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

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Author Topic: Hatrack Anthology
Owasm
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Dr. Bob said he'd be willing to contribute to a Hatrack anthology. I know how to self-pub and would be willing to edit the thing and publish it. To do so we'd need some structure. This would be more of a vanity effort with no profit goal.

Here's a proposal (only as a straw man to get the discussion going)

Theme. just as in the First 13 challenges we need a unifying theme so we can bind all the genres together.

Length. Flash to 7,500 words.

Selection Method. Open to discussion. We need to have the quality up so there would need to be an submission committee???

Editing. An anthology would need some editing. What are thoughts on that? We will need some other eyes on the work.

Design. I've published seven novels and am adept enough with Adobe InDesign to create the inside graphic design. I'd volunteer my time.

Artwork. Don't know if you want to have any. Would complicate things with selection, etc. Maybe a cover design contest?

Publishing. I have an imprint that we can publish under. I use it for my own books. We can do an e-book version and a trade paperback version in Createspace which is Print-On-Demand and requires no upfront cost.

Royalties. We can donate any proceeds to Hatrack or split royalties based on some kind of split. TBD by participants.

Any interest?

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History
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quote:
Originally posted by Owasm:
Dr. Bob said he'd be willing to contribute to a Hatrack anthology. ...

Length. Flash to 7,500 words.

Ha! That usually excludes me. [Smile]

If you desire a "unifying theme" for the collection instead of mixture of diverse tales and genres (like WOTF or classic anthologies of the past like Nova, Universe, New Dimensions, Orbit, or Dangerous Visions) , it will need to be a great one to inspire enough top quality stories. I'd be happy with a "Best of Hatrack" anthology decided by our peers reviewing individual author submissions; but youse is in charge. [Wink]

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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extrinsic
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I've meditated long and hard on the complexities and contentious potentials of publishing a Hatrack anthology. I come against a bar from the contentions. The single adjustment I'm left with that minimizes contentions doesn't adequately for my sensibilities amelioriate them. And that is, that this is the way this works, I dictate terms. Period. Potential contributors then accept or boycott as they may.

Genre, forms, and formats: Fiction, short works, digest format, trade paperback print edition, complied for digital media.

Theme: An already existing unifying feature is in that this is for Hatrack members. I've been frankly surprised by open calls for submission contributions that nonetheless contain unifying features from contributions. Then only a matter of organizing individual contributions' order so that a theme is accessible for readers.

But that raises another contention area. Is this contribution up front in first position contentious or does it enhance what follows? An organizing principle for a short story collection is, first position strong opening, like for any short or long form's opening. Less strong after, then strongest about midway, then weaker contributions, weakest next to last, and a strong finish.

Selection process: This is an area of possible greatest contentions. A low-hanging fruit approach is for me about the only consideration for rejection. Weak mechanical style, disorganized content, and unsuitable content; i.e., contrary to general sensibilities: obscene, gratuitous sex and violence, mockery of cherished value and belief systems, propoganda, etc. Otherwise, no assessment for audience appeal, voice, or craft aspects.

Editing: again, a low-hanging fruit approach, minimal proofreading and copyediting adjustments solely for nondiscretionary mechanical style glitches, of which I am an educated, trained, and experienced professional.

Design: I too am proficient with InDesign, though my access to the costly program recently ended and I'm not planning to renew. Maybe the cloud version sporadically. I do, however own a copy of Corel suites that is equally as dynamic as InDesign suites. I am also expert in Corel products and publishing design and layout processes.

Artwork: interior color is problematic and costly for print editions. Black and white images are no bar to cost and design. Digital copy is no bar to interior color images. Ideally, a prose contributor also contributes one or two relevant images for inline artwork. I am also an expert in graphic design.

Cover art: while a contest is democratic and a source for inspiration, cover design has many considerations contestant artwork may not consider. A stronger cover artwork and most popular one may intefere with other essential cover content. I am also proficient in cover design.

Publishing: Having an imprint is useful. I imagine you also have an ISBN block or understand the processes and possibilities. While publishing through CreateSpace is a straightforward and economical process, CreateSpace only outputs to print media. Kindle publishing is another, separate process. Kindle is also only one of many DRM-protected and proprietary digital publishing outlets, that any given consumer may or may not have access to. Nook is Barnes & Noble's. Products created for the Amazon marketplace do not go always into the Barnes & Noble marketplace. Barnes & Noble has one daunting bar to distribution in that marketplace. Lulu.com products, however, can be distributed to Amazon and Barnes & Noble directly, especially Nook publishing, though not directly Kindle, though Kindle is not tied to any given marketplace except its own sourcing.

So a print product published through Lulu can be distributed to Amazon and Barnes & Noble and other online as well as possibly print distribution channels. Simplified access to Nook channels goes through Lulu. Kindle channels are through Kindle Publish. In other words, one all access print edition, one digital edition hosted by Kindle and Nook simplifies ISBN assignment and copyright registration and lowers costs.

I would not contribute if all access was not intended. ISBN assignment is a requirement for distribution no matter which channel published through. Copyright registration I can do for myself, though for an anthology a best practice is for a publisher to do so on behalf of and in contributors' names so that one registration cost covers the whole, instead of individual ones each bearing the same cost. Ten contributors, ten registrations and costs; or one volume, one registration and cost. Two actually, one for print edition, one for digital edition.

