Cheers and congratulations to Jamie Ferguson on the April release of MAGICKS & ENCHANTMENTS. This is the first issue in the Enchanted Tales anthology series from Blackbird Publishing
ABOUT THE ANTHOLOGY:
Set your cauldron to bubbling, and read these fifteen tales of magic, sorcery, and enchantment!
What if you could smell magic—or go to a bar and get a shot of magic to go with your cocktail? Will an aging sorcerer’s last pupil ever learn anything? And what could possibly go wrong when a pair of witches enter the local chili cook-off?
The anthology includes stories by DeAnna Knippling (PPW member), Leah R. Cutter, Robert Jeschonek, Debbie Mumford, Annie Reed, Rei Rosenquist, Alicia Cay (PPW member), James Pyles, Grayson Towler, Jamie Ferguson (PPW member), Dayle A. Dermatis, Thea Hutcheson, Leslie Claire Walker, Sharon Kae Reamer, and Steve Vernon. The anthology may be purchased from Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Books2Read, and Apple.
ABOUT THE EDITOR/AUTHOR:
Jamie Ferguson focuses on getting into the minds and hearts of her characters, whether she’s writing about a saloon girl in the American West, a man who discovers the barista he’s in love with is a naiad, or a ghost who haunts the house she was killed in—even though that house no longer exists. Jamie lives in Colorado, and spends her free time in a futile quest to wear out her two border collies since she hasn’t given in and gotten them their own herd of sheep. Visit Jamie at jamieferguson.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Pinterest, Bookbub, and on her Amazon author page.
Sweet Success is coordinated by Darby Karchut who is an award-winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter. A proud native of New Mexico, she now lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where she runs in blizzards and bikes in lightning storms. Click here to submit your Sweet Success Story.
There’s a lot of variation in how author
readings work, but they basically go like this:
You’re invited to participate in an event and read something you’ve written. You may be asked to read for a certain amount or time, or read an entire story regardless of how long it takes. What you read from could be a specific story, from any published work you’ve written, or from anything you’ve written – which might include a project you’re currently working on.
Depending on the venue and situation, you may
or may not have the opportunity to bring/sell books. Some places (ex.
bookstores) will sell your books, either print or ebook, through their own
Readings usually involve multiple authors
reading at an event, but there are situations where you’re the only author
reading. If you’re participating in a multi-author event you may have a fixed
slot, or can request to go first, last, etc.
After the reading is over, you’ll have the
opportunity to sign copies of your book(s) and talk with members of the
Why participate in a reading?
Readings are a great form of marketing the
title you’re reading from, and they’re a great way to promote you as an author.
Not only does the audience get to hear your story, they have the opportunity to
connect with you as a person.
Having people show up to listen to your story is an awesome experience, and
it can be incredibly rewarding to have the opportunity to meet with members of
the audience afterward.
Should you participate in a
Do you enjoy speaking to a crowd, or are you
super introverted and hate being the center of attention? Or perhaps you don’t
mind talking to an audience, but the idea of reading something of your own
gives you the heebie jeebies?
If you’re really uncomfortable with this type
of activity, it might not be the right thing for you – and that’s okay! You can
be a super successful author without ever reading any of your stories aloud.
If you’re comfortable (or comfortable enough)
with reading to a group, consider the setting. Will you be reading in a quiet
area where the audience can hear you well, or in a noisy bar? Is the location
convenient, or will it involve a three-hour drive each way?
In addition to considering the setting,
consider the situation. If it’s a multi-author reading event, how do you feel
about the other participants? Will you be reading from a romance novel, but the
other authors are horror writers?
Don’t feel obligated to participate in a
reading just because you were invited. Make sure the situation is right for you.
How to prepare
If the venue allows you to sell books, make
sure to bring some to sell. Or if the venue will sell your books for you, make
sure they have all the information ahead of time so they can stock print copies
and/or get your ebook in their ordering system. If you’re reading at a place
that sells your books through their system, they will probably request that you
not bring your own copies.
Bring a pen! You may be asked to sign copies
of your book! If you haven’t autographed a lot of books yet, you may want to think
about what to write ahead of time so that you don’t have to come up with this
on the fly.
Bring business cards, bookmarks, or whatever
materials you have – or prepare some, if you don’t have anything like this put
together yet. Sometimes you’ll have an area to set up a display where you can
showcase more than one of your books. You could make a banner, print out a
giant version of one of your book covers, or do something quirky that fits your
book and/or your brand. For example, horror writer Mark Leslie has a life-sized
skeleton (it’s fake, don’t worry!) named Barnaby who he takes to readings and
One of the most important things you can do is
practice reading ahead of time. If
you’re given a fixed amount of time to read, this will allow you to ensure your
selection will fit in this time period. If you haven’t read to an audience
before, or if you’re not sure which approach to use for this particular story,
practicing will allow you to decide how you want to read. For example, do you
want to use different voices for your characters? Or read them in more of a
Readings are fun!
