What's going on with our Time Travel Anthology?

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this project, I am putting together an anthology of time travel short stories. I received submissions during September (a few months back) and sent them out to beta readers. Not all beta readers responded with their opinions, and because at the time I had not read most of the stories, I didn't engage most of the beta readers.

Further, because I didn't want to promise too much to the writers of the submissions, I kind of laid low, not corresponding with anyone. Then, my personal situation changed in November. My hours at work got cut in half, so I had to scramble to raise some money to pay bills. Since promotion via this blog was showing some good results, I put my all into it.

Good news: I made enough to pay bills in November and December. Bad news: all the time spent promoting others meant less time organizing the anthology. However, when I did start working on it again, I realized I had a major dilemma. I had close to thirty stories that I hadn't personally read. Well, I had read some of them, but not near enough to make any major decisions about the anthology.

So, I started reading the submissions again. In the meantime, a couple of beta readers stepped up, offering to read the entire batch (which in a way was a godsend). Those two will probably end up working with me long term, if they so desire.

That brings us to the present. I have read all of the stories, and one of the beta readers who offered to read the entire batch has gotten back with me concerning about half of them. So, my guess is she's a little more than half way done. I don't know about the other beta reader. I'll have to poke her a little bit.

What about the future?

The next step (after that second beta reader reads all of the submissions) will be to pick which stories make it into the first anthology. If we shoot for about 50,000 words for each anthology, or about 6 to 8 stories per anthology, we have enough for two solid anthologies right now, possibly a third based upon rewrites and revisions.

Remember: I don't want to reject anyone, but a lot of that will depend on how much the writers are willing to work on their submissions. If I get the run around, or worse yet someone refuses to work with me, I'll simply move on.

For the first anthology, though, I want to pick the stories that generally need the least amount of revisions. While the second set of submissions are being revised, hopefully we'll be able to advance the first anthology to the next stage. The submissions that need substantive rewriting, perhaps even a complete rewrite, will be shelved for a possible third anthology. Shelved, meaning the writers will be encouraged to work on them, not meaning I reject them.

After we work on the second anthology, we'll revisit what's left, either organizing a third time travel anthology if there's enough submissions to warrant it, or placing the remaining stories in another project, such as a general Sci-Fi anthology, one that doesn't limit itself to time travel (perhaps) or at least the same theme being used this time around. (That sentence was way too long. Where's my copy editors?)

That's not the whole story.

There's more to figure out. Now that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel (cliche, I know), we'll soon be moving away from volunteers. Which means I need to figure out how much of the royalty pie everyone's going to take—and who's going to have a piece for that matter. I don't expect someone to give me hours and hours of their time without at least having an idea of what they will be getting out of it.

Deciding royalty shares is only one problem. There's other questions to consider, such as marketing and fundraising. It's also about deciding how we're going to do business. In general I want to give the writers as much leeway as possible, but taking into account the opinions of the editing team will also be important. All of this needs to be hammered out (at least to a degree) before we move into full-fledged editing mode.

Rest assured, though. This project is not dead. It is moving forward but at a cautious speed. The last thing I want to do is rush this anthology series, producing a mediocre product that never makes any money.