Royalties: this is perhaps the most potentially contentious and complex aspect. Pay contributors up front, one time, as per convention, on release date, prior to any sales projections of real revenue? No pay at all, hence lowest cover price? Pay after a season's end according to a sliding scale based on actual final sales? Pay for a limited time period so that managing pay doesn't continue indefintely?

Up front payment assumes a base rate consistent with conventions. $500 per contribution as W&IotF does per each contribution? Note that their anthology prints and sells through the print run of 50,000 copies in one year.

Cents per word? Consistent with digest conventions, a penny, a nickle, a dime, a quarter per word one-time up front?

When to pay? Up front on publication? Per season? Annually? Up through the first year? Perpetually?

If no payment, assume that contributors will purchase memento copies. Maybe one or two free copies as payment? That's no small investment; likewise, one-time payment at time of publication.

So say fifteen contributors, say an average of five copies each, that's 45 copies. Other interested consumers may number from a few dozen more to as many as the marketplace culture will bear. W&IotF is 50,000 interested consumers. The big three science fiction and fantasy digest publications' total subscribers number is also, not coincidentally, 50,000.

Putting aside blue sky day dreams, a likelihood of high demand will not necessarily depend on quality or merit of the contributions. If, and I mean if very strongly, the Hatrack River Writing Workshop name-brading is meaningfully associated with this anthology, I suspect the marketplace culture consumers will be interested.

A couple thousand copy sales will justify a contributor payment. I believe a couple thousand or more copy sales is likely. One area of potentially aggressive contention is as publisher, what are your profits from this endeavor? If several thousand copies sell and no contributor payment is forthcoming, that would be problematic and maybe earn an SFWA Writers Beware notice.

In an alternative perspective, say one or more contributors purchase numerous copies for private sales, marked up for profit incentivization. Any contributor has the option if no payment cost is added on top of cover price. However, contributors with marketing savvy mighy profit where ones without wouldn't, creating contentions.

I favor a limited one-year royalty payment. I don't have out-of-pocket investment capital to pay up front. But I do believe in payment for contribution. Toward that end, a quarterly sales revenue, royalty statement, and payment would be my preferred option as publisher or contributor.

Through CreateSpace, one statement would cover Amazon print sales, one for Kindle sales. Through Lulu, that would be one statement from Lulu for Lulu, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other sales and distribution channels, and one statement for Kindle.

Division of royalties after costs, like ISBN and copyright registration, and other, would respect various contributions: writer contribution and artwork if included, other artwork and design and layout, publication preparation, design, and layout, editorial contributions, proofreading, copyediting, and copywriting, artwork preparation, frontmatter contributions, editor or publisher introduction or foreword essay, and probably, possibly, for using Hatrack River's name-branding (trademark).

Another cost consideration is advance review copies. Both CreateSpace and Lulu require publisher purchase one ARC for final proof approval prior to release. Other ARCs might be distributed to potential reviewers: in order to develop back cover promotional blurbs for inclusion in final release copy and as advertising copy purposes, to advance publicize the release, and to single out potential readers who might generate word-of-mouth buzz for promotional purposes. Marketing strategies, in other words. (I'm giving away one of my A-game marketing strategies here.)

Other considerations to keep in mind: a publication of this nature can become a stepping stone to a successful career, for publisher, editor, or writer, and anchor a subculture as a flagship. If associated with Hatrack River workshops, this would become a flagship, an out front identity feature of the subculture.

I wouldn't touch this at all without an intellectual property lawyer's vetting of at least a comprehensive release contract, indemnifying publisher from all liabilities arising from publication. I have several suitable templates.

[ November 07, 2013, 07:50 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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axeminister
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Cool Idea.

I'm willing to donate one of my WotF HM stories to this. It's around 5k. (If it's desired and fits the bill, etc.)

You can have 1st WW pub rights.

I only want the rights/option to self pub down the road. A year later, whatever...

Axe

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Merlion-Emrys
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I might would be interested in having one of my already-submitted-everywhere pieces in such an anthology.

Like Dr. Bob, I don't see the need for any unifying conceptual theme among the stories...the theme would be that of them all coming from Hatrackians. If anything, I'd say it would be better to have a wide range, showing the diversity of styles, subject matter and themes that exist among us all. A Jewish themed story from Dr. Bob, a Nine Roads story from me perhaps, some meat and potatoes sword and sorcery from you, Owasm, and so on and so forth foggy green tea etc etc.

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Owasm
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I'm amenable to most anything. My conditions are, as I said, a straw man proposal. If we don't put too many restrictions on the anthology, it will be published. Lots of rules will ensure it will never see the light of day. I've got plenty of stories to use... just need to find the right one.

A few more comments and then we'll set up an Anthology group in the Groups forum and bring this anthology to life.

One thing that I would like, would be permission from the forum (OSC?) to use the name and logo of the Hatrack River Writers Workshop. KDW, could you check into that? It doesn't have to be an official Hatrack publication, but an acknowledgement that the stories come from its members.

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LDWriter2
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I like the idea of a mixture, unless we do a theme on the Treehouse but few people seem to like that idea. I have quite a few stories that would be okay. But I think maybe go as high as 9,500 words. If I recall correctly Dr. Bob isn't the only one to have a problem with shorter stories here.


And as a submission committee. Sounds good except for one thing. I think most people here have not been published so if we get too strict there would be few members who could get in. Of course we would want some level of writing and story telling but how high might be tricky.

