About a year ago, I first accidented my way into becoming a publisher.
“How does that even happen?” I hear you ask.
Well, for me it started when a colleague who was organizing an anthology became overwhelmed by life and decided to drop the anthology. Many authors had already committed to the project, including me, and since I believed in the cause–in memory of Terry Pratchett, with proceeds going to fight Alzheimer’s Disease–I volunteered to take it over.
I had no clue what that entailed.
Overnight I was transformed into editor, chief pest, and publisher. I wore all the hats, and none of them fit. I bankrolled the project, tried my best to keep a dozen authors happy, and somehow managed to hit the deadline for getting the eBook version of the book out. A few months later I decided to get my act together and formatted the book for print.
I failed UTTERLY in promotion. Some of the authors tried their best, but no one was an expert. We have to date raised a little over $150 for the Alzheimer’s Association. To date, if I had just donated the money I dropped into the book, the A.A. would have come out ahead.
But that is TO DATE. And most of that is my fault.
What I got wrong: I took too much on before I knew anything about anything. I didn’t do ANY promotion–not even the free stuff beyond posting about it on Facebook.
In contrast is my experience with “Stardust, Always“. This is an anthology created in response to the unexpected deaths of David Bowie and Alan Rickman, both lost to cancer. The first difference is that this was a MUCH larger project. Fourty-odd authors and various people who signed on just to help with the project everything from beta readers to promotion experts. We had FOUR editors, and that was after each story went through betas. And even more important, we had a project manager, Andrew Barber, who had firm deadlines and communicated well to keep everything on track.
It was a real education.
I undertook a variety of roles–beta reader, editor, book formatter, publisher. But that was much, MUCH better than taking on everything myself.
Writers Colony Press, my little publication house, is currently accepting submissions for the next volume of “The Longest Night Watch”. I have taken notes. Writers Colony Press now has a website and a Facebook page to help coordinate calls for submissions for upcoming anthologies and credits for previous books. I am still going to have to work within my own limitations, both in terms of time and as a person, but I have been shown that it CAN work now.
Here’s hoping it works well.