Writing: Acacia Moon Publishing and a Call for Anthologies

Ana's Note: Cross-posted from here.

Several of you know that when I self-published my novel "Pulchritude", I did so under the label of a publishing company that I started at the same time: Acacia Moon Publishing. I've got a lawyer and everything, and she's filed the appropriate papers with state and national authorities, and we've trademarked the logo and it's all very exciting. But it still basically boils down to self-publishing, and it's about as loosely governed a "business" as, say, selling homemade crafts on Etsy or something equal self-starting. And that's precisely what I wanted: something loose and agile and simple.

The reason I spent money on lawyers and registrations and trademarks when none of this is even remotely necessary for self-publishing, is that I have hopes that other indie authors might like to self-publish under the Acacia Moon label besides just myself. I have at least one other indie author on board, and she's helped me tremendously through the process of writing my own novel, but I'd love to have more: a dozen more, ideally. I'd love to take on authors who are already self-published so that they can add to the Knowledge Pool, but authors who are brand new and just starting out in the wild world of self-publishing are equally welcome and are likely to gain the most from this experience.

The goal I have for this "business" isn't really a goal to make money, although that would be nice. But, honestly, I write because I love the idea of being read and I love the idea of being part of an indie community of writers. I have a number of talented friends -- both online and in face-space -- who want to step into the self-publishing waters but aren't quite sure where to start, and that's where I want to come in: I want to help people into self-publishing and work together with them as the helper I wish I'd had when I went through all this last year.

So what does it mean to self-publish under the Acacia Moon Publishing label? The simplest answer is that it's exactly the same as regular self-publishing, except that you use one of the ISBNs purchased under the Acacia Moon account instead of buying your own or going without one. That ISBN notifies book-sellers who the book publisher is.

And that's it. Acacia Moon Publishing doesn't cost anything. It doesn't take in a portion of your book sales. It doesn't stand between you and the book-sellers and dole out your money every month. It's just like self-publishing in every way except for the free-for-you ISBN, the free-for-you website page, and the free-for-you community help. You still set your own prices, determine which book-sellers to use, and have absolute freedom to do whatever you want with your intellectual property. For some people -- people who want to be part of a community and who don't want to have to craft and maintain their own promotional author pages -- this will be a great deal. For others, it won't be. And that's okay.

You might reasonably question just how charitable I am to provide all this help and the not-free-for-me ISBNs to indie authors who want to publish under the Acacia Moon label, and I'll admit that I absolutely am profiting for every author who joins, and here's why: if we collect enough books under the Acacia Moon label, we can negotiate with the book-outlets who refuse to deal with individual indie authors. My immediate goal is to be able to offer my books (as well as anyone else in AMP who wants to opt-in) for free to reviewers on NetGalley, but I can't get in the catalog without 5 titles published under my company's label. (For comparison, indie authors can offer a single title to reviewers as part of a limited run through BookRooster for $67. So... yeah.) My ultimate dream is to be able to offer my books for sale to libraries through Overdrive, but I believe we need 15 titles or so before we can get in. (I say "believe" because they won't commit to a specific number. But Joe Konrath got in on his own and he has about 15-or-so titles. So I think we could too at that point, based on the emails I passed back and forth with the Overdrive personnel.)

So by recruiting indie authors into one company instead of a dozen individual ones, we're gaining more revenue and readers through reviews and library purchases, for anyone who wants to opt-in to those outlets. That's the real goal behind the entire formation of the company: to reach outlets that couldn't otherwise be reached. Because I really want to see my book on the online shelves of my local library.


In addition to recruiting indie authors willing to publish their works under the Acacia Moon label, we're also planning some anthology collections. The idea behind these anthology collections is simple:

  1. Grow the Acacia Moon catalog. 
  2. Give new authors the psychological boost of being published.
  3. Give new authors exposure to the self-publishing process. 
  4. Grow audiences with the inclusion of an "author bio" after each story.

Acacia Moon Publishing does not intend to profit monetarily from these anthologies; they will be "sold" for free since customers expect anthologies to be "hit-or-miss" and since profits can't be easily split across 15+ different authors. If a store prohibits free sales (Amazon has been toying with this for awhile and there used to be a work-around, but I'm not sure if it still works), the anthology will be sold at the lowest possible store price and "profits" will go into a fund for editing, cover art, and ISBNs for later anthologies.

