Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Indie Author Short Story Project

A couple weeks ago in this post, I inaugurated an attempt to get a bunch of indie ebook authors to contribute to an ebook anthology. This will be an attempt to cross-promote our works by getting our work into each others' fans’ hands.

This will be a not-for-profit project. We’ll donate the proceeds to a yet-to-be-determined charity (probably literacy or library oriented).
We’ve got ten authors so far, writing in the following genres: 
Kevin Mclaughlin - SF or fantasy
Tara Maya - SF?
Edward L. Cote - fantasy
Manley Peterson - paranormal
Tony Lavely - romantic fantasy
BC Woods - fantasy
John Hartness - urban fantasy
Kelly Gorman - ?
Brian Drake - paranormal mystery
Derek J. Canyon - SF

We’d still like to get a couple more authors involved, so comment below if you are interested in joining the project.
For those of us already listed, we need to determine the following:
  • We’ll need a messageboard or some other way to communicate so we can track our discussions. Does anyone have any suggestions?
  • What should the title be? Ed has suggested Twelve Worlds. Sounds catchy, with a sub-title of some kind. Does anyone have any other suggestions? Like, The Twelve Worlds Project – A dozen stories from a dozen independent ebook authors. Throw any suggestion you’d like into the pot.
  • Should we restrict the genres? Or allow anything?
  • Where do we get the cover art? Do we want to spend any money on it? Can any of us do it?
  • What word count limits/requirements do we want. Something between 3,000 and 7,000?
  • Do we want to pay for an editor? Or, should we all edit each others’ work?
  • What deadline should we target for turning in the unedited drafts, and then the publishable versions? Two months?
  • Which charity should we select? Any suggestions? I’d like to choose one where the majority of the donation actually gets to the recipients.
  • I can handle the formatting and publishing for Kindle, Smashwords, and PubIt.
What else have I missed?
We’ll need volunteers to handle some of these items, so if you’d like to handle any of the tasks, speak up.


  1. Derek,

    I don't yet have a body of work on Amazon, but am currently in the process of this. I am writing science fiction/thrillers and would be very interesting in contributing to the project. I can send you a sampling of some work and would love to speak to you more about it matthew @


  2. 1. If no one has any better ideas, I can probably just make a password protected entry over on my blog and we can all just use that for discussion.

    2. Twelve Worlds sounds great to me.

    3. I think the list looks great as far as the genre choices go.

    4. If we're doing this for charity the person I have do my covers would probably be more than willing to make us a cover.

    She hasn't actually finished my first cover yet, but that's because we just started, but she is very very talented.

    5. I think those words counts are great.

    6. If we each edit each others work... say everyone chooses three others (or rather is assigned three others) and sends them a copy of their work to edit then we should be able to edit each other's stuff efficiently without going nuts trying to edit everything.

    7. I may be alone in this, but I feel I can put out a solid rough draft in a month or so.

    Then say another month for the polished version?

    8. This is a charity I donated money to last year and has positive experiences with. They buy discounted books for underprivileged kids in Utah. Almost all your money goes right toward getting books for kids.

    Just a suggestion.

    I'll talk to my illustrator today and get back to you all to see if she can do it (I'll let her know of course that it's tenative upon everyone looking at her stuff), and I'll also find some examples of her work to link from here.

    Glad to be part of the project and I look forward to working with everyone!

  3. Derek,

    I'd be interested in contributing to this project. I have a question though: can it be a story I've got available now?

    My plate is quite full at the moment. I have two novels on the go and numerous short stories being prepared, in addition to beta reads I've committed to.

    I've seen this before where a story is in a collection and the author has it in his own collection too.

    Let me know how this sounds.



  4. Just wanted to fix the e-mail in my post above. Can't seem to edit my post. It's matthewstewart11 @

    Thanks again.

  5. Matthew, Daryl, thanks for your interest! The purpose of the anthology is to cross-promote our works. So, ideally, each author would have at least one other published work with a fan base. Also, in order to get each author's fan base to buy the book, it would be best if you contributed a new work that they can't get anywhere else.

    Having said that, maybe we could add a "Bonus" section at the back for other authors to participate. That way, we could help out completely unpublished authors.

    I will add both of you, Matthew and Daryl, to the list of interested authors. But, we'll have to discuss this to see if everyone is okay with it.

  6. My previous comment brings up another issue for everyone. I've been planning to run this project as a democracy, getting input from everyone before making decisions. Is everyone okay with that? Or would you like a benevolent dictatorship?

  7. I second Matt's suggestions.

    I guess I'd have to go to the 'bonus' section, as I am as yet unpublished and therefore bring no readership with me. Sorry to mislead like that.

    I think, with the number of people involved, a representative democracy would closely resemble a benevolent dictator. I'd be ok with that, though I think if the BD (say you, Derek, as it is your idea) makes a decision likely to rouse heated emotions (rather than which beer to serve at the victory party), publishing it for comment prior to finalization would seem to work. My $0.02, anyway.

    Thanks, tony

  8. I'm fine with a benevolent dictatorship.

  9. I am interested in joining in, but my first novel won't be available until at least next month.

    If you need another author, let me know.

    Will the book have some related focus? (IE: Similar situations on different worlds, all stories about zombies, et cetera)

    I think 3 editors for each story is the MINIMUM. I'd suggest 5.

    J. E. Medrick

  10. Yeah, I agree with BC Woods for the most part. The title might need be changed several times as we read all the stories involved to get a better idea of it as a whole.

    The charity doesn't matter to me as long as the proceeds go to needy people.