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Pyre Dynasty
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I'd be up for this.
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pdblake
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I would like to give this a go too. Though I'd need to give myself a kick up the backside first:)

Might do me some good. Let me know when you have something ironed out.

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RyanB
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I'll throw in my two cents.

Selection: I like the idea of having a submission committee that judges anonymously.

Editing: Perhaps we could make it known up front that if you are selected you have to edit two other stories. That way each story gets two editors.

Theme: I think Hatrack is enough.

Other thoughts: I'd be a lot more comfortable with this (and I think it'd be more successful) if it had OSC's blessing. Maybe he could donate a few reprint articles for inclusion.

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axeminister
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I demand this anthology have a representative or thrix from my faction!

Signed,
a trolls.

(Nice to see you Mr. pdblake)

Re: Limits/limitations, words or stories?
100k seems like a nice round number.
Or 13 stories, like WotF and whatever length it is, it is.

Regarding payment, not sure if I made myself clear that I'm not worried/interested in that. If someone like OWASM does a ton of work and makes a few bucks, great. Personally, I'm just excited by the concept and the opportunity.

Not to say I'll automatically be included. I anticipate needing to submit a top-quality story, but if I do get in, acceptance is all the "payment" I require.

Axe

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snapper
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I suggest all stories have some sort of connection to hatrack other than membership - such as an entry to one of the contests or an inspiration connected to a post or a 13 line opening posted here. I would imagine the point of the anthology would be as a promotional tool for hatrack.

Concerns: Hatrack is the brainchild, and an original story, of Orson Scott Card's. Titling any publication based on this forum may require his expressed permission.

Q: Would reprints be premittable?

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History
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quote:
Originally posted by Owasm:
I'm amenable to most anything. My conditions are, as I said, a straw man proposal. If we don't put too many restrictions on the anthology, it will be published. Lots of rules will ensure it will never see the light of day. I've got plenty of stories to use... just need to find the right one.

A few more comments and then we'll set up an Anthology group in the Groups forum and bring this anthology to life.

One thing that I would like, would be permission from the forum (OSC?) to use the name and logo of the Hatrack River Writers Workshop. KDW, could you check into that? It doesn't have to be an official Hatrack publication, but an acknowledgement that the stories come from its members.

Seeing all the posts, I am reminded of a favorite Three Stooges sketch where they are making beer and each of them, unknown to the others, adds the yeast. [Wink]

In the final matter, I believe he who does the work of taking this on has final say, and the rest either participate as instructed, or not. Iow, do not be too democratic, Owasm. Create the anthology you want, and have your minions (um, I mean, "delegates") help you achieve the goals you set.

Respectfully,
De. Bob.

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extrinsic
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In terms of rights, I suggest a season of exclusive rights, say one year, but rightsholder remains creator. After the year expires, both print and electronic edition rights remain; in other words, one year exclusive rights and afterward perpetual nonexclusive rights.

Reprints from first publication rights in the anthology are up to individual creators. Including reprints from other publications in the anthology I recommend against, mainly so that the entire anthology is new material.

Regardless, it's time to start composing and polishing a submission.

One of the concerns I've had, that I see no way around, is that contributors might dredge up a trunk story that's been rejected numerous times, all but abandoned, and dusted off for submission. Maybe there's life left in it; it might pass muster.

Page count: a reasonably priced trade paperback, 6 inch by 9 inch, cover price, is in the fifteen-dollar range. Print manufacturing cost depends on page count. Roughly 200 pages, ten percent, $1.50 retail royalty, amounts to about $15.00.

Publishing through CreateSpace or Lulu and a basic distribution package also lists on Canada and Britian as well as U.S. online booksellers. $15 USD equals about £9.34, €11.25.

Word count: For two hundred pages, six of which minimum for front and backmatter, 194 pages of content, averaging three hundred words per page: 58,200 words. Projecting average 4,000 words per story, fifteen stories.

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RyanB
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I have V28 WotF here with me. It's 577 pages to the end of the last story. That's 13 stories, 3 articles and introduction. There's also an illustration for each story and a short bio on the author and the illustrator.

The cover price is $7.99

I picked up V29 on Kindle. I think it was $2.99.

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extrinsic
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The Writers and Illustrators of the Future anthology is a pulp massmarket paperback, a price advantage. Its further economy of scale price advantages come from a single print run of 50,000 copies manufactured at one time. Plus, the anthology's publication preparation is partly sponsored by L. Ron Hubbard's bequest to the W&IotF trust.

Also, the word count cap for the WotF contest is 17,000.

Moneys from the trust fund the contest events: like prize money, winner lodging and attendance at the workshop and awards ceremony, etc., and the anthology; the contest coordinated by Author Services, the anthology produced by Galaxy Press, respectively, both subsidiaries of the Church of Scientology. Speaking of organization flagship publications.

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History
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It seems any plan to sell the proposed anthology is where problems lie, both in divvying up any proceeds and dealing with rights. In mapping this venture, I'd believe we'd find "Here there be monsters."

I concur with Axe. Visibility trumps profitibility. A free ebook where we celebrate our community, offering up some of the best we have to offer, would suffice for me--although I may not have anything short enough to contribute (if so, I'd offer to be one of the assistant editors if so desired). Non-exclusive pub rights should then suffice permitting Axe, and others, to self-pub or reprint if they so desire.

