Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Notes from DragonCon 2013, Part Two

Here's the second round of notes from DragonCon 2013. It'll be like the first round, only with much less name-dropping.

One panel I attended involved people who'd been involved with several anthologies. That was interesting to me, since although collections don't sell well, the number of magazines accepting fiction is rapidly declining. My friend James R. Tuck edited two Thunder on the Battlefield sword and sorcery anthologies featuring his own work and that of two other members of my writing group (a story I wanted to submit wasn't ready, even though he graciously offered me extra time). Once I get some clout, maybe I can pitch an anthology to a publisher and they'll agree to publish it if I edit it. :)

*Putting together an anthology is tiresome and the pay's not great, but it's a lot of fun. I'll have to keep this in mind, since I've got a lot less time for fun these days. :(

*One of the panelists talked about getting 500 submissions for ten slots.

*If a submitted story is good but the anthology rejects it, the editor might keep the writer in mind for future work.

*Many stories submitted to anthologies have weak beginnings. If the submission numbers are small, editors can work with authors to improve a particular story, but if there are a lot of them, buh-bye.

*Anthology editors don't want to do actual editing. Those submitting to an anthology should polish it until it shines before sending it in.

*A common problem is that stories take too long to get started and finish too fast.

*There's no shame in using Kickstarter to get funding in advance, since anthologies generally don't make a lot of money. A good Kickstarter campaign will raise enough money to pay professional rates for covert art, editing, layout, and proofreading.

*Small presses are better outlets for anthologies. I'm guessing they were talking about pitching an anthology proposal to a publisher much like how one might pitch a single-author book to them. See the Thunder on the Battlefield situation above.

*An anthology like UnCONventional isn't going to sell a lot of copies at bookstores, but due to its subject matter, it will sell a LOT at conventions. Having a table at conventions is something to keep in mind, given how most publishers will not spend a lot of money to market a newbie author and then when said newbie author fails, it might be the kiss of death for their career (unless they adopt a pseudonym). Given how publishers will often offer books to authors at a reduced price, setting off to conventions on one's own seems like a good way of doing business.

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