Participating in a reading can and should be a
fun and wonderful experience. Figure out what is important to you with this
type of event, and vet each opportunity to make sure it’s a good fit for you
and your career.
And have fun!
Jamie Ferguson has curated ten multi-author collections and is working on many more, including a monster-themed anthology series. She is a member of theUncollected Anthology, an urban and contemporary fantasy author collective, which she joined in the spring of 2018. She loves creating colorful spreadsheets and has spent her day job career working in software. Jamie lives in Colorado and spends her free time in a futile quest to wear out her two border collies, since she hasn’t given in and gotten them their own herd of sheep. Yet.
As an editor you define
the vision and theme for the project, select the stories to include, edit those
stories, and usually write accompanying material like a foreword, introduction,
or epilogue. You’ll determine the order in which the stories appear, and might
write a short introduction to each story and/or author. Depending on how the
project is structured, you might also write the sales copy, give direction to
the cover designer—or design the cover, and put together promotional material.
You need to define the
theme clearly enough so the authors understand what you’re looking for, review
and edit manuscripts, and sometimes pass on a story you love because it’s not
right for the collection you’re working on. Editing might go smoothly, or you
might find yourself spending hours editing a story, only to find that the
author isn’t willing to make the requested changes and you have to find a new
author/story to fill in at the last minute. Thinking through your goals and
making decisions ahead of time can make the whole process significantly easier.
How to Select Authors and Stories
Invitations vs. calls
If you extend
invitations, think about the expectation you’re setting. Are you extending a
blanket invitation to accept any story an author sends you? Or have you made it
clear that you intend to review each story to make sure it’s a good fit for
If you put out a call
for submissions, have you made sure your guidelines are clear enough so that
you don’t end up having to wade through a zillion manuscripts that have nothing
to do with the theme you’ve envisioned? Will you publish the guidelines on a
website, in a newsletter, a Facebook group, mailing list, or all of the above?
A combination approach
can work well in situations like if there’s a well-known author or two who
you’d like to include in the collection, or if there’s a group of authors you
know will write exactly what you’re looking for.
Suppose you’ve extended
an invitation to an author based on reading some of their work. You know
they’re capable and talented. Then they submit a story that’s not nearly as
well-written as you know they can write. Do you have the time and energy to
edit this story to get it up to par?
Do you want all of the
stories to be similar, or do you like having more variety? The tighter the
constraints you specify in your vision and guidelines, the more similar the
stories will be.
Do you care if an author
has a modern, professional-looking website, or perhaps doesn’t have a website
at all? Do you want to work with authors who have experience with promotion, or
are you and/or the publisher planning on handling this?
If you’re not counting
on the authors to help out with marketing, you can choose to invite authors
based solely on the quality of their stories. If instead you’re relying on the
authors to help with promotion, you’ll need to base your selections on the
quality of the stories and how effective you feel each author will be at
There’s no right or
wrong way to choose which authors to work with. The key is to figure out what
is important to you and to then be mindful of this while you make your
Your vision for the
project should include both the genre and the theme of your project. The more
clearly you envision and describe your project, the closer the authors will get
to it. Just be sure to keep your vision in mind when reviewing the submissions,
as sometimes authors will submit stories they know are close but not on point.
In addition to
information about your vision for the project, project guidelines typically
include things like allowed story lengths, the length for author biographies
and, if you’re opening the collection up to submissions, how to submit a story,
including the desired manuscript format.
The title of the
collection is just as important as the title of any other book. Make sure it
fits with your vision as well as the genre of the project. One way to figure
out if the title is working is to compare it to other titles in the same genre.
Number/length of stories
You can either set a
specific number of stories to include, or set a target word count for the
The word count range per
story should be set in the guidelines. You might choose to give authors the
option to check in with you if they’re over or under this range, or you could
make it clear that there’s no wiggle room. Authors will often submit stories
that are either too short or too long, regardless of how firm you’ve said the
rules are, so you’ll need to figure out how to handle these situations.
Scheduling and deadlines
Make sure to set a
deadline for submissions that allows authors enough time to write their
stories, and factor in enough time for you to review and edit the submissions.
If you’re involved in
other areas like formatting the book, designing the cover, and putting together
promotional material, take the amount of time you’ll need to spend into
consideration when setting both the launch date and the author deadlines.