If the volume is decided to be sold, I'd suggest any proceeds be funneled back to cover costs to produce a similar Hatrack volume annually and/or donate them to charity. Anyway, that is what the mensch in me suggests. [Wink]

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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axeminister
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Oh I never said the book should be free, only that I myself didn't want any money for my story or proceeds from sales.

I always feel there should be a cost for something, no matter how small.

I visited one of my customers recently, a factory, and my tour guide was said that when they gave coffee away, they found full or half full cups everywhere, but after they started charging a quarter per cup, all they found were empty cups.

I like idea of recoup the $, maybe keep some for his/her time, and donate the rest.

Axe

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extrinsic
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Publication is public distribution. Through CreateSpace or Lulu, and the manufacturing benefits thereof, publication accesses public distribution channels. In an alternative, Lulu will manufacture print copies at cost without distribution. However, the publisher would have to collect money, make purchases, pay delivery charges, and mail to contributors going that route, for contributor memento copies only as a vanity publication.

Electronic distribution could be as simple as preparing a digital file, like PDF, for distribution to contributors. Or be also offered to the public through a digital retailer.

I'm reluctant to get involved in a publishing project offered for public purchase that doesn't at some point pay contributors. Not for the money but for the symbolic meaning of the money. Besides, if the anthology goes viral, it could, at least into several thousand copies sold, I'd want my fair share of revenues.

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RyanB
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Another thing to keep in mind, and others here know more about this than me I'm sure, but the SFWA only accepts writers who've been "published" and part of the criteria for whether you're "published" is whether you were paid.
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Owasm
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Here are some real numbers - I have a 300 page book that costs about $7.50 for POD, so you can still price it at $15.00. If you join their expanded distribution (that gets the book listed for libraries and bookstores) it costs about $25 the last time I looked, but your royalty goes down because getting on those catalogs means you give up some of your potential royalty since bookstores don't sell books for free.

That 300 page book takes up about 110,000 words in a 6x9 format. 110,000 divided by 15 stories is a 7,333 word average. That means that there would be room for a few 15,000 word behemoths along with shorter works.

I'm not in this to make any money... perhaps get my $25.00 expanded distribution fee back, but if we approach this as a collective (not communism, but an opportunistic, we get paid for what we write when it sells) then I think we can make this work (use a % based on word counts).

Extrinsic is right about the publishing rights and that's exactly the method that I was planning to propose, 1 year exclusive, perpetual non-exclusive. You need the perpetual non-exclusive so you can keep the thing in publication after the writers can do whatever they want with their works after a year.

As I said before, we'd need permission to use refer to the Hatrack River name... but I think it would add a lot of luster to the effort.

[ November 07, 2013, 05:14 PM: Message edited by: Owasm ]

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Meredith
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quote:
Originally posted by Owasm:
Here are some real numbers - I have a 300 page book that costs about $7.50 for POD, so you can still price it at $15.00. If you join their expanded distribution (that gets the book listed for libraries and bookstores) it costs about $25 the last time I looked, but your royalty goes down because getting on those catalogs means you give up some of your potential royalty since bookstores don't sell books for free.


Not anymore. CreateSpace just made expanded distribution FREE. [Smile]
The pricing issue is still valid.

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Owasm
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Meredith is correct. The anthology would be available in bookstores, institutions, libraries, etc. for free! Such a good deal. Now I have to change the distribution for my novels... not that I've sold any hardcovers. [Frown]
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wetwilly
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I think it's a great idea as a hatrack community project. We've got a great writer's community here, and I think it would be really cool to celebrate it with something like this. To be honest, I don't have time to do more than be a contributor, but I would be totally down for doing that, no compensation expected. (Unless it was Summer; I'm a teacher, and I would have time and interest in working on it over the Summer in whatever capacity would be helpful).
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extrinsic
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Here's part of my vision: Finalize a first volume advanced review copy and offer it to Mr. Card for approval of using Hatrack name branding. In his shoes, I'd expect that consideration before permitting or licensing association with Hatrack. Production values ought to be striking and at least on par with similar products. A letter sent to him outlining the proposal could be done for initial, advance approval on conditional terms.

Marketing strategies are four cornered: packaging, advertising, promotion, and publicity. Packaging for an anthology is mostly about production values, as above. Advertising is a matter of getting into bookseller catalogs, like extended distribution plans so that libraries and brick and mortar bookstores have inventory access is a stellar advertising idea.

Promotion might include Hatrack name branding as well as reviewer jacket back blurbs. Contributor promoting would benefit from contributors' at least numerical superiority over single writer self-published works. Fifteen or more promoters across the globe might create a global ground swell. Plus promote the anthology complement: publisher, the contributing staff, and the contributing writers and the stories to the science fiction and fantasy publishing culture.

Publicity would also benefit from Hatrack name branding. Also, publicity for the anthology complement.

A kernel of the whole is I believe a Hatrack anthology will be noticed by publishing culture. Any given contributor may be noticed as well.

The caliber and merits of the stories matter less than the caliber and merits of the production values. Though the stories' merits matter, they fall into subjective considerations.

I cannot emphasize too strongly that such an anthology will be noticed by publishing culture. Many literary cultures have such an anchor flagship, either a competition, or masthead publication, or both. Persons in the industry and culture follow such activities.

A new publication will be noticed and talked about. Even if a couple dozen print or digital ARCs have to be sent to reviewers at trade publications, literary organizations, other digest publications, contest organizations, etc. The science fiction and fantasy literary prize culture flagships, for example.

