Thursday, 30 July 2015

Getting together ... - Karen Bush and Authors Electric

Someone asked me recently about collaborating on a book with another author. I’ve done
quite a few and so far they’ve all been a joy to do and I’ve always learned a lot during the process. The best advice I could offer though, was to only write with people you like, respect and get along with: it’s a policy I’ve always followed and has allowed us to thrash out disagreements over content in an amicable way, to have a happy time doing the book and to remain friends afterwards.

Creating an anthology should be a piece of cake in comparison, but it requires a different sort of collaboration: it’s more to do with organisation than actual creative input. First of all there is the tossing up in the air of the idea of doing one in the first place – to be honest I can’t understand why we haven’t produced one before, as we all write fiction … 

Sue Price: I can't, either, Karen. I mean, we all write fiction - what better way to introduce our work to a new audience than an anthology of short stories? - All credit to you, for seeing what none of the rest of us did.


Then, after the initial enthusiasm there is the need to find someone daft enough to impulsively stick a hand in the air and volunteer to oversee it from start to finish and put it all together. Followed by deciding on titles, organising a vote on it, setting deadlines and word lengths, finding more volunteers to design covers and write blurbs: there is the chasing up of those who are not on Facebook and have no idea of this project even being in hand, gentle persuasion of those who are unsure about doing it at all, and merciless nagging of those who are behind schedule or considering dropping out – followed by the grind of checking all the stories submitted, carefully scanning for accidental typos, deciding on and adding a house style, sending proofs of each story out to its author, putting them all together in the right order, formatting and then proofreading one more time.  Doing the technical stuff may be tedious but is actually the easiest and least blood-pressure raising part of it all as you have control of everything.  The challenging part is the rounding up in the first place of all 29 of the stories that make up our bumper anthology; there have been times when yes, it really has felt like herding cats. Collaboration is so much simpler when working with just one other person: and
oh! the lists involved … 

Sue Price: There's a little known Greek legend, where Zeus offers Hercules an option on persuading 29 playwrights to produce a scroll collection together - 29 playwrights who all write in different styles and in geographically scattered places, have different temperaments and a great variety of other committments. Hercules says, no thanks, he'd rather wrestle with the Nubian Lion and behead the Hydra. It was an enormous, difficult job, and you managed it with good humour and patience - but never skimped on quality. I'm so impressed. (Especially when compared to my bumbling efforts to put the book up on CreateSpace as a paperback.)


But on the whole it has been fun; I’ve got to know my fellow Electric Authors a little bit better while working on it, have enjoyed reading each and every story as they arrived, and as a result have added more books to my ‘to read’ list. That is of course, one of the pleasures of an anthology – it’s a bit like a tasting menu, where you will find yourself reading some stories that may be outside your usual genres, and is the perfect way of discovering new writers. Bon appetit!



Sue Price: I know we're partial, Karen, as members of Authors Electric ourselves, but I was so impressed by the high quality of the stories as I read through, while doing the paperback version. There is such a variety of styles, that any reader is bound to find something that's right up their street, and something that's a little different for them. There are longer stories that create a world, and quite short stories, of a couple of pages, which pack a big punch. I'm really proud to have been a part of it.

I love your title pages, too, Karen, a handful of which (randomly chosen) decorate this blog. There are 23 other stories to enjoy!

With thanks to all the wonderful and talented Electric Authors who contributed … plus special thanks,  in no particular order as they say, to Valerie Laws (book description and flyers) Lynne Garner (cover design) Susan Price (creation of paperback edition) and Chris Longmuir for virtual cocktails and party food at the online launch party. I've probably left people out - apologies if I have, but I've lost the list ...

PS As well as a 'best of' blog collection (SPARKS 2) due out in time for Christmas (watch this space), there’s another anthology in the pipeline for next year … 

A Flash In The Pen, the Kindle edition: UK
                                                            US


Coming soon in paperback!                                                              


 

9 comments:

Wendy Jones said...

Fab post and it was an absolute pleasure to be a part of it

Lydia Bennet said...

Yes a fab post and a fab anthology, thank you Karen for all your hard work formatting it! it's a sizzler!

Bill Kirton said...

I agree. There's also the pleasure of being published alongside successful professionals whose books I've enjoyed. Time to start thinking about the next one?

mccart said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
madwippitt said...

Bill, I have already started soliciting for the next one! Obviously I need to put up another post on FB LOL :-)

Dennis Hamley said...

Yes Karen, we have so much to thank you for - and Val, Lynne, Sue and Chris. It's a terrific book and it's an honour to have been part of it. When do you want stories for next year?

By the way, how can it be that our site is being used to urge us into criminal activity? I suggest the comment is removed and forwarded to the police.

Bill Kirton said...

Sorry, MW. It's my fault, I should visit FB more often.

Enid Richemont said...

So, so proud to have been a part of this. Love all you Sparklies.

Enid Richemont said...

For John Logan - your short story IS autobiographical, isn't it? Come on, own up - we always knew you were a bear, and none of us is anti-ursine (is that the right word?) Anyway, you deserve all the honey you can get.