This week we’re talking anthologies, shockingly since we have our anthology live on Kickstarter now (Have you backed? No? You probably should. Just click here) with our good friend Christine Hipp. Christine came on to talk about her first anthology on this episode, and she’s back to talk about her new anthology, the MANthology, and everything she’s learned in the past year.
I can definitely sympathize with her more this year than during her last appearance since I’ve spent the previous 12 months figuring out my own anthology project. I didn’t want to rehash the same episode we did before, so this episode we did a top five list of things she learned from building three anthologies in 12 months.
Here are Christine’s 5 things she learned from editing three anthologies in the last year:
- Trust your gut - I don't know what your gut is like, but mine tells me to do things like check in with creators, remind people about deadlines, and double check work for typos. About 90% of the time this turns out to be really good advice.
- Pad your schedule - People get sick, emails get lost, someone is always going to need an extension. Do yourself a favor and account for that in your project schedule so you don't have to stress out as much about getting to print on time.
- Respect the Project Plan - Every time we start a new anthology we copy the project plan from the previous book. If contributors asking how to format a script or what size the pages should be, we can add that info that the project plan and know it won't be an issue for the next anthology.
- The release party is where it's at - if you want people to buy your anthology tell them where they can get it, and make that event as appealing as possible with food, drinks, karaoke, and as many cool contributors as you have table space for. You can make fliers, post it on social media, and interview on podcasts (wink) to build hype, but the best results will always come from contributors telling their friends, family, and fans about this cool new book they worked on.
- The theme is your foundation - It's how you convince contributors to join the project, it's how you'll sell your book to potential readers. It will also help you make other important decisions like what should go on the cover, what age group the book should target, and how tonally consistent the book will be.
That’s a great list. Everything on it is super important. I made my own top 5 list from what I learned from making my own anthology, Monsters and Other Scary Shit.
Here is my top 5 list. There is some overlap, but that’s mostly because creating an anthology has a set of rules, just like everything else.
- You need to have the right group of collaborators. It’s not about finding people once you submit, you need to know at least a core group before you start.
- A certain percentage of people will drop out along the way. Originally had tons of interest. Of that interest 350 pages committed. Of that 220 pages came through.
- You are the leader. You need to set up the Facebook group, be on people about deadlines, and get everything together. It’s all on your shoulders to make sure it turns out right. Even though it’s a jam book, you have the vision.
- Give creators lots of time to deliver. If you aren’t paying people, you need to give them a lot of time to do the book, but you shouldn’t give them tons of extensions just because they are working for free. It devalues the work of everybody who was on time.
- Do all the cons. You have to go to so many cons and launch events to make sure your campaign is successful. It’s all about meeting people in person, and turning that into online sales.
Here’s a little bonus tip for all of you out there as well.
BONUS: You will never work with every artist you love in your career, so anthologies are a great way to work with friends and people you admire who you would never otherwise work with, either because they do the same job as you (i.e. they are also writers) or because they don’t work in your style. It’s also a way for people to try out different genres.
I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you did please like, subscribe and rate us on iTunes by clicking here.