Why I believe individual stories' merits matter less than the production values is I see this anthology as a showcase of the state of Hatrack's writers, editors, publishers, artists, and designers' bookmaking skills and talents, that it is a product of the groups' initiatives, noteworthy on that merit alone, and ancilliary to that, the state of our writing skills and talents. Frankly, a showcase of, let's say, less than first tier storytelling merits offers an unembarrassing glipmse into how a workshop's writers are developing as artists.

I have many times explored and evaluated struggling writers' works looking for exceptional though overlooked writing. How convenient and delightful finding such a publication in the online marketplace would be for me, and I expect similarly interested readers. Like for other writing workshops to study, for school writing classes, grade schools, secondary schools, universities and colleges, civic writing workshops, publishers trawling for emerging new talent to discover and develop, as well as individual struggling writers.

This is to me a telling point: that the stories don't have to be of individually stellar merit, only that they be a middling to fair way along in demonstrating developing storytelling skills. Being able to compare one's writing to published works only somewhat more advanced than one's own I believe is a potentially greater and more meaningful learning experience than comparing against the top of the market works. This is bootstrapping development. I believe this is a mission for a Hatrack anthology.

This is huge, an awesome responsibilty and an awesome privilege creating a culture's identity expression and releasing it into the global culture.

[ November 07, 2013, 07:56 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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MJNL
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I love seeing communities band together!

Just chiming in to clarify a few points I've seen above:

Regardless of how much a story is sold for, once it is available to the public, rights come into play. No matter if you paste it up on your blog, or sell it to a pro venue, some version of first rights are being taken. But which first rights? This would be delineated in a formal contract, as would amount/type of compensation (or lack there of). I do not advise going into this without contracts--if nothing else, it keeps everyone on the same page.

If you decide to go with non-paying, that is not going to get you tracked down by Writer Beware. This is essentially a for-the-luv community project, and is not posing as anything else. If non-paying, the contract could potentially state where any net proceeds would go. Again, everyone is on the same page.

SFWA does not care if you give your stories away. All they care about on the short story end is your ability to sell three qualifying stories. There is a list of qualifying venues on their website, and criteria for qualification. Even if this anthology paid the requisite five cents a word, it would not qualify. That's not a problem. If someone is looking for SFWA membership, all they need to do is make three qualifying sales. You can sell everything else for as little or much as you want, and you will still qualify.

Is Hatrack or any version there of a registered trademark? I think Hatrack Enterprises is (but I could be wrong). If you intend to use that to sell the book, you would need written permission to use it. Or else you risk getting a take down notice--or even sued--by Card.

Research the number of copies most self pubbed books sell in a year--hint, it's not anywhere near a 'couple thousand.' A huge number don't even hit triple digits. I don't mention this to be discouraging, I just hope everyone is going in with realistic expectations--especially if you think you'll be putting out less than professional level stories.

If a reader wants to see developing writers in progress, they'll go to critique sites. Your average reader is just looking for a great story they can sink into, they don't particularly care about the developmental stages of an artist. If you arn't planning to put out stories in which all of their merits can be seen on the page without any explaining or backstory, don't expect many sales. If this is really going to be a showcase for members, make it count. Make readers ask, "Where can I get my hands on more of this?"

Good luck, guys! Sounds exciting.

[ November 07, 2013, 10:36 PM: Message edited by: MJNL ]

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Owasm
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My view of this is that there shouldn't be any expectations of a big payday. Since it's more or less a vanity publication, there will be dollars and maybe tens of dollars, but we shouldn't expect anything else.

Extrinsic is right about having some exposure if we can hook into OSC's environment, but even if we can't, it doesn't make or break the doing of it.

We should have some simple contracts so there are no issues about rights or remuneration should, horror of horrors, the anthology bring in a little more money than intended. Simple, simple, simple, but contracts are a good thing and protects everyone.

Marketing the anthology is fine, but let's do what makes sense from a financial point of view and that's to minimize the cost.

I want to participate for the fun of it, period. [Smile]

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Reziac
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Isn't the Medicine Show a SFWA-qualified venue? What if the Great Hatrack Anthology were published under its aegis?

As to payment, maybe the standard by-the-word (payable once it breaks even), with profits beyond to go to the care and feeding of Hatrack.

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extrinsic
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Applying for SFWA professional market status is no great burden for being recognized as such by the SFWA. Every one currently recognized started somewhere and each applicant was either recognized or passed over.

For me, though payment is symbolic in that regard, the greatest feature would be exposure within the culture. I'd bet 10 to 1 odds that all the chief editors and similar interested parties within the culture would take a look if for no other reason than to evaluate what such an anthology represents as competition, or as a possible fertile field for scouting for not only talent but for business model insights, and as a possible incentive that builds overall consumer interest for every outlet, as healthy competition tends to do.

A cooperative, community-produced anthology with whatever degree of reputable screening--so long as it's not a free-for-all with no screening whatsoever--and with striking production values will stand up and be recognized for those qualities. Please do not underestimate these potentials.

I expect first volume out-of-pocket costs would be in the $100 to $200 range, including proof review copy, distribution plan cost, if any charge, required ISBN assignment, and copyright registration, optional but a best practice due diligence. CreateSpace and Lulu allow private ISBN assignment through their processes for a minimal fee in the $30 range, so that the publisher of record is not them. Their publisher of record ISBN assignment is free. I think a sound business practice is to have an ISBN that is not immediately associated with either but associated directly with a separate entity. Like an existing imprint, for example, Owasm's, or one unique to the anthology or as a part of Mr. Card's dynasty.

