Thursday, 3 April 2014

Guest Post: Author Linzé Brandon - Anthology Publishing & Planning (The STORM Anthology)

Psst - before we start this post, a note to those looking for my A to Z post for today, it's here, but first, please take a look at what Linzé has to say :).
Today, I am happy to welcome author, Linzé Brandon, to my blog to talk about the STORM anthologies she is working on and how she managed the process of creating anthologies. So, over to Linzé.


I am one of those people who love to read anthologies. Full length novels are amazing,  but  anthologies have less impact on my time, and I get to read a whole story in one sitting.

In August 2013 I came up with the idea for our writers' group to do a joint project, and the STORM anthology was born. The brief was a simple one: Write a short story where a storm, whether physical, fantastical or otherwise, forms an integral part of the story. The only requirement was that it had to be aimed at adult audiences, and I had undertaken not to write any erotic stories. As the only erotica writer in the group I felt that it would limit the exposure of especially the début authors.

Unlike most anthologies, it only had a common theme, not a common genre. This created a conundrum. The majority of the group members write fantasy, while some of us cross the genre borders on a regular basis, there are some who stick to what they do best.

It became a more practical solution for each member to write two stories as far as possible. The additional story allowed the multi-genre authors some leeway in their creative thinking.

STORM then became STORM Volume I and Volume II, split into the type of genres appealing to the readers most likely to read them.

Volume I is made up of stories in science fiction, fantasy, supernatural and dystopia genres, whereas Volume II is for the contemporary genres - romance, drama, and crime. The cover had to be generic, but the theme made it not too difficult to settle on the design.

As the leader of the group, managing this whole process became my biggest challenge. Managing the technical aspects of the anthology was relatively easy: genres, cover, editing, formatting, printing and e-book publishing - check.

The challenge before me was getting everyone to submit their final drafts to the editor by the deadline.  Normally we have two editors in the group, but with Charmain Lines involved in a commissioned project, it was up to the members to help out. We beta-read for each other and gave feedback as far as possible to lighten the load on the final editing, now falling on the shoulders of a single person.

Since we ended up with 14 stories, between nine and twelve thousand words, it turned into a daunting task to allow Vanessa Wright enough time to edit and finish her own contributions to the anthology.

Another challenge facing me was the question of profit sharing. Since we decided on printed books as well as e-book publishing, the money question became an important one. Unfortunately for me, I left sorting out the details on this one way too late. Note to future indie anthology project leaders: Sort this out before you start writing.

A friend of mine's lawyer has a saying: "Money makes people funny, and lots of money makes people very funny."  I have no idea whether this is a famous quote, but it remains true nonetheless. Get the compensation sorted out before you even start. Do it in writing, and get an agreement signed by all the contributors in the project.

Printing is expensive and not everyone can contribute equally to the cost. This caused me a sleepless night or two. As a published author I know the incredible feeling of holding your own book in your hands. Nothing compares.  I wanted the younger authors in the group to experience this feeling and came up with a pre-launch marketing plan on the printed books.

Shortly after the deadline for the submissions, two of the authors withdrew their stories. A rethink on the publication of the paperback version was required, since we were now four stories short, two each in the two volume publication. The members rallied and decided to go ahead with the publication. The print version will now be published as a single book  with 10 stories, while the e-book will remain as two volumes.

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat! Six authors stepped up to a challenge outside their comfort zones and the end result is something we are exceedingly proud of.

By the time this guest post goes live, STORM Volume I and Volume II are in final formatting for publication as both a printed paperback and e-books on Smashwords. The launch is planned for June 2014 in both formats.

Linzé Brandon Author Profile:

Teaching herself to read before she went to school; it was the start of her life long love affair with books. Trained as an engineer, Linzé has worked as an export consultant and is presently a project manager at a company that designs and manufactures products for the military industry. She also enjoys counted stitch embroidery, archery, fly fishing, painting abstracts, her husband's medal winning photographs and watching Manchester United play.

She is one of the moderators of the Google+ group, Writer's Rabbit Hole, and leads the Pretoria Writers' Group, consisting of nine members, six of whom are published authors in various genres.

Linzé Brandon lives in Pretoria, South Africa, with her engineer husband and German Shepherds who are convinced that the world revolves around them.



Find all my books
Smashwords  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/LinzeBrandon

Storyboards of STORM, my books and other creative endeavours
Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/LinzeBrandon

4 comments:

  1. Sounds like an interesting read.

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    1. Thank you, Julia. We are super excited about this project.

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  2. NIce post and the books sounds like good ones to read with so many authors's contributions. Thanks for this Sophie.

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    1. Hi Michelle,
      That is nice of you to say :) There truly are exceptional stories in this anthology and I cannot wait for it to be ready to publish.

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