Interview: Publishing a collection (part 3 of 3)

Krista Ball continues her three-part interview with me on my experiences in publishing my two collections and working with small presses. Part 3 is below or you can also read it on Krista's blog. Here are the links to the earlier posts in the series:
Part 1
Part 2

Question: What are three things that people need to consider before going with a small press?

First is reputation. If you're considering a small press, check out their authors and contact at least three of them. Ask them about their experience with the press. How involved were they in the publishing process? Did they get cover input? What about the quality of the editing and copyediting? What about promotion? Where were they reviewed? Scan the awards ballots and see which presses are showing up regularly. And check out some of their books, especially their covers, and their author list. Any big names on their list? Would you like to be included on that list, or have you not heard of anyone that they publish?

Interview: Publishing a collection (part 2 of 3)

(Krista Ball continues her three-part interview with me on my experiences in publishing my two collections and working with small presses. Part 2 is below or you can also read it on Krista's blog. Part 1 is here.)

Question: Did you go the agent route? Why or why not.

For a collection? Nope. No need to and no advantage in doing so. Since I wasn't targeting the big NYC houses, an agent wouldn't have done me any good. I could research the small presses as well as they could, and could submit to those directly myself. Even if I had foolishly tried to target the big publishers, an agent wouldn't have been interested in trying to market a collection. They know collections don't sell, and a collection would get an incredibly small advance compared to a novel, even a first novel. So from an agent's point of view, that translates into a lot of work with no chance of success and for very little pay even if they could sell it. From my point of view, an agent was not going to do anything for me with a small press that I couldn't do better myself.

Question: What are the top 3 best things about a small press?

Well, for the two presses I worked with, I could list more than three. But most of my points would come down to retaining an involvement and degree of control over your book. With both collections, I had input on who should write the introduction, the stories to include, the order of their appearance, editing and copy-editing, promotion, etc..

Interview: Publishing a collection (part 1 of 3)

Fellow author Krista D. Ball interviewed me recently on my experiences with selling my two collections and with working with small genre presses for both of the books. The discussion went longer than we expected so Krista is posting the interview in three parts on her blog. I've posted part 1 below, or you can check out Publishing a Short Story Collection (part 1) on Krista's blog as well.

Krista's first question: In Chimerascope, most of the stories were at least nominated for Aurora Awards and one was a winner. With a strong list of credits like that, why did you choose to go with a small Canadian press like ChiZine?

True, the stories in Chimerascope have a lot of award credentials. "Scream Angel" won the Aurora, while another nine of the sixteen stories were Aurora finalists. "By Her Hand, She Draws You Down" was also a Best New Horror selection, and several more received honourable mentions in the Year's Best Fantasy & Horror. I could talk similar numbers for my first collection, Impossibilia, which had another Aurora winner ("Spirit Dance") and an Aurora finalist in its three-novelette line-up.

But if I pick up any collection, I'd expect to see award credits for the stories. A collection is supposed to represent an author's best work. But unfortunately, regardless of awards, a "big" publisher will simply not be interested in publishing a collection, unless you are a Name (which I'm not). The strategy for how an author should market a collection changed from when I started writing to when I was ready to market Impossibilia in 2008. And it's changed again since I published Chimerascope just last year, thanks to eBooks and indie publishing options.

Free ebook of the week: Going Harvey in the Big House

With this blog entry, I'm starting what I'm planning to have as a regular (weekly, maybe? weekly-ish??) feature on the site for my regular visitors. Each week, I will post a coupon for a free ebook from my spiffy new online store. This coupon will be valid only for the first ten people who use it. The coupon expires after ten uses, so check back here each week and try to be in the first ten. This week's free ebook is "Going Harvey in the Big House," which recently showed up on Kris Rusch's 2011 Recommended Reading List. The coupon code is HARVEY-FREE. Go to "Going Harvey..." in my bookstore, click on the ebook section, select "Going Harvey...", and enter that code in the coupon box on the order page. And if you're late reading this and you find that coupon has expired, you can always use one of the coupons on my specials page. "Going Harvey..." is included in my collection, Chimerascope, which is a current finalist for the 2011 Aurora and 2011 Sunburst Awards. Enjoy!

Podcast interview up

Friend and fellow writer, John Mierau, recently interviewed me via Skype for another of his continuing series of podcast interviews with writers. We chatted about a bunch of writerly topics, including short stories, ebooks, the state of NYC publishing, indie publishing options for writers these days, and more. You can check out the podcast on John's site if you're interested.

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Cool! "Going Harvey in the Big House" is recommended reading

Multi-award winning and multi-genre writer Kristine Kathryn Rusch recently posted her 2011 Recommended Reading List, and I was delighted to see that she included one of my short stories, "Going Harvey in the Big House," on her list. Here's what Kris had to say about that story:

"I first read this story in a workshop nearly a decade ago. Since then, Doug sold it to a number of different markets and it was a finalist for Canada’s prestigious Aurora Award. Now it’s out in e-book format. I read a lot, as you can tell, and I don’t remember most stories the next day, let alone decades later. The images and the power of the story have stayed with me all this time. That’s one of the strongest recommendations I can give."

