It all starts with an idea…

My husband once told me that the thing he loves about me is I get these ideas that I won’t let go of until I do something about it, usually right away. That’s why I’ve paid to put girls through school in countries where girls don’t go through school, helped run a charity that helps women in Uganda live stable lives, run a huge fund drive to put books in schools in a ton of undeveloped nations in Africa….

I’m that kind of person. I get these ideas, and they won’t let go until I do something about it.

Perhaps I’m premature with this, but I’m a believer that, if I have a way to reach out to people and get the most information possible while putting forward the least amount of effort (I’m lazy, and I have a two-year-old), then I’ll do it.

Every year I run a series called Special Needs in Strange Worlds, which I am moving over to SF Signal to run on a bi-weekly basis. I do this because disability in SFF has nearly no voice, and gets absolutely no attention. It’s such an important topic that touches so many people so profoundly that running this column and series is one of the most important things I do.

Earlier today I was doing research on an article I’m writing about short stories, their market and whatever else, also because that’s an aspect of publishing I know nothing about, and that never gets talked about.

That’s how I roll.

Anyway, doing this research, and preparing to launch my SF Signal column, gave me this idea:

Why doesn’t someone put together an anthology celebrating disabilities in the genre? And why doesn’t someone donate 100% of the money to an applicable charity? 

I put that on Twitter, and the internet exploded on me (in a good way). I’m honestly SHOCKED by the HUGE level of excitement that I saw within five minutes of posting my question. I mean, wow. You people are hungry for an anthology like this, and that makes me feel really warm and fuzzy inside.

So, I saw all these comments and I graduated from, “why doesn’t someone” to “Why don’t I put together an anthology…”

The problem? I’ve helped edit exactly one anthology, and I wasn’t the person who got the stories or pitched the anthology to authors, so I have no idea what I’m doing, but I am more determined to do this than I’ve been about anything since I beat cancer and delivered a healthy baby despite all my life chaos.

This IS going to happen. Right now I’m doing massive amounts of research, and emailing people that have been suggested to me as Founts of Wisdom I can tap into.

What I’m asking from you is more tips, suggestions, various wisdoms you can give me before I really, really launch this thing. This anthology was literally thought of about an hour ago and so this post is very, very early, but I’d be a fool not to tap into the network this blog has created for me. Please, please tell me who to contact, what sites I should look at, anything else I should know that I am not thinking of (which is a lot).

And thank you so much for the gigantic swell of support I got about this idea. I’m so damn excited I can hardly stand myself.

10 Responses

  • As I said on Twitter–find yourself a co-editor, experienced with doing anthologies. Learn at their knee and together get stories and kick ass. Editors are underrated, per our twitter discussion. Arm yourself!

    • I have a ton of people who have donated their efforts to me. However, I’m so far off from actually doing something that they’ll have to wait a bit. I’ve worked with a few of them, some others I’ve never worked with, so I’ll have to see what they can do. Regardless, the point of picking help is a long way off.

  • Definitely do a Kickstarter or something similar! That way you’re funded from the start and don’t have to worry about choosing between, say, cover art you love and cover art you like but is cheaper.

    I don’t know if other people feel this way about anthologies, but I love seeing new names in the TOC. I’m sure a lot of excellent, well-known writers will love to contribute if you approach them, but maybe leave a few slots open for unsolicited stories too.

    I love the idea that proceeds would go to a special needs charity! I’d suggest that instead of saying flat out that 100% of the money will go to the charity, make sure you specify proceeds. That way you can pay the writers and other professionals involved, even if it’s just an honorarium. Don’t forget that you’re part of the professional team too and you’ll be doing a lot of work, so give yourself the same token payment too.

    This is probably all stuff you know already. Mostly I just wanted to say good luck, and if you need someone to help with any part of it I’d be happy to help! I don’t know what I can offer that other people can do even better, but I will definitely signal-boost and pledge to the kickstarter!

    • Kickstarter doesn’t let you fund projects that are dedicated to charity, so it’ll be through Indiebound instead, but yeah, this project will probably be crowd sourced.

      Thanks for your perspective!

  • One thing you may want to do is contact Pat over at Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist. He may not be the most popular among bloggers, but he did put together a small anthology with all the proceeds going to support breast cancer research a couple of years ago. It was done through Subterranean Press. Subterranean Press has also done anthologies/novellas with charitable proceeds that John Scalzi has been a part of. So, they have a model over there that has worked in the past. It may be less work for you as an individual than going a crowd-sourcing route.

    • Thank you! I had no idea Pat had done an anthology like that. I will send him an email. Hopefully he can lend me some wisdom.

      I have no issues with crowd sourcing, though it seems like it might be a pain in the butt. On the other hand, anything dealing with money is a pain because I don’t like doing it. So, I’m SOL in that respect. However, I am sending email out to people with experience who have done this sort of thing before. Hopefully their responses should help me out a bit. .

      Thanks for the tip!

  • Mez

    You want to talk to Andi (Anna) Caro, editor of 3 anthologies, one of which won a Sir Julius Vogel award. She’s a regular contributor to Crossed Genres and writes a lot of stories with non-normative protagonists.

    She’s probably to busy to help but she is nice and a font of wisdom.

  • I never read SFsignal so I’m in the dark – but if you want a story message me and I’ll see what I’ve got.

  • Do you plan to accept submissions or contacting authors directly? I’d write something, but you probably want people who have been published so people will buy it. I love the idea. Let me know how I can help.

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