I know from my experience with indie authors that a lot of new authors have a lot of questions and are a little worried and overwhelmed about jumping off the deep end into the self-publishing process. By participating in the anthology process, they can observe the process without being expected to do everything themselves. I also know what a boost it can be to actually see your writings finally "in print" and how incredible that can be in terms of motivation for the next work-in-progess. And most new indie authors struggle with growing an audience, and having a short story with an "author biography" page for where to get more by the same author -- even if it only points to a personal blog or to your Acacia Moon author page -- can be a great publicity boost.

We currently have these ideas in mind for anthologies but more ideas are welcome (especially as we complete the ones currently on the plate):

  • And Then Jayne Was A Zombie: Zombie stories; downer endings welcome but not required.
  • Sorcerers & Secretaries: Tabletop RPG-esque stories with political and/or bureaucratic themes.
  • Ghost Lights: Ghost stories of all flavors and inflections.
  • Happiness Is Mandatory: Dystopias with futuristic flavor; oppressive governments optional.
  • Once Upon A Thyme: Fairy tales; new or re-told or deconstructed.
  • Under the Sea: Exploration beneath watery depths. Mermaids and Cthulhus both welcome.

Ideally, each anthology will have at least 15 authors contribute (which should result in 15-or-more stories). And here's where it gets tricky, because everyone is going to be afraid to volunteer because "what if I don't get it done in time". There is no set time limit for when these are going to be done. If an author contributes early, that means they have more editing and polish time. Once we get the target number of stories, we'll announce a "do-or-die" limit -- i.e., Ya'll, we have the bare minimum. Everyone has eight weeks to get any last submissions in. Hurry! -- and then we're off to the presses. So please don't be afraid to volunteer. And, hey look, there are forums here. We can discuss anthologies in individual threads, offer each other help, etc.

So now, the fine print:

  1. Each author retains full copyright on hir piece, including the right to sell/publish the story in other anthologies, magazines, collections, T-shirts, etc. 
  2. Once the anthology goes to print -- and there will be a final announcement for this -- a story cannot be removed from the anthology. (Some of the stores are notoriously difficult to upload new versions to, so yeah.)
  3. The anthologies will be sold at the lowest store price available. If that price is not "for free", then any profits will go towards editing, cover art, and ISBN costs for future anthologies.

So here's where I'm hoping you're all really excited about this. So how can you help? One-or-more of the following would be awesome.

  • Forward this post to your writing group / indie author friends. Recruitment is vital. 
  • Volunteer to contribute a story and hop into the forums for discussion. 
  • Consider making this part of a NaNoWriMo-style project if you like. 
  • Do not stress out about this. This is supposed to be fun and helpful for you. Not stressful.

I think that's all I can think to say on the topic for now. Comments / Questions / Concerns / etc. are welcome and appreciated.


Yamikuronue said...

I've got a zombie story half-finished, I think I'll move that up my todo list ;)

If I'm already self-published, can I move my book to your label, maybe as a second edition? It'd be nice to have all the books in the series on the same label.

Ana Mardoll said...

That's a good question, and I've received it enough times now that I have a pre-set answer, so copy-pasta ahoy! :D


I have already published my book on Amazon with one of their ISBNs. Can I add my book to the Acacia Moon catalog anyway?

Yes. And there are a couple of ways to do that.

1. The New-and-Improved Version. If you want to start from scratch, you can take down the Amazon listing for your book and upload the new version with one of our ISBNs. Note that this will remove all your reviews and reset your listings and sales data. The use-case for this would be if you had a lot of bad reviews for, say, poor editing and you had an updated version and you wanted to start fresh.

2. The Not-Amazon Version. If you're only on Amazon and want to branch out to other stores, you can keep your current Amazon listing "as is" and use a new Acacia Moon ISBN for the other stores. Actually, Bowker encourages this because they like people to spend as much money as possible on ISBNs. Most people don't because it's a waste of money, but in this case it works well for incorporating pre-published works into our catalog. The use-case for this would be if you had strong Amazon reviews and didn't want to muck with that, but were willing to also publish elsewhere.

3. The Unavailable Version. If you're only sold on Amazon and want to *stay* exclusive to Amazon but don't want to mess up your listing with a new ISBN, you can still "publish" through Acacia Moon Publishing with a new ISBN, even if the version isn't made available for sale anywhere. (AMP does not, after all, have a store. We're a publisher, not a wholesaler.) That "unavailable" version can still go into the catalog and may be offered to reviewers and libraries, if you so choose. However, this may be a violation of the broadly-worded KDP Select exclusivity arrangement. AMP is not a legal entity, does not dispense legal advice, is not responsible for your choices, ya-da.


