Or, nobody else has any better idea what will work than you do, so listen to what they say, absorb it, and then do what you think it right. After all, the only limits are MY imagination? Y’all are DOOMED!!! Just thought I would share that thought with everyone, as I move into the fall, at least mentally.
Twice a year right now, we have been doing Blaze Ward Presents, a type of open call anthology where everything is royalty share, I don’t ask for right other than publication, and we leave them up forever to earn a few nickels for everyone. None of them are going to make us rich, but I continue to do it for two major reasons.
First, I’m having fun. Simple as that. I know of a handful of folks where that issue was their first ever publication that actually paid them anything. And I have met a number of folks that I didn’t know, because the call got shared wide enough that they found me and submitted.
That takes us to the second reason we do this, which is for the marketing element. You’ve heard me talk about how for Indie Writers the biggest problem is discoverability. We don’t have New York publishers buying ads in various magazines or newspapers to show us off to potential readers. What we have is the hustle.
When I do something like Nuns With Guns, I have a pool of nearly twenty people who are going to tell all their friends about it, and some of those folks will buy the issue. From there, my hope is that they will start reading everyone else and discover me and the gang. If they like me, I have an entire catalog of books they can buy, and I am a good enough writer to hold my own, if your tastes align with mine.
So we do these, and we have fun and get silly. For the first three issues:
I gave everyone a month. Seriously. Mad Science was announced October 1, 2019. Submissions closed November 1. I published it December 1. I’m used to folks from the Oregon Writers Network, for whom having a whole month to write a story is slacking. They’ve had to write six short stories, one per week, as part of the old anthology workshops. Dean would send the theme Monday at 0000 and you had to send in the story Sunday by midnight. Six weeks in a row.
So they can write me great stuff with a month. Plus, you don’t have time to revise it fourteen times and rip out all the emotion when you’re running that hard to complete it. That means I tend to get stories with more raw emotion. I can fix spelling errors and grammatical fuckups. I want power.
But for the next issue (Fall 2020), I wanted to get a little weird. Weirder, maybe.
So I reached out to several musicians and artists and asked if they wanted to play. I still won’t tell all the writers until much later, but music and visual arts require a longer lead time if I want quality.
Yesterday, I got my first submission of music, a guitar rip that felt like a revolution happening in my ears. It was lovely. And the guy is also a writer, so he’s going to write me a story that goes with it. Double win.
The goal is that we’ll put his sheet music in the anthology, along with a link to where they can listen and buy. Because I want a multi-sensory experience, and so do you.
So if any of you are musicians and interested in writing me some music, reach out for more details. If you do visual arts and want to do me 6-10 pictures (pencil sketch up to whatever, but they’ll go into a B/W book, so plan accordingly), I can also line you up for a share, and I don’t want exclusivity on music or art.
I want to expose you to all my fans. I want you to bring all your fans over and have them read me and my friends and discover lots of other folks
The future began yesterday. What are you doing to keep up?