Working on an anthology is an entirely different beast. Think Beauty and the Beast. You start out with a quarrelsome, growly, domineering chunk of words that need to be tamed into one cohesive book.
Picture this: Beauty dreaming of finding her hero. Every August the Maine Romance Writers partake in a brainstorming retreat. Okay, so it’s like a huge slumber party. We arrive with sleeping bags and pillows and laptops and snacks (salty and savory) and wine. Did I mention laptops? Yes, we do work. We spend all day either brainstorming our next story in small groups, or sitting on the deck or down by the lake writing on our current work. We break every few hours to exchange writing tips, eat, or take a boat ride around the lake.
Two years ago, we sat on the deck, sated with food and talk and wine (just a little), with the sound of loons on the lake and the full moon arrowing a golden path across the lake and right up on the shoreline in front of us. Our host suggested we might like to try writing an anthology. Within minutes we’d created a town, brainstormed names of the town, set a few guidelines, and we were off and running
Or so we thought.
The reality is the work we did that night was Beauty’s fantasy.
Then the Beast appeared. All the details of actually putting together an anthology. The writing was the easy part—Beauty’s fantasy. Managing a project, was the roaring and untamable Beast. I am happy to say we did finally tame the beast, and named it Welcome to Serenity Harbor.
Beauty and the Beast are now living happily ever after. But as with all good marriages or committed relationships, one must open their eyes, negotiate, persevere over the hurdles, and make a strong commitment to reach that Happily Ever After.
|Why am I here?|
As one of two project managers, working with a group of six committee members and all the authors who were excited about the project, here are the things I learned: (caveat, not all anthologies revolve around a town, like ours did. Some have a theme. Some are made up of a group of authors and there are no rules around story content.)
♥ Map out the project and plot exactly what the project will look like.
♣ Set rules, such as genre of anthology (ours was contemporary), length (we chose short novellas, 15 – 25K words).
♣ Write a contract. Include costs, such as professional editor for each work, (authors absorbed that cost), due date of manuscript, anticipated release date, budget (cost of formatter, cover artist, and promotion, for which we shared cost), and production timeline.
♣ Determine as a group, parameters around the theme, such as name and details of town that all authors will set their story in, name of overall anthology, type of promotion, voting on book cover design, etc.
♣ What anthologies are being sold now, how are they set up, etc.
♣ Talk to other authors in anthologies to understand their process.
♣ Find professionals, editors, formatters, cover artists, etc.
♣ As a committee, agree on the process.
♣ Communicate with all authors each step of the way.
♣ Vote on any spending.
♥ Evaluate at the end. Our learnings included:
♣ Making sure you factor in realistic expenses, such as copy editing and project manager costs up front.
♣ Set deadlines and stick to them.
♣ Hire a copy editor, and have one person, not an author related to the anthology, determine if the book fits the criteria and is edited properly
♥ Make it your own
♣ One fun thing we did, was to insert the mention of a sheep into each story. Look at the back cover and you will see a rendering of a sheep that says “find me”, crafted by one of our authors.
Although, as a group we bumbled our way through the process, for me it was an incredible experience of teamwork and learning about self-publishing. And although the Beast still growls once in a while, the Beast is also loving and tamed. And he and Beauty are living happily ever after.
Welcome to Serenity Harbor, Maine, where waves slap against the rocky shore and love is always in the air.
Two centuries after a ship, The Serenity, brought the first families to this part of the secluded Maine coast, the town is home to their descendants and a destination for tourists and travelers seeking their own slice of heaven—and blueberry pie.
Join nine Maine authors and their friends in their walk around Serenity Harbor, and maybe you’ll find the sheep that sometimes get loose on Main Street!
Authors contributing to Welcome to Serenity Harbor:
Terri Brisbin, Teagan Oliver,
Kat Henry Doran, Luanna Stewart,
Michelle Libby, Maggie Robinson,
Delsora Lowe, April Canavan and
Rose Morris, Meg Kassel
Welcome to Serenity Harbor is available now. Check your favorite e-retailer to purchase.
From Cabins to Cottages…Keep the Home Fires Burning
A transplanted big city girl, world-wide traveler, and foreign-service brat, who now lives in a coastal Maine town, Delsora Lowe loves to write about small town heroes from the cowboys and ranchers of Colorado to the game wardens and lobstermen of Maine. Her work in the hospitality industry, rape crisis, admissions, alumni relations, and women’s advocacy has allowed her to interact on a daily basis with real life heroines and heroes. Lowe’s family visits to Colorado are the inspiration for an upcoming contemporary western series.
The Legacy of Parkers Point by Delsora Lowe in the anthology Welcome to Serenity Harbor:
Two lives, one legacy—the lure of Parkers Point
One runs from …
Inheriting his grandfather’s property on the rocky point in Serenity Harbor, Maine is the perfect escape from the biggest professional disaster of Grayson’s life. Will distance and space help Gray heal old family and professional wounds enough to open his heart to love?
One runs toward …
Lauralee struggles to save the family art gallery for her aunt. Returning to Serenity Harbor is payment for her aunt’s kindness that saved her life and soul. Now she’s on a quest to find her father. Will this trip home help her learn to trust and finally convince her she can truly belong for the first time in her life?