    I like the idea of editing other people's stuff, as long as word count stays around 5,000 or so.

    Others might talk me out of this, but I would like the ability to sell my short story by itself or in a different collection of my own short stories, if that comes about. I guess the bigger question here is if we authors are going to gift these short stories as exclusives or not. I like the idea of having a short story for sale by itself and as part of a collection. It means more marketing and advertising for me.

    If we can get the 12 authors solidified soon, I say have your first drafts done by 2/1 and edits down by 3/1. I have a full-time job, but I'm guessing that would be enough time for me. I'm almost at 3,000 words now for my story. But again, not sure where others are at.

    If BC's friend will provide a nice cover for free, that would be awesome.

  11. Derek,

    Thanks for the quick feedback. I do have a bit of a following in the sense that I am a staff writer for an award winning, fairly large lifestyle blog. I just don't happen to have fiction on Amazon yet. That, too, will be coming in short order.

    But to be included even in a bonus section would be a great honor, and I'd love to be involved in the project in whatever way possible.

  12. My thoughts on the questions:

    1) I still think we really should all be on Kindle Boards and Book Blogs anyway. Either would probably work as a platform for our discussion, depending on how much secrecy we need.

    2) How about this:

    Twelve Worlds
    Indie Anthology 2011

    That makes it clear what it is and efficiently communicates the idea that we are independent self publishers. The "Twelve Worlds" title not only references the twelve authors, but also evokes the feel of speculative fiction in general. Why the year? Because we might want to do this again sometime, bringing in new authors as we ourselves become established.

    3) The common thread here seems to be "speculative fiction"- fantasy, SF, horror, paranormal, stuff like that.

    4) I know that Tara can do cover art, but I can't volunteer her.

    5) 3000 to 7000 words is a wide range. Any of us should be able to manage that.

    6) We can edit each other's work. We could possibly split the 12 into two groups, and then everybody goes over all 5 other stories from his or her group. Each would get 5 crits with no redundancy and know that everyone he or she is critiquing will in turn be critiquing him or her.

    Deadline, formatting... I'll have to pass on those. I'd like a charity that directly promotes literacy or gets books into the hands of the poor, but BC has a much more specific idea so I'll defer to him.

    As for project management, I think it makes sense for Derek to be in charge in general. I'll be glad to help in whatever way that I can.

  13. I'm at work right now but I found free forum software from phpbb. I'll try and set it up tonight. I'd like to have a dedicated messageboard where different issues can be on different threads. Stay tuned. I like all the suggestions so far!

  14. JE Medrick, welcome on board! I'll add you to the list tonight.

  15. Thanks very much, that would be fantastic! An idea came to me today for the short story I would like to do. You can put me down for paranormal.

    Have we decided on a digital meeting place yet?

    I know it was mentioned that these works are originals for just this anthology. Do we still have the freedom to later spin it off into a novel, especially if we agree to mention something like, "View the original short story that inspired this novel in the Twelve Worlds anthology..." et cetera?

    At 3-7k, I think my story will be done soon. Have we made editing groups yet?

    Looking forward to this!

    J. E. Medrick

  16. Participating authors: I just sent out an email with a link to the forum to discuss Twelve Worlds. If you didn't get it, I don't have your email address. Please send it to me at derek @ Thanks!

  17. My apologies for being late to the party on this...

    I would say a dictatorship is the best way to handle this; other anthologies I've been involved with have been that way.

    I tried the forum and got a malware warning, has anybody else experienced that?

  18. I commented a couple days ago, but I guess I didn't enter the captcha in properly.

    Derek—sorry, I feel I should withdraw myself from this project. I will not have a work up for sale within two months as I don’t want to rush my current project or botch my schooling. However, I am available for editing if you need. I have little experience, but I am fairly competent at grammar and read a lot. If nothing else, I’m a good proofreader.

    Thank you for the opportunity, and I’m sorry if I’ve caused you inconvenience.

    Here’s my two cents on suggestions:

    Twelve Worlds sounds good.

    From the list of author genres, everyone seems to be around the Sci-Fi/Fantasy area, including paranormal. I don’t think genre would be a problem. I have a short story collection from Charles De Lint, who writes fantasy, and it included a non-fantasy story. I didn’t even notice until the end of it, and it didn’t detract for the experience. As long as the writing is good, you’re gold.

    Editing each other’s work would probably be best. With twelve authors, there ought to be enough eyes to catch everything.

    The deadline I’ll leave to those in the anthology.

    And I hate to be a bother since I just left the project, but I go by K Gorman.

    Also—and I hate to be a bother since I just left the project—but I thought I'd let you know that I go by K Gorman instead of Kelly Gorman. A minor detail, and I know I didn't give you a whole lot to go off of.

  19. K, we've decided to have a bonus section for unpublished authors. So, if you're still interested you are still welcome.

  20. Cool, count me in! I'm Sci-fi/fantasy.

  21. Derek, are you still open to submissions? I have one novella published now, "Silver Thaw," and my novel "Ravenmarked" will be live in about two weeks. I have a couple of fantasy stories sitting on my hard drive that I could finish up and include. I'd love to be part of your anthology!


  22. Amy, yes, we're still open. Can you send your email to derek @ I'll send you a link to the discussion forum. Welcome!

  23. Brian, someone hacked the forum code but I think I've fixed the problem. Do you still get a warning?

  24. Derek, just sent you an e-mail. Thanks!


  25. Derek, Sorry to hear the forum was hacked. I still get the warning, though.