Guest Post on Anthologizing: JL Curtis
This is a follow-up to my earlier post on Relationships and Anthologies. I’d asked JL Curtis if he wouldn’t mind sharing how he handled taking on the task for this, and he broke it down in some detail. I’ll add that it was a pleasure to work with him, I was astonished at how well it did, given the niche market, but I was also not surprised given his existing fanbase. His work is good, and getting better, and I’m honored he included my Carpetbaggers story in this collection.
Cedar asked for a few words on the anthology I did, so here we go…
I had originally written a novella for a Calexit anthology that was supposedly going to be published, but the principals couldn’t come to an agreement, so I just threw the novella up on Kindle. At LibertyCon two years ago, some folks that read it cornered me about doing an anthology myself.
I asked around and a group of folks indicated they would be interested in participating, so I put out a call on my blog for folks who would like to contribute. I ended up with 9 other folks, and did a simple contract with them, agreeing to pay quarterly royalties based on sales on Amazon and Kindle, since this was going to be indie all the way. The only money I took out was to pay for the cover and the editing by my editor.
The only ‘rules’, if you will, for the Calexit was that it occurred in 2022, and dollars were changed to callors. I didn’t specify any other requirements. We ended up with seven stories from men, and three from women, each with a significantly different approach, but not a single one of them was a ‘positive’ one for Calexit (More about that in a minute). Three ideas I had for a story ended up being overcome by other (and better) stories, so I basically wrote the backstory of my original character from the novella.
It took about seven months to put all the stories together, and this included a number of back and forths with each author and a very light touch with the editor. Once all the stories were in and the authors had approved the edits, my graphic artist designed the cover, and we went to press in October 2017. Since it has been up, we’ve had about 750 direct sales and about that many KU reads, and it has over 50 reviews, with a rating of around 4.3, which is pretty good considering the number of 1 star reviews…
I’ve actually found the 1 star reviews boosted sales, especially when countered by 5 star reviewers who had LEFT California and said this was a prophetic anthology.
Putting the anthology together was ‘interesting’ in that it required quite a bit of ‘cat herding’ to keep the various authors on point and engaged, but I will say I’m still friends with all of them, for what that is worth!
We didn’t make a lot of money off the anthology, but I hope the authors considered it worth their time to contribute, and I will always be appreciative of their willingness to go with an unknown, indie author and jump off the deep end.
Link to Calexit: The Anthology here – check it out for yourself!