Thank you all for the thoughtful comments and suggestions you’ve made on Anthology, Anyone? I’ve read them all and they have been most helpful in clarifying my vision on where I want to go with the anthology. Here is a rough outline of what I propose.
Where I stand
I agree with those who suggested a Best of 2009 instead of a six month anniversary anthology. It makes more sense, both due to the hectic nature of this time of year, and as a set up for an annual event. It also gives people time to come up with new pieces to post in the coming weeks, which might help us grow the community.
Every story ever submitted as a #fridayflash, between launch and the end of 2009, is eligible for consideration. Some writers have come and gone, for whatever reason, and may not even be aware of this anthology. If you have fond memories of a certain piece please go back to that author and tell them about the anthology so they can submit. I can think of three or four off the top of my head that I would be proud to share space with.
The nuts and bolts
Submissions will be done via self nomination. Everyone can submit what they feel is their best work for consideration. No limit on the number of pieces you can submit. But remember, #fridayflash is intended to showcase your best efforts, so be reasonable about what you think is your best stuff. I’m hoping for two or three pieces from most folks. That should get us a nice batch of stories to choose from. Actual submission will be done via email. Details on how will be included in the formal announcement, coming out in a few weeks (I have to celebrate the six month anniversary in some manner!).
Which brings me to the selection process. I liked Donald Conrad’s idea quite a lot.
“Winnowing? Use a panel of judges/editors… Each are given a percentage of the stories to read and rank without attribution. The top, say 60%, are then passed to the next judge; again without attribution and without previous scoring…”
This appeals to me for two reasons. First off, I lack the moxy to approach professional editors and ask them if they would kindly judge potentially hundreds of pieces of flash fiction on a volunteer basis. That’s asking an awful lot. More importantly, I want to explore the whole concept of community participation. I’m a big fan of Open Source projects, and I’d like to see how this can be applied to the editing phase of the publishing business.
Many of you said you would be willing to help with editing. I’d like to ask for volunteers to become, in effect, slush readers – to do that stage one winnowing that Donald talked about. If we get enough volunteers this task can be made manageable.
The second phase of the selection process will be done by a panel of judges. Just who ends up on that panel is yet to be determined. It may end up being just me, but I hope I can recruit some additional help. If I end up on the panel I will take my own stories out of consideration.
I think this should be done on a free sample, pay for the full product basis. I think doing that will give us all a better sense of just how that oft touted model works. We really are writing in a new era, and I think it best we learn the ropes first hand rather than simply reading about others experiences. Either way it turns out, huge success or big financial flop, we’ll all end up the wiser.
Those pesky profits
There have been several suggestions on how to handle the profits, if any. I really like Jeff’s suggestion.
“I’d rather all profits go into a pool for buying #FridayFlash promotional items, such as a Nook or Kindle or $100 Barnes & Noble gift certificate that we somehow give away to a reader (not one of us authors).”
We are not likely to earn a lot on this anthology in the first place. Dividing that all up, even if it turned out to be a few hundred dollars, probably won’t even get you a Happy Meal. So pooling the money into a bigger pot, that we can use to promote #fridayflash makes much more sense to me. In the long run, attracting more readership will pay us all much bigger dividends. I’d like to hear more discussion on this. Will anyone be disappointed if any money earned goes back into #fridayflash as reader prizes?
Other good ideas
Lily suggested the anthology contain, “a short bio on each author, including their Twitter handle (if they have one) and a link to [their] blog…” I agree completely.
Tony suggested we include “a brief history of how #FridayFlash came about…” and a “list of the authors who have participated, along with links to their writing blogs…” Sound good to me. But I think we will have to contact anyone not directly involved to get their permission to list their name and blog. That could be time consuming, but should be manageable.
How you can help
I’d like anyone who is serious about helping to send me an email stating what they would be willing to do. My email is jstro AT swbell DOT net. Make your subject FridayFlash Volunteer. Don’t worry, there will be no heavy lifting until after the first of the year.
I need the following in way of volunteers:
- Sleuths – to help track down authors who have fallen by the wayside. This actually could begin now, so the authors have time to respond.
- First round judges – to act as the initial filter. I’ll send you the judging form and a pile of stories. Judges will not rate their own work.
- Editors – to markup stories for correction. This will likely be more work than first round judges, requiring a more careful reading, redlining errors, contacting the author about the errors, making the final corrections, and sending the corrected manuscript back to me. Authors will have final say.
- Artists – for front and back cover design. I have a design concept in my head I’d like to bounce off you. Also, I have been reading up on Kindle formatting, and have specs on size and resolution for that platform.
- Other stuff – anyone can volunteer for stuff I’ve failed to mention above. Marketing. Reviews. Things I haven’t even considered. Just shoot me a note.
As always, I’m still open to further suggestions. Feel free to comment, pro or con, on any of the above.