And so that insiders timely get the word, perhaps a few dozen carefully targeted ARCs to selected parties at a bulk purchase cost plus postage, USPS Media Mail rate, about $2.67 per copy domestic. ~$10 per postal mailed ARC.

Ah, geeze, you-all have got me giving away my A-game marketing strategies.

[ November 08, 2013, 12:52 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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legolasgalactica
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What would be a likely timeframe for submissions? A month? Three? Just wondering how feasible this will be for me, because I'm definitely interested.

Another question, who will foot the bill for these initial publishing costs? Perhaps each writer includes a submission fee to help pay for our combined self-publication?

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pdblake
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quote:
Originally posted by legolasgalactica:
Perhaps each writer includes a submission fee to help pay for our combined self-publication?

That probably would get you on Writer Beware
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shimiqua
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Yeah, money makes things complicated.

If there's a submission fee, no way am I entering. I know it's possible to do this simply, or to do it for free based solely on people volunteering.

If everyone who submitted a story did a grammar read through/edit, then we'd end up with pretty clean copy, I think.

And design can be done very well, for not a ton of money, if you know the right people. I happened to have married the right person, and I'm not volunteering him at this point, but my husband Darren is a pretty awesome designer, if I do say so myself.

The problem I see is, I think everyone who adds a story will probably want a copy of their own, (and maybe a few proud family members will want a copy) so that stands to mention that someone would be getting a payday. Which leads to human frailty and greed, and hurt feelings. (Believe me I know)

Perhaps there's a way we could donate all profits to a charity? If so, maybe we could work about doing good. Maybe we could write with a theme, like bullying, or homelessness, or hunger, and then have all proceeds go to help out with that actual problem.

Also, if we don't have permission to call it Hatrack River...which I doubt we'd get, we could always call it Tales from the Treehouse. Or we could have a Anthology challenge where we all come up with titles, and then vote for the best one.

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tesknota
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Just chiming in from a NaNoWriMo procrastination break:

I remember a while back that DSF had a kickstarter for author payment. Maybe if most of the contributors were not interested in payment, a bulk of the proceeds could go to one or a couple of free online SF/F magazines.

If there is sufficient profit, each contributor could get a free copy. [Cool]

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Owasm
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We can do all of this for donated time. If we wish to register the copyright, it's $35.00 and we can do that 90 days after publication.

I can do the graphic design and interior design. You can see my stuff on amazon under Guy Antibes. I'm not the world's greatest illustrator but I can lay things out well enough that it looks professional. That's free.

If we use createspace, we can buy hardcover books for much less than the publishing price for the participants. (a 300 page trade paperback is less than $5.00 plus postage) Then if we sell anything, we'll send out royalties if they are more than pennies.

If free copies are desired, then we can pay for those when the royalties are high enough.

In the editing process, I always order a proof copy and then edit the heck out of it, since you always find more errors when you read in print (I do anyway). I'd buy that copy on my own.

I'll come up with a proposal this weekend and post a link to it. Then we can work from something concrete. It looks like we have enough interest.

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extrinsic
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Traditionally, revenue statements come out quarterly. Royalty payments are tied to revenue statements, with a trigger, like if gross revenue available for any individual royalty payment cycle exceeds $50, then payments go out. Or at the end of a year, any accumulated royalties are disbursed.

Each edition, hardcover, paperback, digital, requires a separate ISBN assignment. Though if this anthology will be a serial publication, an ISSN may also be a best practice. Separate copyright registrations are also required if editions have substantive differences, like black and white interior illustrations for paper editions and interior color for digital, or slip cover for hardcover with jacket flap content not included in paperback or digital editions. Offering a hardcover edition to libraries and collectors would mean separate ISBN assignment and perhaps separate copyright registration.

In any case, having copyright registration infomation before release so it may be included during layout on the frontmatter copyright page is a best practice.
-----
I sampled your books at Amazon, Owasm. Product Details publisher listed as "CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform" to me signals an undesirable self-published project branding and vanity publishing of the astroturf variety. A step removed into guerilla publisher territory would use a private ISBN assignment from an R.R. Bowker, U.S. ISBN concessionaire, registered publisher imprint. Bowker now offers individual, economical ISBN assignments.

Also, though perhaps artifacts of Amazon's "Look Inside" features, I noted a few nonstandard Standard Publication Formatting issues, like widowed and orphaned lines, ragged right text justification, a few word spacing and glyph glitches. Ellipsis points, for example: Text string-space-point-space-point-space-point-space-text string is conventional formatting. I noted several ellipsis points that retain Microsoft Word's proprietary ellipsis point glyph. Also, inconsistent dash spacing and formatting, tabbed paragraph indent of half an inch where a quarter inch is closer to SPF, leading lines taller than text lines, and header page number and text flush outside formatted, where the word "Page" is conventionally left out of headers, the numeral by itself is inline justified to the outside text edge, left side on verso pages, right side on recto pages, author and title header text is flush justified to the inside of a page's text margin, beside the gutter, chapter page openings skip headers, and a half page page sink on chapter opening pages for prose. Academic journals often, though, skip page sinks.

I don't offer these observations to hurt feelings or as negative criticisms so much as observations of production values. High production values signal serious at least if not professional publishing.

