There was more interest than I anticipated in the story collection idea, so it’s worth going for it. So let’s try to hammer out some kind of agreement. All of this is for discussion. Very little is set in stone.
It’s going to be for the adult market because I’ll have one or maybe more in there and my stuff is not for kids. So sex is okay, within limits. No porn and no kiddie stuff. Erotica is fine but try to keep it legal. We don’t want anything that would cause the Gary Glitters out there to stick the pages together.
Horror is fine, obviously, and so is science fiction with or without googly eyed monsters. It could be quite a mix. I doubt romance would fit in there but you never know.
No limits. If you want to get two or more stories in, fine with me. If you want to write a 100 word story or a 5000 word one, also fine. I anticipate a slim volume because those are cheaper to self-publish and cheaper to post but as I said, no limits. Appropriate poetry can go in too, but I’d need to get someone else to edit that. I know diddly squat about poetry.
It’ll be a one off payment. Either cash (I might have to devise some kind of complex algorithm based on story length or just bung each author a twenty spot, we’ll decide that here) or payment in a set number of copies of the finished book.
Either way, a one off payment. It’s not likely to hit the bestseller lines and I am not spending the rest of my days divvying up the odd fiver between a dozen authors every three months. It’s like the magazine stories, you get paid and we’re even.
Whatever the decision, and maybe some want cash and others the books (okay with me) the one off payment is not going to change. Really. If I were to die and you lot were waiting for your 30p royalties, who could I possibly hate enough to pass the job on to?
Copyright will stay with the authors. I won’t be claiming any kind of rights to your stories. If someone wants to make a film of it they deal with you, not me. If you want to put it on the internet or in print somewhere else, that’s okay. I’d ask that you reference where it was first published but realistically, I don’t have time, resources or enough interest to bother about it if you don’t.
However, if you haven’t published before, you need to know about ‘first publication rights’. Magazines don’t like second hand stories, mostly. They want first publication rights. If you put your story in this collection, that’s first publication. It’s done and gone. You still have copyright, you can reuse the story any way you want but you probably won’t sell it to a magazine or another anthology. They only want new stuff.
That’s just to make sure you know about this before sending me your masterpiece and finding your chance of getting into a big magazine is now screwed.
Incidentally, magazines usually only retain copyright until the next issue is out. After that, the last issue is budgie cage lining so they don’t care, and you get your copyright back. In this case you retain copyright throughout. I’d rather you didn’t republish before the book came out but again, realistically, I don’t have the resources to even check.
I can be a ruthless editor and a fearsome proofreader. I won’t just change things though. If the story needs a tweak I’ll do that in correspondence with the author. You won’t get a surprise and find the ending has changed and I won’t go so far that it looks like I wrote it. It will be in your writing style. Wouldn’t be much of an anthology if it was all in the same style.
However, I don’t want to get into a fight with anyone. I might make suggestions. They are intended to help. I might be wrong but I am not slating your work. I’m genuinely trying to help.
I want it to be the best it can be. Sure, I don’t think we’re going to Hollywood with this one but just in case we do, let’s make it worth the trip, yes?
I’ll deal with that. I’ll come up with alternatives and we’ll vote on them. I can’t really afford to pay a proper artist but the story collections I did so far have my own covers and so far, nobody’s complained.
Use any name you like within obvious legal limits. ‘Angus McFlatulent’ is okay. ‘Stephen King’ is not, unless you really are Stephen King. If you are writing some really steamy erotica you might not want to put your own name on it. Use a pen name. Nobody needs to know.
I write as H K Hillman and as Romulus Crowe. A pen name, or a slight change to your own name, is a good idea. You don’t want weirdo bunny-boiling fans tracking you down.
By the same author
If you have published other things and want a plug to them after your story, that’s a yes. I’m certainly planning to do it after mine 😉
What goes in?
That’s the crux. I’m firm on the adult market theme, the no kiddie fiddling and no porn angles but how wide a net should we cast? Horror, SF and erotica are okay. Anything else? A mystery story, a detective story, an action hero story? We don’t have a theme for this one. Should we?
Or should we just go for the Underdog Anthology and do it for a laugh? It won’t cost you anything. Next time we could take it seriously.
Okay, that’s a start. All opinions welcome, as well as remarks on things I forgot to mention.