If you’re working with a
publisher, this may not apply. However, it’s becoming more and more common for
editors to work very closely with small presses, and often the editor is also
If you’re involved with
setting the price for your collection, look at other, similar anthologies to
see what prices are working well. You might also consider different strategies,
like launching at a temporarily low price point for a week or two, or making
the anthology available for pre-orders.
This is another area
that was traditionally outside of the hands of the editor, but today editors
are often involved in.
Do you have a standard
contract ready? If not, do you feel comfortable putting one together on your
own, or do you need—and can afford—legal advice?
If you’re determining
licensing terms, do you want to request stories be exclusive to your
anthology—and for how long? Are you okay with reprints, or are you only
interested in new stories?
Will you provide a
one-time payment for each story? If so, will you provide a fixed fee per story,
pay per word, or offer a contributor’s copy but no monetary payment?
Would you prefer to pay
royalties, so that each author gets a percentage of the revenue in
perpetuity—and if so, how will you track the sales and deliver regular
payments? If you’re paying royalties, will each author get the same percentage,
or do you want to give a larger percentage to a well-known author?
can be fun!
While putting together an anthology can entail a fair amount of work, it’s incredibly rewarding to see your vision for a project come alive.
Jamie Ferguson has curated ten multi-author collections and is working on many more, including a monster-themed anthology series she’s co-editing with DeAnna Knippling. She’s also a member of theUncollected Anthology, an urban and contemporary fantasy author collective, which she joined in the spring of 2018. She loves creating colorful spreadsheets and has spent her day job career working in software. Jamie lives in Colorado and spends her free time in a futile quest to wear out her two border collies, since she hasn’t given in and gotten them their own herd of sheep. Yet.
The obvious advantage,
of course, that your story is published—and, depending on how the anthology is
set up, you might make some money! But there are a few other important
advantages as well.
A reader who picks up an
anthology because they’re a fan of one of the other authors in the collection
might fall in love with your story, and seek out you and your work. This
can provide tangible results, like someone buying a novel of yours, or signing
up to your newsletter. They might enjoy your story so much that they mention it
to their friends and family, who then also seek out your work.
By participating in a
project with other authors, you’re getting exposure to people you might never
have reached on your own. The same goes for your fans—they may find they enjoy
reading stories by the other authors in the project.
Not only do you get the
benefit of having the other authors’ fans potentially reading and enjoying your
story, anthologies often permit—and sometimes encourage—reprints. Reprinting
allows you to breathe life into a previously-published story by giving new
readers the chance to discover it.
Anthologies are a great
way to put content out on a regular basis. If there are month- or year-long
stretches in between publication of your longer works, seeing your name pop up
in collections of shorter stories helps readers stay aware of you and your
Anthologies that allow
reprints are great for this as well. For example, you might include a story in
one anthology, then a year later include it in a different anthology.
Even though it’s the same story, including it in more than one collection
provides additional opportunities to draw people in to your work.
When you participate in
multi-author projects, promotion is done by the editor, publisher, and
the participating authors. Perhaps the publisher pays for advertising, while
the editor and the other authors merely post on social media, or announce the
collection in their various newsletters. All of this is promotion for the
anthology. You benefit from other people promoting your story, just as they
benefit from the marketing work you do for the project.
Note that how much
promotion is done by the editor, publisher, and other authors can vary
significantly from collection to collection, so make sure to ask about the plan
for promotion before committing if this aspect is important to you.
do you get into an anthology?
Calls for submissions
The traditional way to
get included in a collection is to submit a story in response to a call for
submissions put out by a publisher or editor. The editor writes up their vision
for the collection and lists the guidelines, which usually include things like
the theme, allowed story lengths, the deadline for submissions, and whether or
not reprints are acceptable.
This approach allows you
to get a sense of what the editor is looking for. However, no matter how close
to the mark you feel your story is, the editor might not accept it. If you
write a new story and it’s not accepted, you still have one more story to
market elsewhere—but if you’re short on time, this approach might not work well for
If an editor knows you
and your work, or someone recommends you to the editor, you could get a
personal invitation. This could range from a blanket invitation to include
whatever story you feel fits the project’s theme, to one where the editor
invites you to submit a story for consideration. While there are no guarantees,
if you’re invited to submit a story, your story will probably be
accepted if it’s well-written and on target with the editor’s vision.
Networking can play a
big part in getting invitations. You might meet a fellow writer at a workshop
or conference, or meet someone from an online authors’ group who later decides
to edit an anthology and invites you. Editors often post about their projects
in email lists or Facebook groups; these are usually calls for submissions, but
occasionally the editor is looking for authors who are ready to commit. If you
know someone who has edited anthologies you feel are a good fit for your
writing, you could contact them to see if they’d be interested in working with
you on a future project.
in the right projects
The opportunity to
participate in an anthology is exciting. But just because you have the
opportunity doesn’t mean you should participate.
