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History
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Certainly an interesting, different, experimental (and to my knowledge untried) model, extrinsic.
You could certainly give it a go.

However as a Hatrack Member supported project, may I suggest you humbly gauge if Hatrackers would be interested in this instead of the traditional model of selected editors choosing the best of the stories submitted for an annual "Hatrack" anthology?

Whatever is done should be Membership driven.

Of course, there may be insufficient Member interest in either model and this, too, would be important to know--particularly before anyone invests financially in the project.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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EVOC
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quote:
Originally posted by History:
EVOC,

The one thing shared by the proposals, both extrinsic's Hatrack "showcase" and mine for an annual "Best of Hatrack" anthology, is that there is no "identity" other than stories are by Hatrackers. They can be of any genre or none or a mix. They can (at least in electronic format) be of any length (though I'd suggest excluding novels). I only propose that editors chosen (or rotated) among volunteers select for quality.

In our Hatrack "Challenges", we've been assigning "points" in selecting winners. I surmise we could develop criteria and have editors award points for Plot, Chracterization, Voice, Style, Originiality, etc.

Stories could also be divided into categories based on length (e.g. best flash, short story, novelette, novella)as they do for Hugos. We'd need to come up with our own name--Tophats, or some such [Wink] .

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

Identity is not always identified solely by genre or style of writing. Identity comes from what types of stories the editors decide to publish. Sometimes that is objective, but mostly subjective.

I think Extrinsic has an idea, and a good plan about how to achieve it. It is very possible this could become the next big idea in publications. But like anyhing ground breaking it can take time to build up steam.

But, when it comes to a Hatrack (our writers group as a whole), I'd much prefer a more traditional anthology open to our group. That is what I have always had in mind when the idea of an anthology has come up.

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pdblake
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Still seems to me like nothing a writer couldn't get from a decent crit group.
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History
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If we were to have an editorial panel to determine a "Best of..." annual anthology:

1) Who would be interested in volunteering as editors? What "credentials", if any, should they possess?

2) What (relatively) objective criteria should be used in promoting stories up the editorial chain for consideration for inclusion?

3) Should there be categories based on length (flash, short story, novelette, novella)?

3) Should there be categories based on genre (sf, fantasy, horror, historical, literary, etc..)?

4) Who would be interesting in volunteering in production, contracting-legal, website design...? What "credentials", if any, should they possess?

Etc...

Extrinsic has taught me that even a simple annual "Best of..." anthology will require some thought, commitment, and work. And that this would be a great learning experience for any of us as writers, readers, and reviewers.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by pdblake:
Still seems to me like nothing a writer couldn't get from a decent crit group.

Critics and critcism come in many forms. Workshop critics, reviewers known as critiquers, focus on what works and what doesn't for them individually when criticizing a work in progress, mainly, in a dynamic workshop, clarity and appeal, and craft and voice.

Media reviewers, critics, tend to express personal opinions about artistic aesthetics and merits of a given work. They give a work a thumbs up or down and self-select to dictate taste to an audience. Their commentary expresses their personal sensibilities.

Promotional reviewers, critics, tend to promote a given work. Still personal sensibilities, although the purpose is to promote the work.

Astroturf reviewers, critics, compose personal vanity reviews, either vacuously saying a work is great or horrible and not much else.

Literary reviewers, critics, impersonally analyze a given work's context and texture, place within a canon, and interpret intent and meaning. This conversation also promotes a work but, unlike the others, it enhances the conversation and, not coincidentally, the work's reputation from meaningfully contributing to the conversation.

I propose the last. Many accomplished, winning writers got that way by participating in and contributing meaningfully to the conversation. Their skills developed as a consequence and they garnered promotional support for their work from like-minded peers.

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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by History:
If we were to have an editorial panel to determine a "Best of..." annual anthology:

1) Who would be interested in volunteering as editors? What "credentials", if any, should they possess?

2) What (relatively) objective criteria should be used in promoting stories up the editorial chain for consideration for inclusion?

3) Should there be categories based on length (flash, short story, novelette, novella)?

