by Simon Dewar (writing at simondewar.wordpress.com)
As I send the Suspended in Dusk anthology off to James Roy Daley at Books of the Dead Press for publication, I think now is probably the right time to look back on the experience and see what lessons I learned. So I guess this post is as much for my benefit as it is for all you guys and gals. I think, ultimatley, these piece of advice are values based and really translate to anything in life.. or at least to writing and publishing generally. Editing a short story anthology was a truly educational experience for me and here is what I learnt.
1. Aim High
When I started this project, originally with my dear friend Nerine Dorman, I thought I’d see whether I could get a favourite author of Nerine’s (Angela Slatter) to submit a reprint story. I contacted Angela and told her about the project, told her how we’re great fans of her work. I then told her that it wasn’t a pro-paying market and that I understand if she’s not interested but I was wondering if she’d contribute a reprint. Well guess what? Angela offered to submit a BRAND NEW STORY. A brand new story from a British Fantasy Award winning author… in my anthology? No way?? YES WAY!
This then lead me to think … “Well.. if I asked Angela nicely and she said yes.. what happens if I ask one of the other great authors I admire? The worst they can do is say no, right?” Wrong. The worst they can do is actually not even respond, which I did learn. But that’s cool. Some didn’t respond, some responded and said no for various reasons. And you know what..? Some said YES. Specfically… British Fantasy Award and Bram Stoker award winner Ramsey Campbell. Bram Stoker Award winner John Everson. Super disturbo writer, Shane McKenzie. Editor extraordinary and self-publishing powerhouse, Rayne Hall.
What a coup!! And how did I achieve it all? Aim high. Hell, go for the freaking throat, man. Just don’t sell yourself short or be all half-assed about it.