The shorter version is that Bowker has basically defined ISBN use cases to be intentionally broad in the hopes that you'll use 8+ ISBNs per book. (Which makes them considerably more money.) So the system is practically built to accommodate new 'versions'.

Marcus said...

Uh, wow!

I don't expect to finish any of my current writing projects very soon - too much else going on - but this sounds great. I've got three novels and a work of non-fiction published through lulu.com (but I'm the legal publisher - Published By Lulu is a thing, but not something I was interested in), and also on Kindle Direct: I'm still working on setting up a site to advertise them.

Of course, both Lulu and Kindle Direct are continuous publishing events rather than limited print runs, so in effect these books are still BEING published: this makes a "second edition" problematic, as it would be in competition with the first. Not a problem for me, obviously, and not something Lulu or Amazon would be able to complain about as I understand it, but not ideal for you. So there'd be a lot of issues to iron out: but it certainly sounds interesting.

Marcus said...

(Maybe I should speed up the development of my clockpunk-fantasy setting: I'd not planned to write anything set there until the background was a lot more polished, but Sorcerers & Secretaries sounds a good fit for it, and I'm sure it would provide a good home for zombies, ghosts, and merfolk as well!)

chris the cynic said...

Call it the "lunar edition" (Acacia Moon) and then you've separtated the editions without giving them a chronological order.

Mind you that's the result of about two seconds of thought, at most, so it might not be the best idea.

chris the cynic said...

Pretty sure you mentioned it elsewhere, but I don't see it here, what are the desired word-counts for the stories in the anthologies?

Lonespark said...

Oh my holy wow this is so awesome!!!
I want to buy them all!!!

(And maybe, in some far-off future, write something. Like, when the kids leave for college.)

Ana Mardoll said...

Lulu and CreateSpace are print-on-demand providers. They offer ISBNs as a courtesy because some authors like to purchase a bulk of their books and convince stores to stock them, but they are not publishers in the sense that any other version of your book is in "competition" with them. They are providers.

Ana Mardoll said...

Oh, gosh, that was a guess on my part. Wikipedia says that short stories are usually less than 7,500 words:


So I said "less than 10,000" words:


No minimum word limit is required. My "Pillow Talks" story for the Ghost Lights anthology is currently standing at ~6,600 words.

chris the cynic said...

Write something now. Write about how difficulty it is to be a geomancer* when you've got these kids to to take care of, and it's a recession so you're having trouble getting a job, and ... I don't know, something about a dragon maybe?

It'd fit right in, just reserve a few minutes a day to the project.

And you probably still don't have time, but I'd like to read your contribution so I think I'm contractually obligated to try to encourage you.


* technically would be one who sees by means of the earth, just as a necromancer is one who sees by means of the dead (examining livers and entrails, nasty stuff) but these days the colloquial meaning is probably something like rock/earth magician.

Patrick said...

I'm guessing this is fer English writers only? I might whip up a short story in English, but my book is being written in German.

chris the cynic said...

Perhaps someone could do some fables, I doubt I'm up for it but at 10,000 you could fit in 18 The Unicorn in the Garden length things with room to spare.

I don't really think I'm a fable person, but if someone is it could be interesting.


Trigger warnings for the Unicorn in the Garden: ablist language, attempted committing of someone who isn't mentally ill, poetic justice resulting in the same.

Here's the story.

Ana Mardoll said...

That's a good question, and I don't rightly know the answer. The Bowker ISBN database allows a plethora of languages to be specified, so it's certainly POSSIBLE to publish in other languages than English, but we'd have to be very clear and upfront when offering it to libraries, reviewers, etc. that the language wasn't English or you could risk a lot of unhappy / negative reviewers.

Probably as long as the pitch was something like:

Language: German
[Insert Pitch Here In German]

Patrick said...

Well, let me finish that thing, and once I do, we'll see about the rest :-)

Will Wildman said...

Wouldn't someone who read entrails be a haruspex? I thought necromancer would technically refer to someone who communicated with spirits of the dead or something like that. (For the purposes of predicting the future, as you say.) But I am only interested, not an expert, and I'm guessing you know the language better than I.