I believe, if Mr. Card's approval of Hatrack name branding will take place, at least the above formatting, registration, ISBN assignment, and production value concerns be addressed. Though proposed as a vanity-type publication, I strongly believe high production values are essential to fulfill the promises and potentials of a first volume Hatrack anthology. I may be in a minority of one about these areas, but I believe they will matter. I produce publications as an educated, trained, and experienced production editor as part of my business activities.

[ November 09, 2013, 02:35 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Owasm
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I'll be frank with you all. I don't have the chops to attract publishers. I don't have the thousands to spend on editors. I do want my stories read, so I self publish. At least I am in print, although the quality of my efforts scream UNPROFESSIONAL!

I know that Extrinsic proposed an anthology not too long ago. I also realized (since I am an educated, trained and experienced business person)
that his proposal was very complicated and unlikely to see the light of day.

So, being the results-oriented person that I am, decided to propose a vanity publication that showcases the work of Hatrackers. In my opinion, a lot of volunteer work is required to keep the costs at low to zero. I also believe that creativity should be rewarded, so a simple cooperative arrangement to split the royalties could be easily implemented.

I still am willing to make this happen despite Extrinsic's feelings on the matter. It won't meet his standards, but it will be in print.

I'll set up a group this weekend for those interested and we can take the discussion off of this forum.

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History
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Owasm,
Propose what you can and are (thank you) willing to do, and those who wish to participate will do so.

Extrinsic,
We've discussed your proposal before and I support you doing so--if this time you are willing to follow through.

There's nothing to say we cannot have both.
But, I believe, the Membership requires (and deserves) something for at least our internal consumption (and camaraderie) and possibly for a greater readership (showcasing our best to each other for fun if not necessarily profit).

I'm willing to offer a smidgin of my time to either venture, but please do not let one (again) attempt to dissuade the other.

Good Shabbos.

Respectfully,
Dr. F

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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by History:
Extrinsic,
We've discussed your proposal before and I support you doing so--if this time you are willing to follow through.

My reasons for relinquishing spearheading this project are both personal and professional and not open for discussion. I am available on a limited basis as a publishing consultant, project editing contributor, and contributor in any and every area of the project up through and including marketing.
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MJNL
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Extrinsic, do you have available samples of your publishing/editing/marketing work for the members to review? Owasm led us to examples of what he's done before (which is greatly appreciated, thank you!) which gave us all a good idea of what the resulting project might look like.

Anyone else who is offering services toward the project might want to do the same, that way the division of labor can be discussed and the best suited volunteers placed in the best suited positions.

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extrinsic
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MJNL,

An area of great concern to me is privacy exposure. I have a number of editing projects on sale at Amazon, Barnes & Noble online, and elsewhere that reveal my name. Under my real name, I have a large online presence that could lead to my phone number, home address, and other personal details that could be used for malicious purposes. I was once less savvy about online privacy exposure than I am now. I've been accosted and harmed before and avoid any more privacy exposure.

I am in the process of developing a web site that will protect my privacy but be a place for exhibiting my business wares, like sample book-length publications and such. It's not yet ready for debut. I have DBAs for several identities to register statutory applications. In other words, I've almost gotten through the preparation and planning stages. Debut development is pending.

[ November 09, 2013, 02:29 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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legolasgalactica
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So comparing costs:
OSWAM thinks it could be done for around $50.
From what I gathered, Extrinsic's ideas totalled several hundred.
Both rely on donated time and talents.

If the results in final product, marketing, and possible financial success will really be that much better by going the extra mile, I think the extra money would be both reasonable and worth the investment. Either way, but especially if it included something I contributed, I'd hope it looked like something I'd be proud of and want to share with my friends and family--perhaps even garnish some sales.

I didn't realize a submission fee would be such a big deal, my only thought was to share the burden. If I self-published something, I'd expect to incur some upfront costs, this way we minimize it for everyone, but if that's out, I'm stilll wondering who would pay even the minimal expenses. OSWAM? Extrinsic?

Forgive me for being the only greedy one here, but I'm surprised at everyone not interested in the profit aspect. I'll bet every un-published writer here could scrounge up a hundred or so curious or sympathetic friends and family who'd be proud to own something like that and if extrinsic's marketing advice paid off even a little, would several thousand copies really be that optimistic? 15 authors, some with readership couldn't pull that off? Not that I'd be dissapointed if all I had was a vanity piece and bought a few copies for friends, but do we only want to try for fun and vanity? Why not go all the way and then be satisfied even if we don't pull off any major success? Make Card and Hatrack proud? On the other hand I do understand the concerns about money and sharing profits, etc. But even if it all went to charity or Hatrack, why not try for the best product and success possible?

I'd still like to hear speculative timeframes for submissions so I know how powerful a catleprod I need to buy to get started and make it or if there's no way I'd make it. (I've already set an impossible task for myself to achieve by March. I don't know how much more I ought to put in my over-booked, rarely-followed schedule.)

[ November 09, 2013, 02:17 AM: Message edited by: legolasgalactica ]

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RyanB
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quote:
Originally posted by legolasgalactica:
scrounge up a hundred or so curious or sympathetic friends and family

A hundred?

I consider myself blessed in both the friends and family department. I think I could sell maybe 5 copies to friends and family.

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History
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quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:
My reasons for relinquishing spearheading this project are both personal and professional and not open for discussion.

