1. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    Communal self-publishing of anthologies?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by DefinitelyMaybe, Sep 4, 2012.

    Does it ever happen that people (e.g. on forums like this one) get together to communally write an anthology. E.g. of short stories on a theme (horror, mystery, whatever?)

    It seems to me that there would be a number of advantages. As a group, the authors could critique and edit each others' work. In terms of the mechanics of preparing ebooks for publication, there would be many hands make light work. And if there were (e.g.) ten authors, then there would be ten circles of family and friends to form the initial readership of the anthology.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    yes, some sites publish anthologies of contest winners. The total circulation is on the same order as most self-published content, which is about the same as anything published through a vanity press - rarely making it to triple digits.
     
  3. JamesOliv
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    JamesOliv Senior Member

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    I always thought that would be an interesting venture. I haven't found one yet. But I imagine it's only a matter of getting together with some like minded writers and giving it a try.
     
  4. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think there might be quite a lot to it. How would people get into the right group? Would they all agree on direction and what happens if some members decide that other members haven't come up with the goods? Or even just what quality of editing would be required?

    I can see it working for winners of writing competitions. But Cogito says above that they don't do much better than standard vanity publishing.

    There have been quite a few postings I've seen where it's obvious that there is long past experience on this forum of what works and what doesn't. I'm definitely interested in hearing what has happened in a "those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it" sense.
     
  5. JamesOliv
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    JamesOliv Senior Member

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    I suppose it comes down to what your goals are and how the plan is executed. If you are ale to self publish an anthology and one contributor takes care of cover design and another handles layout, even if you hired an editor, that cost would be spread over the rest of the authors. With say 10 different folks promoting, I don't see why triple digits would be unrealistic. Heck, if ten people managed to sell ten copies, you made three digits right off the bat.

    And again, self publishing is not vanity publishing. A self published book is far more likely to be reviewed than one through a vanity publisher.

    While some here like to talk of self publishing like it is a joke or a scourge upon the literary world, I think I have made my disagreement with that notion known. I will reiterate my feelings that self publishing is a business venture. It is not plan b to trade publishing (or shouldn't be, at least). So if one goes the self publishing route, they need to do their overwork and know exactly what they are getting in to. A business plan and a marketing plan are essential.

    If you scribble something down and don't edit it. Then you throw it onto Amazon and make no reasonable effort to market it (or spend money on methods that yield few results) then you are less likely to sell anything.
     
  6. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    Second that JamesOliv!

    As a writing group, we published two anthologies and found it an interesting, rewarding and informative exercise. We managed to sell just short of the 100 copies we had printed. I'd say that as an experience it was well worth doing.
     
  7. ...
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    ... Member

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    If you have the right drive you can do anything you want to do.

    You have to think of the places you could sell your book. Set them freely in small book stores and only charge for the book on a sale by sale basis. you could stand outside train stations and catch the early commuters. create numerous blogs on line lauding your own work, so when people do google you they can find you. Certainly not easy self promotion... but it is a greater option these days, particularly if you have a website selling downloadable ebooks too. spam too, lots to be said for human spamming, when done intelligently.

    hard slog but doable I think.

    I wouldn't want to do it though.
     
  8. JamesOliv
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    JamesOliv Senior Member

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    Online promotion is a bit more complicated.

    Also, I cannot imagine peddling your book at a train station would yield enough sales to make it worth it. When trying to make a profit from an activity, you need to consider the time you put into production and marketing. Trying to sell books to morning commuters would likely not give you an ROI worth pursuing.
     
  9. NewMexicoKid
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    NewMexicoKid New Member

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    Another data point

    I happened upon this forum (and this thread) when googling something related. Just wanted to add my experiences. I'm the member of a writing group that grew out of members of a region of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). After a couple of years of doing intra-group critiques, writing exercises and workshops, we started writing and self-publishing our own short story anthologies. We've completed four to date with two more in progress.

    While none of these have been great commercial successes so far, they were a lot of fun to do; and the writing and critiquing have helped the members grow as writers.

    We've mostly self-published through CreateSpace.
     
  10. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I think the fun part is more important that the commercial expectations, because at least there is some reward.
     
  11. NewMexicoKid
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    NewMexicoKid New Member

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    Yes, that is how I look on it. Plus, who knows--maybe someone from our group will make it big and then the rest of the anthologies will grow in popularity :)
     
  12. Krishan
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    Krishan Active Member

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    It can be a fun and very informative experience to put together an anthology. It's worth doing for that reason. As others have said, circulation is not likely to be higher than the number of writers involved plus their friends and family, but if you know and accept this going in, there's no reason why it's not a good thing to do.
     

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