Thanks, Kris! This means a lot to me. It's great to be on a list with names like Neil Gaiman, Bruce Stirling, and Geoff Landis. And if any of you are writers, you really, really need to be following both Kris's and Dean Wesley Smith's blogs on a regular basis. I can think of no better source than these two to understand and stay abreast of the rapidly evolving world of publishing.

Please vote for Chimerascope for the Aurora Award

The voting ballot is now available for the 2011 Aurora Awards, the official awards of the Canadian SF and Fantasy Association. I am thrilled that this year my first full collection, Chimerascope, is one of five finalists under the category "Related Work." Your vote would be truly appreciated.

Why Does Chimerascope Deserve Your Vote?

Fair question. I'm a little biased, but here are some reasons:

  • It is currently also a finalist for the Sunburst Awards, Canada's only juried award for speculative fiction, sharing the ballot with the likes of Guy Gavriel Kay, Robert J. Sawyer, and Charles de Lint.
  • Earlier this year, Chimerascope was on the final ballot for the national CBC "Bookies" awards, sharing the ballot with the likes of Stieg Larsson, Suzanne Collins, William Gibson, and Robert J. Sawyer.
  • It has consistently received rave reviews in Canada and around the world.
  • It contains 16 of my best stories, including an Aurora Award winner, a Best New Horror selection, nine Aurora Award finalists, and three Year's Best Fantasy & Horror honourable mentions
  • Still not convinced? Why not download a free ebook of any story in Chimerascope? Just grab your free coupon code and make your selection in my bookstore

How to Vote

The voting process this year involves two steps (but two simple steps, honest): Step 1: Go to the Aurora Membership page If you didn't participate in nominating for the Aurora's earlier this year, then you need to click on the "Register" link at the bottom of the above page. Registration is free and is a one-time process only. In future years, you will not need to register again, and it saves the Aurora volunteers the work each year to validate that you're eligible to nominate and vote. It also allows you to receive updates and info on the Auroras if you wish. All registration information is solely for the use of Aurora voting and will never be shared with other groups. If you did nominate anything for the Auroras earlier this year, then you're already a registered member. Just enter your email address that you used in that process and your society number that you were assigned at registration in the boxes on this page. This will log you in and take you to your membership page, where you can vote. If you've forgotten or lost your society number, then click on the link "Forgot your Society Number?", and it will be emailed to you. Step 2: Vote At the bottom of your membership page, you will see either a "Buy now" or a "Vote now" link. If you're registered for SFContario, the convention that is hosting the Aurora Awards, your voting fee is already included in your membership, and you'll see the "Vote Now" link at the bottom. If you're not attending SFContario, you'll see a "Buy Now" link. Click on that to pay the $5.50 voting fee via PayPal or credit card. Either way is both quick and secure. You will then be taken to the actual voting ballot page. Follow the instructions (remember this is a preferential ballot -- your first pick is #1, second #2, etc.). You don't need to vote in all categories, and you don't need to enter a vote for all entries in the categories that you do vote in. To vote for Chimerascope, page down to the category "RELATED WORKS" and enter your vote. Any Canadian citizen (not necessarily living in Canada) or permanent resident may vote. The voting period closes October 15, 2011.

About the Auroras

This will be the 31st year that the "Auroras" will be presented. On a per-capita basis, the Aurora Awards have the largest voter turnout of any national SF award in the world, exceeding that of the American-dominated Hugos, the Japanese Seiuns, the British Arthur C. Clarke Awards, and the Australian Ditmars. Each year, a different convention or group hosts the awards ceremony.

Free books and discount coupons in my online store

My online bookstore is now live, and I've added a page where I'll be posting special discount offers, including free giveaways, discounts, and 2-for-1 specials. Current offers include:

  • a coupon for a free ebook version of any short story contained in my second collection, Chimerascope
  • 50% off any ebook in my store.

Most of the coupons have a limit of one use per customer, and they all have a maximum number of buyers, so try them out soon. I'll change the coupons regularly, so check the page often. Any feedback on the store or my site is always welcome.

"By Her Hand..." movie at another film festival

The indie film based on my short story "By Her Hand, She Draws You Down" will be screening at the film festival program at the 2011 Cyphan convention in Chicago, July 29-31. Great to see that this movie still has some legs. It's won 11 awards so far for Anthony and the crew, so let's hope it picks up some more. You can read all about the movie, the awards its won, how it came about, plus see the trailer and more right here. The official Movie Companion Book is also now available as an ebook or a signed personalized print book.

Krista D. Ball interviews me about short fiction

Krista D. Ball interviews me on her site today about writing and marketing short fiction, including the following:

  • Is the short form your favourite to write, or did you just fall into that?
  • How does an author choose when to do a collection?
  • As a reader, what do you look for in short fiction?
  • Do the works of others influence where your ideas take you?
  • What advice would you give an unpublished writer trying to break into short stories?
  • What is your opinion on unpaid or very low paying markets? Do you have a firm rule (“I never work for under 2 cents a word”) or do you play it by ear for each market and/or piece?

Read the interview here.

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