I would like to get the -urgist ('worker', I believe, as in metallurgist) suffix in wider use, but it runs into a lot of unfortunate diphthong confusion. Geourgy looks like it should be pronounced sort of like 'joorjy'. Can the diaeresis help us? GeoĆ¼rgy? ...Nope. Is there an appropriate consonant that we could slip in there? I read one series (Mistborn, Brandon Sanderson) with 'hemalurgy' (blood magic) and I'm not sure if that L has any authentic basis or if it was just to make the word more manageable.

Dav said...

So for those of us that aren't professional grade writers, what kind of editing support would there be for the anthologies?

Lonespark said...

Geo-orgy? Where? Ohhhh...

Thanks for the encouragement, chris. I'll write a story if the mood strikes, but right now I'm a lot more likely to turn energy into essays. And those can be Slacktiverse guest-posts, so that's useful.

The only thing I kind of sometimes do that almost fits with these things is write sonnets/vilanelles/AS-ish allierative poetry, songs, etc. about politics/comics/etc. in archaic language. So if other people did that we could make an anthology. I think it is wicked fun. I have lately been trying some kind of new form (perhaps it ought to be beaten into a sestina? Part of my brain still thinks it can't be poetry if it doesn't rhyme) about some famous solar panels:

Then the glass upon the castle's mighty roof,
that caught the sunlight,
made from its harnessed pow'r enriching work,
Was cast, down, broken, and its art
decried as wicked magic and disdained.

Etc. (poetic license, obvs. Unity College knows they weren't all broken...)

chris the cynic said...

Wouldn't someone who read entrails be a haruspex?


I was thinking that there was just some Greek-Latin word differences going on, but now I am genuinely unsure what Greek entrail readers were called because it appears that you are correct that a Necromancer wasn't as hands on with the dead as a haruspex. Clearly more study is required.

Will Wildman said...

I am also probably heretical enough to accept a Greek/Latin mashup if it would sound better. (My parents told me about a guy who couldn't stop complaining about the hybridisation in 'spectroscopy'.) It's too bad the words don't flow together very well (Lateek? Gratin?) like they do with franglais.

Ana Mardoll said...

Well, currently folks are posting their short stories in the community forum (link at top of blog) and I'm hoping that there will be a lot of community involvement like a writing board. So far, we've seen that in a lot of the stories -- particularly the ones where the author included sufficient white space for comfortable reading. ;)

We've also got some indie editors loosely involved. I envision an anthology collection coming together like this:

1. People start posting "here's a story for X".
2. Community feedback is exchanged; edits are made as authors take ideas on board.
3. Eventually, Critical Mass (15 stories) is reached. The Anthology Committee calls "2 weeks, then pencils down!" (or whatever. 2 months. Picking a time at random.)
4. The "final" versions are handed in. The anthology committee -- which will almost certainly include at least one editor if not more -- will make minor suggestions/corrections.
5. Once all corrections are cleared with all authors (2 more months?), the anthology will be considered complete and will be released.

Mind you, we've not done one yet, so there may be wrinkles to iron.

EdinburghEye said...

Woo! :D

I'd love to contribute a story to either (or both, maybe) "Happiness Is Mandatory" or "Once Upon A Thyme" . Er. I write under a different name from which I blog. I have a couple of stories which I wrote specifically for reading aloud to children I know, which may not be absolutely suitable for "O U A T" - can I email them to you and absolutely no offense if you get back to me with "That's not a fairy tale!"

(I have this problem a lot.)

Also, will very happily promote. :D

EdinburghEye said...

Ah - actually this comment clarifies a lot of what I was wanting to ask, so just ignore preceding comment.

Ana Mardoll said...

Well, I've not asked the community as a whole, but most of us don't seem to have children - I certainly don't - and I haven't seen "kid friendly" passed about as a high priority. I also have other reasons for not wanting super strict guidelines, as that makes more work for the anthology committee.

I myself strongly encourage headers on stories that indicate expected age, rating, triggers, or whatever else the author is comfortable communicating up-front. I think at that point, basic bases have been covered. :)

Randy Kay said...

Just wanted to chime in that I am legitimately realllly interested in what you are doing, and I plan to get involved in the future when I feel that I actually have something to offer!

As for anthologies... well, I've written a set of short stories, although they do not fit in with any of those you have, unfortunately. If there is a point at which there is an anthology of military stories (I think of mine as "soldier stories", though - tales of everyday lives for soldiers), that would definitely be of interest to me. But, hey, maybe I'll just write enough of these short stories to do an ebook all of my own!