3) Should there be categories based on genre (sf, fantasy, horror, historical, literary, etc..)?

4) Who would be interesting in volunteering in production, contracting-legal, website design...? What "credentials", if any, should they possess?

Etc...

Extrinsic has taught me that even a simple annual "Best of..." anthology will require some thought, commitment, and work. And that this would be a great learning experience for any of us as writers, readers, and reviewers.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

Your questions, sir, feel a bit rhetorical to me, intended to elicit answers from others.

My answer: I have credentials in all the above, but do not want to carry the whole burden, not without ample compensation, and if exposed to the risks, commensurate rewards.

My sense of 3) and 3) is see what shakes out and adjust accordingly.

As far as 2), I feel that's a matter of carefully defining the audience and the house's creative slant. Like conflict resolution type stories only. Or other organizing principles than conventional plot stuctures. And so on, beginning with first principles: facilitate reading and comprehension ease and audience appeal.

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aspirit
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quote:
One fork tine makes convenient access for enrolled member (username and password protected) copyeditors to work from....

One fork tine provides convenient access for readers....

One fork tine provides convenient access to members inclined to comment critically, which are submitted online as well and meet objective criteria: voice, craft, or audience appeal analysis; interpretive analysis of intent and meaning; or interpretive analysis based on a categorical convention compared to a genre, school of thought, or literary canon.

Hi, extrinsic. I don't understand the fork structure of your explanation above, but I'm guessing what you're saying is:

Three primary groups will look at the stories: (1) volunteer copyeditors who [were approved by someone to] access the stories through a password-protected route, presumably before the stories are published; (2) the general public; and (3) Hatrackers willing to critique about techniques while avoiding mention of what they like and don't like.

The first group is essential to maintaining readability and minimal credibility. Stories full of comma abuse and befuddling phrases would be embarrasing for everyone involved, and readers would be wary of returning to the site. I get this part.

I like the idea of family and friends going to one place to read an example of my work, but is it worth giving up first publication rights for no money or prestige? Maybe others here will get excited about this feature; however, I'd probably continue to e-mail stories to the people I know. That way, I can choose the stories most appropriate to the reader and ask for the kinds of critiques that might help with those stories. That doesn't mean I wouldn't submit a story to what you're calling an anthology; I simply wouldn't tell everyone I know that I did.

Wanting a place for critiques of complete stories is understandable. One problem I see with publishing a story for the benefit of the critiques is that making changes to sell that story elsewhere could become awkward. Will each writer have authority to delete his own story from the online anthology?

I expect this to be fun, seeing how the anthology and related projects develop.

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History
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quote:
Your questions, sir, feel a bit rhetorical to me, intended to elicit answers from others.

My answer: I have credentials in all the above, but do not want to carry the whole burden, not without ample compensation, and if exposed to the risks, commensurate rewards.

My sense of 3) and 3) is see what shakes out and adjust accordingly.

As far as 2), I feel that's a matter of carefully defining the audience and the house's creative slant. Like conflict resolution type stories only. Or other organizing principles than conventional plot stuctures. And so on, beginning with first principles: facilitate reading and comprehension ease and audience appeal.

Dear extrinsic,

You sound upset with me. That was not my intent.

I used to be called "sir" a lot when I served in the military during the Gulf War, and still get it occasionally in my current profession, but it is a first for me to be so addressed on a peer forum like this. Just call me "Bob" or, if you prefer, by my username "History." [Smile]

Rhetorical questions do not require answers. My intent is to elicit answers from others, to build a consensus, instill excitement, and inspire support.

Am I wrong in believing this thread is not to ask each other questions and discuss what a proposed annual Hatrack member anthology should look like and on how it may be devised?

You are absolutely correct. You should not "carry the whole burden." That would be unjust. As a Hatrack-based effort, the membership should guide what the proposed anthology should be and share in its construction. Thus my questions.

What do members want?
What skills (or merely time and willingness to help) can be brought to the project (in addition to your own prodigious ones) to share "the burden" and by such inclusion make the project representative of the Membership?