Make sure the theme is a
good fit for you and for your branding. If you write Science Fiction,
and receive an invitation to participate in a Romance anthology, is this
project really something you want to participate in? You might enjoy writing
something different, but make sure you do so because it’s really what you want
to do—not because you’re trying to shoehorn yourself into a project that isn’t
a good fit.
Time and Money
Do you really
have time to write a new story, or will that mean the novel you’re working on
will be delayed?
If you receive a
one-time payment, are you being paid a standard professional rate? Are you
comfortable knowing that you won’t receive royalties from future sales?
Is the one-time payment,
or the percentage of royalties, the same for all authors? If not, are you
comfortable with the split? Sometimes a higher-profile author might get a
larger percentage of the royalties, or the percentages might vary depending on
the length of each story. If that’s the case, make sure you’re comfortable with
Do you feel comfortable
working with the editor? Are you willing to make any editorial changes they
request, or do you feel their vision for your story conflicts with your own in
a way where there’s no good compromise?
Suppose this editor and
publisher have put together a number of anthologies already. Do their covers
look professional? How about the sales copy? Have they done a good job of
marketing the other anthologies, or do they rely solely on the authors?
What if you’re planning
on including your story in a collection of your own next year, but the
anthology contract states that you’re licensing the rights to your story for
two years? What if the terms state that you’re granting the publisher
subsidiary rights, like film, television, and merchandising? What if the fine
print says that you’re granting copyright of your work to the publisher?
Make sure you’re dealing
with a reputable publisher. The opportunity to be involved in an anthology that
sounds like a great fit for your story can feel very exciting, but it’s
imperative that you review the contract and make sure that you understand—and
are comfortable with—the terms.
can be fun!
Participating in an anthology can be a fun and wonderful experience. Figure out what is important to you with this type of project, and vet each opportunity to make sure it’s a good fit for you and your career.
Next week: Editors and Anthologies. Part 2 of this two-part series on Anthologies.
Jamie has curated ten multi-author collections and is working on many more, including a monster-themed anthology series she’s co-editing with DeAnna Knippling. She’s also a member of the Uncollected Anthology, an urban and contemporary fantasy author collective, which she joined in the spring of 2018. She loves creating colorful spreadsheets and has spent her day job career working in software. Jamie lives in Colorado and spends her free time in a futile quest to wear out her two border collies, since she hasn’t given in and gotten them their own herd of sheep. Yet.
With all the new developments here at Pikes Peak Writers I’m not sure if I can contain my excitement. PPW started as a writing conference and has grown to so much more. They continue to spread their wings and soar to new heights. Read on for more.
It’s a NEWSLETTER!
Did you receive the first PPW Newsletter? What a fantastic job Kim Olgren did to bring this to fruition. If you missed the debut issue go to the membership page to join PPW. It’s FREE, and so is the newsletter.
Can you say, ANTHOLOGY?
I am excited to announce another addition to the Pikes Peak
Writers toolbox. Can you say, ANTHOLOGY?
The planning is still in the early stages, but PPW is publishing an anthology! The
editorial team is being assembled along with the theme and publication details.
Watch the website, social media, and this blog for information to come.
This Month in Writing from the Peak
To kick off PPW’s anthology announcement, Jamie Ferguson has written two posts on writing for an anthology. If you are interested in submitting to PPW’s, or if you have your eye on one of the many wonderful publications out there, you need to read both articles. DeAnna Knippling throws a Red Herring your way, and Leilah Wright has Advice for the Beginning Writer. Get A K.I.S.S. of Comedy from Rebekka R.J. Rowley then wrap it with inspiration found in Gabrielle Brown’s bi-monthly Lit-Quotes.
It will be another amazing year at conference. Will you be
there? This a great place to meet new people (It Takes a Tribe!), and the
workshops will be phenomenal. Registration is open. Don’t miss this fantastic
conference. You’ll find all the details
here. Find your Tribe at #PPWC2019!
Spread Your Wings!
How are you spreading your wings this month? Are you
starting a new project, or pruning the feathers on your WIP? Whatever you are
working on, do it with purpose. Write with conviction. Make every word soar on
the wind. Be the best you can be. WRITE!
Managing Editor, Kathie “KJ” Scrim, is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her inspiration for blogging, flash fiction, short stories, and the long haul of novel writing comes from her many life experiences. When she’s not writing you can find her somewhere in Colorado walking, hiking, or rock climbing at the local gym.