★☆ keri ☆★ said...

I think this is a fantastic idea, and good on you for starting it!

I'm looking forward to seeing success from the endeavor, truly. :)

Marcus said...

Re: the print-on-demand providers: my main point about competition was really that, if the print-on-demand versions were still available from other outlets, that might be damaging to the prospects of any Acacia Moon imprint of my books. I'm afraid I put it rather badly, but what I was wondering was whether I would have to withdraw them to avoid treading on the new edition's toes.

Ana Mardoll said...

I'm sorry, I feel silly but I still don't understand the question. Acacia Moon is not a publisher in that we print off the books for you. No printing presses here! We just give you an ISBN and you are still responsible for uploading the eBook to sites for sale or to POD providers for print versions.

Bowker -- the supplier of ISBNs -- specifically encourages authors to use different ISBNs between, say, the Kindle version and the Nook version. (Most people don't because it's a gimmick for Bowker to make money, but it's certainly doable.) Different editions are not in competition with each other in this case because Lulu doesn't make money from you as an author except in so much as they skim a piece of the profits off the printed books. And Acacia Moon doesn't print books.

So we couldn't "compete" with Lulu even if we wanted to. ;)

Did I miss the point of the question again? :)

depizan said...

If I get any ideas that fit any of the anthologies, the resulting stories are all yours.

Also, I'd be willing to try my hand at proofreading, if that would be of help. I don't think I know enough to be an editor, or even play one on TV, but I'm reasonably good at catching errors, despite the fact that I can't spell to save my life.

Ana Mardoll said...

Oh, you are SO on the Anthology Committee now. :D

(If you wanna be when we get to that point, of course.)

I'm a dreadful proofreader. I tend to read what "makes sense" instead of what's written. I'm pretty good with grammatical tenses, for some reason, but not so much words errors. (Like "hat" instead of "that".)

Lonespark said...

Ohhh, well, I can proofread things, too.

Ana Mardoll said...

The more the merrier! One neat thing about posting stories in the forum as they're written is that everyone can leap in and comment. Very nice. :D

Will Wildman said...

I'm currently editing a friend's finished NaNovel, which seems to be going pretty well. I'm not sure what the finalised version will look like, since by the time I'm done with it the pages are riddled with red Tracked Changes text as I've restructured sentences and attached comments about things that don't make sense or need more descriptions or wevs. So far, the author has not tried to kill me with their brain (that I am aware of) and seems pleased, so I may be helpful in this too. (I am especially watchful and meddlesome on matters of punctuation.)

Ana Mardoll said...

Awesome! Punctuation Watchers are welcome. I myself have a love affair with the semi-colon that is perhaps best kept to private writings.

I really *must* insist on Oxford Commas, though. ;)


In all seriousness, I should interrupt myself and note that authors will have control over all this and everything will be suggestions unless there's something really unusual going on. Everyone, after all, has their own style. However! I have yet to meet an indie author who will turn down free editing suggestions -- even if you don't take them all, it's still a tremendous value being offered, and we generally recognize that. Good editing is *expensive* to come by.

Marcus said...

Ah, OK! The misunderstanding was on my side, sorry.

All four of my existing books are already with the major online booksellers, and I own several more unused ISBNs; I'd need to think about whether it would be worth moving them to Acacia Moon. The anthologies, however, certainly sound like something I'd love to be involved with.

chris the cynic said...

I my fracking god I have an idea. Its a very simple idea and he might say no (or might have to say no depending on contract terms and whatnot) but you know who has a really awesome ghost story? It's short, only a bit over 15 hundred words, but it's out there just waiting to be put in a book so maybe you should ask him.

Fred Clark has a ghost story.

Ana Mardoll said...

Oh my gosh! That would be delightful!

But, I mean, he doesn't know me from Adam. I was a lurker until the, um, Patheos move. I'm not sure how polite it would be for me to cold-solicitate him...?

chris the cynic said...

Well I've been in contact with him a couple of times, and, though I don't actually know what linked in is*, I'm in his network on Linked In.

So I could contact him for you, if you like. But not tonight, tonight I need a shower and sleep.


* My understanding of the site is similar to how Fred himself described it:LinkedIn, I'm told, is a helpful networking tool for those of us who aren't generally comfortable networking. Or even comfortable using "network" as a verb. "How does one use it?" I ask. "You know, just like Facebook." "You mean I should check in every couple of weeks to see if anyone has died?" "That right there. That's why you're still unemployed."