"Of 3) and 3)..." Ha! Need my own proof-text editor. [Wink]
These questions are merely proposed to generate discussion of what we would like to see in a proposed Hatrack anthology, discuss what features we desire before we build? This is the time for ideas.

Or should this be a topic for a different thread?

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by History:
Dear extrinsic,

You sound upset with me. That was not my intent.

I used to be called "sir" a lot when I served in the military during the Gulf War, and still get it occasionally in my current profession, but it is a first for me to be so addressed on a peer forum like this. Just call me "Bob" or, if you prefer, by my username "History." [Smile]

Not upset, anything but. I come from a background where formal address is a sign of respect.

"These questions are merely proposed to generate discussion of what we would like to see in a proposed Hatrack anthology, discuss what features we desire before we build? This is the time for ideas.

Or should this be a topic for a different thread?"

Please carry on. I'm behind you.

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History
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P.S. I recall we have shared thoughts and discussion regarding a Tales from the Treehouse anthology before and failed to achieve anything, which I found disappointing [ http://www.hatrack.com/cgi-bin/ubbwriters/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=007282;p=0&r=nfx#000000 ]

While I may have ideas (oy, do I have ideas), I certainly do not possess your publishing or business experience, extrinsic.

To avoid the same end as the workers upon the Tower of Babel, I'll shut up in hope that something is achieved this time. Lead the way, extrinsic!

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History
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Ha! You are a good fellow, sir.
But it is true that I have had my say. Lead on!
Let's see what we can devise.
I look forward to learning from you.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by aspirit:
Hi, extrinsic. I don't understand the fork structure of your explanation above, but I'm guessing what you're saying is:

Three primary groups will look at the stories: (1) volunteer copyeditors who [were approved by someone to] access the stories through a password-protected route, presumably before the stories are published; (2) the general public; and (3) Hatrackers willing to critique about techniques while avoiding mention of what they like and don't like.

The first group is essential to maintaining readability and minimal credibility. Stories full of comma abuse and befuddling phrases would be embarrasing for everyone involved, and readers would be wary of returning to the site. I get this part.

I like the idea of family and friends going to one place to read an example of my work, but is it worth giving up first publication rights for no money or prestige? Maybe others here will get excited about this feature; however, I'd probably continue to e-mail stories to the people I know. That way, I can choose the stories most appropriate to the reader and ask for the kinds of critiques that might help with those stories. That doesn't mean I wouldn't submit a story to what you're calling an anthology; I simply wouldn't tell everyone I know that I did.

Wanting a place for critiques of complete stories is understandable. One problem I see with publishing a story for the benefit of the critiques is that making changes to sell that story elsewhere could become awkward. Will each writer have authority to delete his own story from the online anthology?

I expect this to be fun, seeing how the anthology and related projects develop.

Hi, aspirit,

You've got the gist of what I propose, excepting how criticisms might go. Not critique for developing publishibility. A discourse secondary to publication.

Let's look at an example. What does time travel mean figuratively in H.G. Wells' The Time Machine? A close anaylsis might explore how time travel works in H.G. Wells novel. No explanation, no summarization, just a baldly stated fact, albeit fiction, of the function of the device. Selecting various related motifs from the text reveals the rise and fall of civilizations, cultures, societies more or less reflecting past societies. Wells figurative premise assumes those who don't know their pasts are destined to repeat them until ultimately they are destroyed by their self-serving ignorance. The novel has an overtly political moral and message. Yet Wells' time travel motif became a major premise for science fiction that followed.

I don't personally believe anyone has reinvented or reimagined the time travel motif quite as innovatively as Wells did. He looked into the future as if from the lens of recorded history. Exquisite. Inspired. Genius. Maybe an equally well-developed and artistic premise is Isaac Asimov's application of psychohistory. Psychohistory was an actual social science with respectable standing in the early twentieth century. Asimov gave it creative wings into the future.

Professional associations' reputations stand or fall on their flagship products. The same applies to commercial enterprises. The National Book Critics Circle is one example of a professional association of critics. Their flagship is the annual National Book Critics award, awarded for distinction in fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and so on.