I can respect this.

Therefore, beyond sharing your suggestions that have (twice, and in as many years I believe) failed to result in anything, I believe Owasm who has graciusly agreed to spearhead this third attempt should be permitted to proceed as he deems best.

Those who wish to participate and/or submit a story for consideration (whether for pay or not) can do so.

As for a themed or unthemed collection, whatever Owasm wants. Both have their advantages. Themes can be fun like our writing challenges (his "Hebora" one for example). Or the theme can be genre-based (sf, fantasy, etc.). An unthemed collection could provide a mix.

If there are "rights" concerns, complexities, and delays with seeking permission for use of the word "Hatrack", don't use it. A generic title would suffice as well, in my humble opinion; for example, "Tales From The Treehouse". [Smile]
quote:
Originally posted by legolasgalactica
But even if it all went to charity or Hatrack, why not try for the best product and success possible?

I believe the best "product and success" is actually producing a anthology this time that showcases our best work and inspires our membership to be better writers and seek inclusion.

If this subsequently attracts greater attention and (if our quality is sufficient) acclaim, then that will be a bonus. But let's see if our humble community can actually walk first before we try to run. We've had too many false starts.

I'll only add that I would hope Owasm, or his delegated editors, to compassionately but uncompromisingly reject any all tales that do not meet muster. Being a Member of this community should not alone be sufficient for inclusion. The stories need be the best our Membership can produce and would wish to showcase. In this sense, it is not a "vanity" anthology, but one our Members should aspire to. Quality matters.

Alright. Off to services. Have a great day.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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wirelesslibrarian
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I agree wholeheartedly with the good doctor, especially about the quality of stories accepted for inclusion. In my humble opinion, this proposed anthology would not be the place for a trunk story. You see, I wouldn't want to submit a piece that had already been rejected elsewhere unless I had figured out how to fix what was broken about it (and gotten confirmation from others that the story had, indeed, been cured.)

I'm looking forward to the call for submissions, Owasm. Whether themed or not, I'll endeavor to write the best story I can for the selection committee's consideration.

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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by History:
Therefore, beyond sharing your suggestions that have (twice, and in as many years I believe) failed to result in anything.

During those two years, I have managed to produce and manage the business of three book-length publications, consulted on and guided a number of shorter publications, including more than a few start-ups and standalones, develop and implement a library's digital database archiving procedures for a literature collection, complete a master's degree in English, creative writing concentration, at the top of my class, build a free-standing woodworking studio, bereave two dear-departed, close family members, write and publish and develop my writing craft, and work full time. I have failed at nothing, except perhaps diplomacy.

Any activity, newly begun, in development, ongoing, has growing pains. That my proposals do not live up to your expectations overlooks at least that. That a Hatrack anthology is more contentious to begin with than any publication project I've been involved with in my half century publishing on-again-off-again career is a noteworthy consideration. Interacting with contributors is contentious enough on its own without the added contentions of an impromptu steering committe with broad, disparate, and at times dissenting, impractical, or fanciful expectations. Any endeavor worth doing unsettles expectations, finds compromises, perhaps at some point debuts; and revisiting the growing pains falls behind celebrating successes.

I've unfortunately been involved in the backdrop of failed ventures. They invariably failed due to overlooking a business adage that speaks volumes: Fail to plan, plan to fail. After a failure, the struggle to succeed is further burdened by the failure and the damaged reputations therefrom. Trial and error heuristics may be live-and-learn life lessons; errors are also penalty steps backward from starting points. A start-up flagship or even vanity publication, in my estimation, should be approached with any and all available knowledge and insight and due deliberation and diligence.

[ November 09, 2013, 10:21 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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MAP
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I've been hesitant to comment because I probably won't be a contributor. I do think this is a great idea, but short stories just aren't what I want to write (and I'm not that great at them either).

I just want to say one thing because I don't think anyone should have to front the bill for this, but charging submissions fees is sketchy even in a collaborative situation like this.

I know very little about kickstarter, but I wonder if someone could start a kickstarter account to raise money for the initial costs of the anthology. That way hatrack members here can donate if they want to help, but no one is required to contribute. If enough money is raised, you could hire some professional services. If not, the work will have to be done by contributors. But hopefully enough will be raised that Owasm won't be burdened financially to get this going.

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legolasgalactica
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I definitely approve of the kickstarter funding even if it relies solely on volunteer work. I have seen kickstarter solve many a problem and create successful projects like this.

Great idea MAP.

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Dirk Hairychest
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I'm in! I super don't care about the details. I will submit, edit, critique, admire from afar, whatever. Let's get started with a theme (or not) and start the submission process. At least We can start writing while the brains figure out the details.
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legolasgalactica
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It would also be a good place to lay out a concrete proposal with goals and outlines of who, what and when as kickstarter requires this anyway.
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History
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quote:
Originally posted by extrinsic:
During those two years, I have managed to produce and manage the business of three book-length publications, consulted on and guided a number of shorter publications, including more than a few start-ups and standalones... [/QB]

That is wonderful, extrinsic. To the patient in need, however, the value of the world's best surgeon is not the recitation of his credentials but his willingness to pick up the scalpel and cut.

To my knowledge, this is the third attempt at such a collegial Member showcase anthology. Let's support Owasm in his willingness to spearhead this particular venture. As he presents the details of the project, constructive comments can be proffered. In the end, Members can decide whether or not they wish to participate.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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