Samantha C said...

This is a great idea, Ana, and I really do hope the ambition pulls through :)

I have an idea for Under the Sea; a part of me isn't jazzed about selling for free but then I'm not selling anything for money yet; a part of me is WAY SCARED about community editing because of Bad Experiences in creative writing class that probably won't pop up here. (I do a LOT of editing and thinking and deciding in the drafting stage and when I submit a copy anywhere it's pretty much a final draft, I have a big mental block about doing anything more than tweaking words at that point)

As for more anthologies, might I suggest a Superhero book? It's a sub-genre that's applicable to a thousand different genres, with recognizable tropes and setpieces and character types that has worlds of room to grow in the progressive direction this community likes. Plus it might finally find a home for my Don Quixote knock-off (if I don't just do that through AMP anyway...)

Ana Mardoll said...

(I do a LOT of editing and thinking and deciding in the drafting stage and when I submit a copy anywhere it's pretty much a final draft, I have a big mental block about doing anything more than tweaking words at that point)

I'm actually very similar, which is one reason why all suggestions are 100% authors' choice. Some of our authors are VERY nervous starting out and want a lot of editing and suggestions; others are more interested in doing things their own way. This is meant to be fun and easy for everyone, so if you happen to fall into the latter group, one can console theirself that they take up very little community resources. ;)

I like the idea of a Superhero anthology; I'll have to add that to the list.

Lonespark said...

Superhero anthology is a great idea. There are so many different ways to approach the idea of superheroes. I think people could do really nifty things with superheroes/prowess heroes/gods compare and contrast, or multiple or evolving versions of tales...

Is there some place around here that has any more detail about specific anthologies. I guess it's mostly the Sorcerors and Secretaries one I'm curious about. I guess I don't have a clear idea of what's within the scope. Even a link to the original thread where it came up would be good.

Oh, and for th dystopia - are post apocalyptic things going to fit in there? I just would really like to encourage publication of a lot of the Left Behind riff stuff... A World Without God, and several others...

Brin Bellway said...

Even a link to the original thread where it came up would be good.

This was the beginning. There was another thread where it was brought up again and solidified into a serious idea, but I don't have a link handy for that one and I don't have time to go look.

chris the cynic said...

I guess it's mostly the Sorcerors and Secretaries one I'm curious about. I guess I don't have a clear idea of what's within the scope. Even a link to the original thread where it came up would be good.

The original thread is here. Just keep reading from that point on for it goes on. Ana specifically highlights this post in addition to the one I just linked to, but read the whole thing.

It was also discussed in
Open Thread in the Middle of the Week in which Ana wrote:So I think you're talking me into Sorcerers & Secretaries because that conveys "magic and mundane" without pining people down to anything specific. Because an anthology is usually about 10-15 authors and I don't think we can get 15 separate stories just on politics and echo chambers as viewed through D&D terms.

I mean, I think there are 15 stories that could be written on that subject, but I'm going to have trouble scraping up 15 willing authors PERIOD, so loose guidelines on acceptable stories for the anthology collection seems like a feature rather than a bug in this case. Because if I'm lucky enough to get that many submissions, they'll probably be very varied from such a direct subject matter.

So the idea, basically, is to be as open as it can be so that 15 authors can be gotten.

Meanwhile I just want to produce a different name that could be applied to the original concept for every letter of the alphabet. So far there's at least one, sometimes more, for everything except for K, X, Y, and Z. Kraken and ....? Zugzwang and Zombies? How can those four letters not have title possibilities?

chris the cynic said...

I bow before you, O' speedy one.

Lonespark said...

Thanks, guys.

Lonespark said...

And while I am requesting (adorable, 8-legged) ponies, would you consider doing more of a romance-themed one? It could be romance with a particular focus. I would vote for something like, main characters can't be straight white able-bodied mainstream Christian dudes, although expressed more positively...

chris the cynic said...

I don't think I ever mentioned this, Ana, but for at least ten years if not longer I've been thinking someone should do exactly what you're doing with your new publishing company. So I wanted to say something positive about you actually doing it, because thinking about it doesn't really get results.

I'm not sure what something positive is here. "Go, Ana!" or, "Good for you," or whatever, but just wanted to say something about the fact that I am impressed and think it a good thing that you're doing this.

Something positive.

Ana Mardoll said...