Otherwise, NBCC recommends standards for their membership's and critics' in general professional conduct. Membership and participation establish credentials and prestige for the membership, the association, the members individually, and the profession as a whole. They have detractors. Tel est la vie, such is life. But NBCC advances the state of the art and benefits society as a whole. Without the flagship award product, they'd be soley an insular and self-serving association.

WoTF, likewise, I belive could not stand without its flagship anthology publication.

I propose both a critcal analysis flagship and an anthology flagship incorporated into one publication. From it I anticipate professional development, prestige, and awards and rewards will acrue to participants. Eventually, for those so concerned, financial returns. But the approval of a respectful and grateful audience is I believe a greater reward.

[ January 25, 2013, 02:34 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Grumpy old guy
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extrinsic, I'm going to have to give this some serious thought. I understand what you're proposing but I wonder if it isn't a bit utopian.

Aspiration is all well and good. Defining and creating the hard mechanics that deliver the desired results is another thing. I'm not saying it's impossible, just that it's difficult.

I actually think that the hardest part of this will be defining it. By that, I mean giving it an online feel, presence and purpose that 'expressly' and 'intrinsically' defines to those who may be interested in participating, exactly what they are participating in.

Anyone know a good 'spin-doctor'?

Phil.

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extrinsic
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I have doubts this project for a Hatrack anthology fits my grander ambitions. I am an imaginative and grand dreamer. This is me.

On one hand, members could just submit and either be noticed about acceptance or rejection. Maybe eventually get paid a pittance. And otherwise have no input into the publication. Traditional publishing at its most opaque expression.

On the other hand, requiring critical review and other participation in order to qualify for publication recognizes the responsibility of inclusivity and transparency as well as the privilege. I mean, the selection panel would be made up of contributors meaningfully commenting on other contributors' work or copyediting, proofreading, layout design, etc.

Actually, a developmental editing phase I haven't mentioned yet because I've seen some horrendous processes that deflate a work, a voice, and a writer, even by existing and reputable publishers. I think developmental editing has declined over the years since John W. Campbell, Jr., instituted the practice for Astounding Stories, later Astounding Science Fiction during the Golden Age of Science Fiction.

Campbell did delicately impose his creative vision on his writing stable and, consequently, the digest and the writers became the top tier in the market's golden era. But writers balk when their creative vision gets lost in the commercial shuffle and buried under the personal sensibilities of individual audience members. Creative property ownership suffers.

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History
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Yes, extrinsic, all this is true.
(Oh, yes, here I am butting in again--I'm incorrigible, and a simple fellow. This is me.).

I share your uncertainty that the proposed annual Hatrack anthology fits your "grander ambitions" and your dreams of writer development and guidance by "delicate" editors. Such dreams are noble and fascinating and should be pursued, and many Hatrackers may wish to participate. Nu? Give it a try.

Yet...simultaneously...why not help us also develop a more traditional model for review and selection of submissions for a "Best of the Treehouse" annual anthology, an anthology of "undiscovered" original stories (i.e. those that established markets chose not to purchase for whatever reason)? This could even be a stepping stone to your grander scheme, perhaps? Such an anthology appears, in my admitted ignorance, a much simpler project to do. And your publishing knowledge and expertise would be essential for even this simpler venture.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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rcmann
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"More than three people can't agree on what to have for lunch."

-Heinlein, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress

I think the one who is doing it, who put in the time and effort involved in planning it, and who has expressed a willingness to carry the heaviest load should go ahead and do whatever the hell he thinks best. It's his baby after all.

If it works, great. If not, so what? There's only one way to find out. Too many writers spend years suffering from "Should I? Should I not?" before they finally bite the bullet and write something, or submit something. This thread's wheel spinning debate is along the same lines. Screw that.

If you want to try something new, just to see what happens, and you are willing to take the heat for it. I say do as you please and devil take the nay-sayers.

If you don't do it, five years from now what have you got to look back on or learn from?

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