An Anthology Announcement: When Publishing Goes Awry

You all might have seen and read some of the posts I’ve done on here and on my author Facebook page about an impending anthology that I had a short story in.

Past tense, yes. Keep reading.

This anthology came together late last year and I was super excited about it because I was looking to have another piece out in the world after Pearl, but I’m not a fast writer, so this offer seemed like a perfect solution. It would be my first experience with a publisher who isn’t me and I would be in the company of so many talented authors. Short stories take less time to write and I hadn’t written a short story since college, so it would be like using an old artistic muscle.

Well, things haven’t quite worked out. The authors are currently trying to decide on a solution.

As much as fiction writing is about inspiration and other twee sort of things, the publishing side is a business: is it selling? How can it be marketed? Who is the audience? There are contracts and clauses, marketing considerations, money and business obligations in publishing; this is the stuff I studied in grad school.

So: for authors, if you’re considering going into an anthology, it may be a worthwhile experience. It may expose your work to a new audience, you’ll make some new writer companions and contacts, it might stretch you as a writer.

BUT—as with everything in publishing, do your research. Check out the publisher. Ask questions. Make sure the communication is regular and business-like. Read that contract.

I cannot stress this enough: read every word, every clause. Make sure it’s in the right format and wording for a publishing contract. If you don’t understand something, find a legal adviser. Make sure your copyright reverts to you if something goes wrong. Make sure you can get out of the project if it goes south. Explore how the funds are to be distributed and how the publisher is permitted control over your work and your name.

As for me and the other authors: we’re considering other ways of getting our stories out there. I’m not hugely attached to my entry in the anthology; I think it needs a developmental editorial brush-up. It’s called “The Disappearance of Miss Mary Dawkins” and it’s about the mother of little Alexandra Keegan, one of the children in Pearl. To be honest, I haven’t actually read “Mary Dawkins” in several months. Though I’m not attached to it, I want it out in the world and not hanging over me like Eeyore.

Edited to Add:

The publisher finally resurfaced today on Facebook and wrote a pretty passive-aggressive status update saying the anthology was dissolved and she didn’t appreciate the “nasty correspondence” she’s been receiving as of late and she “didn’t want that nastiness on her shoulders.” Um, maybe if there was communication, this would’ve gone better? If the authors knew what was going on?


10 thoughts on “An Anthology Announcement: When Publishing Goes Awry

  1. Most of my stories are like Eeyore. >.< Lol!I'm assuming the company has gone belly up. I'm not upset, but it's still really unfortunate. A lot of the contributors put a lot of time and thought and energy into the project, and then it was just over without any kind of heads up or anything. I hope Miss Dawkins finds a home! Company for Pearl. ^_^You know, I finally read over my short story. It's not great, but it isn't terrible. It's so weird though, because I don't write like that anymore. I feel like I wrote that a lifetime ago. I kind of did. I wrote it in college. It gives me hope that I might be able to write a short story after all though. There's an open call in November for a literary kind of journal that accepts all kinds of genres and stuff. I'm thinking of writing something for that – something with a paranormal edge. 🙂


  2. The novel is certainly taking on the dimensions of Eeyore, but I'll have time to focus on it tomorrow and I can hopefully move it forward again. It's the ambiguity of the situation that's puzzling, out of everything. I have an idea to write short stories for November and writing Pearl's brother Julius a story is on that list. You should totally write more short stories! I have a couple of ideas in that direction that I want to try–if they feel bigger, then it might be the next novel project, but we'll see.


  3. It was a big disappointment, and I know everyone is working hard to get back on their feet and keep things rolling. And I have a good feeling about it :)I hate to say it, but this isn't odd in publishing…I mean in so far of things not working out as planned or hoped. The first short story I published years ago underwent a similar situation. It was a small publisher but had over 50 books under their belt. One week before the anthology's release, the partner owners split, and the company went bully-up. But it turned out to be a blessing. A middle-sized publisher picked up the anthology shortly thereafter. The sales ended up being much higher than they otherwise would have been.My experience hasn't been much smoother with agents and book publishing either. One writer friend (best seller) keeps telling me that I can't count on anything until I hold the finished and released book in my hands. And that's the way it is. Writing is simply a ridiculously tough business in so many ways. I hope your novel runs much better! Let me know if you ever need anything (betas, word spreading, etc.)


  4. I think we have a good group and we will definitely figure something out. I know it's not odd in publishing at all, which is a shame, but the whole industry is teetering, unfortunately–there's a reason I don't work in publishing. Oh, thanks for the novel offer, Tonja–I like to get betas' eyes on an MS in second or third draft, whichever one seems more in shape.


  5. You know, it's the same thing with any publishing adventure. Publishers flake sometimes. Projects fall apart. It's better than being published only to end up NOT receiving royalty checks or the attention you'd hoped for. There are thousands of place that will take a short story submission. Shannon Lawrence shares the links of at least a dozen submission calls every week.


  6. I'm kind of glad this didn't come down to being published and not getting paid, 'cause that would've been a real mess. Figured I'd put this up for the benefit of any new writers who might stumble across–this stuff happens, guys.


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