Well, I think that's a great idea! But, ah, I can only publish what people contribute. Of the 6 planned anthologies we have, if we do 15 stories a pop, that's 90 stories I need. I think on last glance I had about a dozen submissions.

So there's kind of a natural tension between "do I go recruit heavily for X" (J.D. would like to get the Ghost Lights out by Halloween but I just don't see that happening without a STRONG recruitment drive) or "do I just wait and see what Santa brings me".

If 15 romance stories show up in the AMP forum, I will absolutely publish them. But I'd kind of like not to have more than 6-7 anthologies going at once. There's kind of a natural "enthusiasm slough" for the people who contribute early and then have to wait 8+ months for the remaining stories to roll in. Already the forum is slightly less active than it initially was -- we had several post-and-runs early on. :)

(Thank you, Chris, for starting a thread today and ICE for contributing. I'm afraid I've been holed up in bed today resting. :))

Ana Mardoll said...

And thank you very much Chris. To be honest, this is a little nerve-wracking for me in an OHMYGOSH IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING WHAT IF I MESS IT UP kind of way. It's one of the rare things in my life that I can't make succeed All On My Own, so either the community likes it and it works out well as a team effort or it bombs and I'll be left feeling like a failure since it was my idea and I was the one dispensing the ISBNs. That's a little scary and I get a little anxious about it sometimes.

But, eh, reach for the stars. :)

Lonespark said...

Right, yeah, I get that. I wasn't sure if the proposed anthologies were based on level of interest or...something else...

Anyway, awesome project is awesome.

Ana Mardoll said...

Phew! Okay, I sent him an email -- which was more than a little scary because OMG FRED CLARK FOUNDING FATHER AMAZING GENIUS on top of OMG I AM AN ANNOYING COLD SOLICITOR. You (or anyone else who knows him better than I) are more than welcome to assure him that I'm not a snake oil salesperson. :)

I'ma go breathe in a paper bag now. This is just like the time I wrote James Randi.

Ana Mardoll said...

Oh! I see what you mean. That's a good question.

So the 6 we have "in progress" right now were originally thought up because, at the time, we had at least one WIP for each spread across AMP authors. Unfortunately, we've lost a few authors since then to the demands of Real Life. So I reckon it does look kind of random now. :/

I've written down "Superheros" and "Romance" so I won't forget. :)

We'll have to have a talk about the romance one though; I'm *massively* in favor of non-hetero-cis stories but I'm a ciswoman in a heterosexual relationship and therefore maybe should not be in charge of that one. There are always concerns that cispeople can unconsciously eroticize non-hetero-cis romances in problematic ways, so we might need someone else to step up to a leadership position on that one.

Or am I being too concerned over nothing? I would just hate to be appropriative on accident.

chris the cynic said...

I don't know him that well, I met him (there are pictures) at The Rally to Restore Sanity*, and I've emailed him once or twice to report broken links (and feel shocked and amazed when I get a thank you in response because it's Fred Clark) but what I do know of him is that he seems really nice, really humble, and fairly forgiving of a person becoming completely distracted from a conversation they're in with him by the sudden compulsion to take a picture of a protest sign. (Yes, I am that distractable.)

And I was quite surprised when he asked me to be part of his LinkedIn network, but I still don't really know what one is supposed to do with LinkedIn.

It's not as if he doesn't know who you are though, he's linked to you on the side of his blog. On the off chance that he does respond with, "Who are you, how can I trust you, do you have references?" I'd certainly be willing to speak up on your behalf, but other than that now that you've contacted him I'm not sure what else I could say.


*No one knew what he looked like. I asked random people if they were Fred Clark, random people asked me if I was Fred Clark, there was a lot of random person asking.

Ana Mardoll said...

He links to ME? I feel like I've been told that before and somehow forgot, but it seems a strange thing to forget, like forgetting that Shakesville links to me or that the president mentions me in his addresses. LOL. That's very exciting. :)

Was it a *good* protest sign? :P

chris the cynic said...

Was it a *good* protest sign? :P

Honestly, I don't think so. My memory is that it was a bad sign, but one I kept on missing out on getting pictures of. So here it was again and I wasn't going to miss it that time. I take enough pictures that I had to move a bunch of them off my computer, rally to restore sanity ones included, because I'd filled up my computer.

Also I get into this picture taking mode that I can't always get out of. Like I'll be going up a mountain and take a picture of a mushroom, and then the next mushroom I come across I'll be stuck in, "Is it better than the last one? Worse? If it is worse, how much worse? Worse enough not to take a picture, and what if it's not worse at all, and..." and so it goes that I take a picture of every single mushroom on the damn mountain.

