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Lessons: Original Anthologies and Small Press [Jun. 19th, 2009|09:07 am]
I found this out, early on, almost eight years ago: one of the easiest ways of making a big mistake is by publishing a lot of original anthologies. The appeal of them is that it's the easiest, and quickest, way to attract a lot of attention, from authors, with the idea that that can be built on, and leveraged, in some form or fashion. Unfortunately, such anthologies rarely earn out, and quite a lot lose money. Between that, and the energy and time spent on multiple contracts, mailing out contributor copies, and the like, proved to be a relative chore, and a drain.

[User Picture]From: mroctober
2009-06-19 01:31 pm (UTC)
Yes. I think that is why most of the gay and m/m presses do it for almost no money, so they can cut their loses. But just the postage demands are ridiculous. Unfortunately, good anthologies are so much fun to read.
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[User Picture]From: oldcharliebrown
2009-06-19 01:43 pm (UTC)
Ultimately, yes, which is why I keep doing Jabberwocky, because it is a lot of fun . . . though I think the lesson I learned from past experience was not to do a lot of them. One particular year I found myself saddled with too many original anthologies, and had to make a difficult business decision. Of course I see a lot of presses, then, and now, go down that road, and go belly-up, because no one told them otherwise, I think. But, then, if you do, then you sometimes catch flak, and it's simply not worth it to give out advice, anymore.
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[User Picture]From: shsilver
2009-06-19 02:27 pm (UTC)
Having a small press that just put out our first anthology, I do prefer single-author collections.
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[User Picture]From: erzebet
2009-06-19 02:31 pm (UTC)
Jabberwocky is neither a drain nor a chore. So pfft. heh
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[User Picture]From: dqg_neal
2009-06-19 03:13 pm (UTC)
Is it the easiest way to attract authors? I find the easiest is to go to conventions.
Yes, it definitely is an energy drain. But I don't find it a mistake. Then again, we haven't been losing money on our products.
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[User Picture]From: oldcharliebrown
2009-06-19 03:47 pm (UTC)
I can't find your pay rates, on your website, which may impact your business model, but I do have access to sales-tracking, which report something else. Do you wish to clarify?
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[User Picture]From: dqg_neal
2009-06-19 06:03 pm (UTC)
Invitation only anthologies and the majority of sales through convention/book fairs. Means most of my energy drain is in doing the events.

It is a different model than say open anthologies where you have a massive time sink in slush reading.

I imagine from the bookscan numbers our sales numbers look pretty similar to other small press. Thankfully I knew before publishing not to risk our finances based solely on sales through the standard distribution channels.

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[User Picture]From: raw_dog
2009-06-19 05:41 pm (UTC)
Amen to that! I've tried a few different ways to work with editors to lighten the load but no matter what I've tried I keep learning the same lesson, it's not worth the trouble/expense.
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