I'll see if I can find the picture, Fred's ear is in it as I recall.

He links to ME? I feel like I've been told that before and somehow forgot, but it seems a strange thing to forget, like forgetting that Shakesville links to me or that the president mentions me in his addresses. LOL. That's very exciting. :)

I watch my blog stats with a fair degree of obsession, see above about pictures of mushrooms, and one day I saw that someone had followed a link from a thread at Slacktivist that I'd never commented in. Clearly this was cause for confusion. I went to investigate. Then I discovered that There was a link to me in the sidebar. This was accompanied by one of those, "Oh My God, he noticed me!" moments.

And one time, one time, he linked to me in a post. Yesterday, though that link is now on page 80 of slacktivist, someone came to my blog via that link.

What he linked to remains the most viewed post at my blog. The Universal Lord's Prayer is getting up there, but it's been linked to again and again (first time by you, several times by TRiG.) Fred Clark, with one post, in which it was just one of many links, made something the most viewed post in history at my blog.

Here are the top ten posts, in history, at my blog:
1 Something Fred Clark linked to
2 Something Ana Mardoll and TRiG linked to
3 Something Ana Mardoll linked to
4 Something Ana Mardoll linked to
5 Something that people accidentally stumble across on Google while looking for something else.
6 to 10 Five things I've promoted solely on my own, which, combined, have been viewed as much as the thing Fred linked to.

My advice to the would be blogger trying to drive traffic (in order of effectiveness)
1 Get Fred Clark to link to you.
2 Get Ana Mardoll to link to you in such a way TRiG also links to you repeatedly over an extended period of time
3 Just get Ana Mardoll to link to you.

Ana Mardoll said...

Ha. The stats pages I had to stop watching because they CONFUSE me. For example, here is my "all time" post popularity. Besides the soul-wrenching fact that my "rooting a nook color" posts are 7 times more popular than my feminism posts, you will note a very clear fact in all this:

Clearly no one is reading my Twilight posts. LOL.


(I also can't think it's a coincidence that the "Misogyny Masquerading as Misandry" post is a Scott Adams post. I hope *that* is the reason for all the eyeballs and NOT the fact that the comment section featured one of those Invisible Pink Unicorn Feminists that really *do* think all men are rapists waiting to happen. I would hate to think that thread is being circulated for anti-feminist reasons.)

Also note that "Good Kings, Bad Laws" is -- I believe -- the thread with all the cool D&D stories. So that's an interesting data point. :D

Ana Mardoll said...

Also, I find it amusing to note that I have a similar problem with cameras, but mine has a sprinkling of absent-mindedness. "Did I get a picture of a mushroom yet? I remember lining one up in the sights, but I'm not sure I actually took it. Was it a good picture at all? Maybe I should take another twenty just to be sure."

chris the cynic said...

The pageviews on my top ten posts combined are less than the pageviews on the least viewed post you've shown. Clearly, people like you.

Not one of my .hack posts is in the top ten, nor, for that matter, are any story pots unless you count the "My Zombie Apocalypse Team" post that keeps on getting hits for people wondering how to form their zombie Apocalypse team. And those poor people are getting the wrong one. If you want some serious thought on the formation of a zombie apocalypse team you want part Alpha not Part 4ish.

I may have to take that back though, A thousand Generations of Dragon Riders is a story, after a fashion. It's a story composed entirely of exposition, but it's a story.

So there is a story in the top ten.

Ana Mardoll said...

Ah, but a "story composed entirely of exposition" is not necessarily a bad thing. :D

I don't know if people "like" what I write, but I'm glad they read any way. I probably get as many OMGWTFBBQ? comments on my Narnia posts as I do YESTHISQFT comments. (Susan is SO subjective. She's like a Rorschach character, I swear.)

Lonespark said...

Stories composed entirely of exposition are my favorite. Like, worldbuilding in immaculate detail, or character studies, or history or theory or cultural stuff (I guess that's worldbuilding, too?)

Lately/always I have the problem of not being able to finish essays. I have like 8 potential Slacktiverse guest-posts that are at least one-third written kicking around my computer.

I kinda don't go for the Twilight posts because they seem just. so. detailed. But also I haven't read the books and won't just for that. Narnia rocks, though. Brought me here in the first place.

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