Escape Collective

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Archive for the tag “anthology”

How To Drive Yourself Crazy, Part Two: EDITING

Welcome back, to the second installment in this irregular series.  ‘Irregular’ because I don’t know when the next will one will be, and ‘series’ because I’m always learning new ways to drive myself crazy.  This time, it’s a real “how to” style!

i made this collage myself

A typical editor's work-space

First, decide to work on an anthology.  Work on at least five – but no more than ten – pieces at a time.  After all, if you were working with just one author, it would be far too simple.  No, in order to crank up the insanity, you have to do a lot of stories – at the same time.

Next, make sure that the people doing the copy-editing aren’t looking over each others shoulders.  That way, as editor (or co-editor), you have to catch any differing opinions and weirdness that might crop up.  It’s much better to work in a vacuum, if your goal is mind-numbing anxiety in the final hour.

Combine the various documents into a ‘master document’, without setting any filters first.  Don’t worry about italics and strange formatting yet.  After all, there will be plenty of time in the last week of work to redo everything.

It’s important at this stage to neglect your basic needs.  Forgetting to eat proper meals will instill a hunger for success.  Not getting enough sleep insures that you’ll be in an emotionally sensitive space; perfect for making snap decisions.  And don’t forget how maddening it will be to clean up the mess of your so-called social life.

If you can, make sure to delete a few key email messages from your authors.  Clear, easy lines of communication often get in the way of stark, raving lunacy.  A few missed pieces of information will guarantee special, surprise errors in the final version.

Now, before you get the finalized version kicked out the door, you’ll have to make review copies.  Distribute these to whoever is supposed to have them, but whatever you do, don’t harass them for critical feedback.  In order for the full force of slavering madness to take effect, key pieces of final review will have to be avoided.  Not by you, of course – you’ll still need to stay up late, every night, worrying over the formatting and obvious typos.

Bloody flags?

Almost done!  A critical piece of your own, personal crazy-pants-puzzle that is often overlooked is very technical, but easy to take care of.  Simply update your software, right in the middle of your final work cycle.  You don’t have to go all-out and change operating systems (save that for later in your career, when you really need to go bat-shit-insane), but it’s never that difficult to upgrade whatever program you’re using to put the book together.  Just imagine the giant leaps backwards in your progress!  All of your checklists and milestones will have to be completely redone.  It’ll be like working on a brand new project.

If you’ve put the wrong foot forward and made careful missteps the whole way, you’ll be in the best position possible to screw up the last few, tiny details.  Your immune system will be working overtime, as you fight sleep-deprivation and hunger to get the completed book across the finish line.  You will have alienated your friends, co-workers and support network (and probably your children) with your erratic behavior, to the point where they don’t care if you work yourself to death anymore.  Eye strain and a nervous tic will transform you into a hideous caricature of your former, vigorous self.  And those last few, itty bitty, teensy-weensy errors will just *POP* into place – just like magic.

They will manifest as an author name being spelled wrong, or a uploading the wrong version to the distributor’s website.  You might cut & paste the wrong section of the book description, or substitute your personal email address for the company one.  My favorite was the time I tried to upload a book using my personal Amazon log-in, rather than the one for publisher.  Sure, these aren’t big, terrible, life-changing problems, but in terms of making yourself crazy, they pack a lot of firepower.

Remember, everybody makes mistakes, but they don’t let it drive them insane.  If you want your mistakes to keep you awake at night – or just wipe the smile off your face – you’re going to have to work twice as hard.  Being an editor is a difficult job, all by itself, but there’s no reason why you can’t make it even worse.  By following these easy instructions, you’ll be well on your way to screaming incoherently at strangers in the parking lot in no time.

 

Patrick Jennings-Mapp is a co-founder of and an editor for Escape Collective Publishing.  When he’s not lying awake at night, wondering if he changed those straight-quotes back into smart-quotes, you can find him wandering the aisles of the grocery store, looking for bear-bacon and elbow grease.

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The Razor’s Edge

Wow, it turns out I’m not the only one who waits to last minute to do things.  The past week has seen a flurry of submissions pile up in our inbox.  It’s crazy, but good!  In the past few days our total submissions have doubled.  That’s amazing!  I suppose I should be clear, just in case anyone is confused at all:

Tomorrow, December 1st is the actual deadline for submissions to our next anthology.  I’m not a stickler for these kinds of things, but some of my compatriots are, so if you’re waiting until the last second, you know the score now.  Anything we get after tomorrow night gets relegated to the lowest of the low-priority stacks in our growing pile of work-to-do.  Trust me, you don’t want to languish there.  Razor’s edge, snowball’s chance, etc., etc.

When we first kicked around the ideas behind “Orbital Hearts”, one of the selling points to me was the notion of an ‘anti-Valentine’s Day’ sort of theme.  It seems like everyone does some kind of cool themed anthology, but we’re not exactly mushy romantics.  However, we do love good escapist fiction and we are more than a little bitter.  It seemed like a perfect idea.  I overlooked one, small detail, which has been a strange challenge.  I’ve had to read a lot of mushy love stories, with tragic, twisted endings.  I don’t think I ever imagined that I would be asking for the chance to read so much bad romance.  But I’ve come to a surprising conclusion – I rather like it!

Now, I’m not going to start browsing the cheap, smutty paperback aisles, but there is a definite appeal to this kind of stuff.  I’m really pleased that the work we’ve been getting has been more varied than what I’m used to.  It’s fairly cathartic to get into these broken, all-too-human dramas, especially when they’re wrapped up in some otherworldly trappings.  Naturally, there are differing levels of quality, nuance and style in any batch of submissions, but I’m most surprised at how much I’m enjoying myself.

As a counter to all these warm, happy feelings, the job that lies ahead is no sweet dream.  As much as I’m looking forward to assembling the best stories, I just know that we’ll end up rejecting really good work just for the sake of space.  But I suppose that’s not nearly as difficult as being on the other side of the process.  However, I’ll let that idea filter for a bit – perhaps it should be a post, all on its own.  For now, I should just say ‘thank you’, to all who have put forward their best work.  Cheers!

 

Patrick Jennings-Mapp is a co-founder of and an editor for Escape Collective Publishing.  He prefers Bonnie & Clyde to Mickey & Mallory, but is perfectly willing to admit that both are fine, fine love stories.

Deadlines, Schmedlines

Savage Chickens is awesome

 

Holy crap!  There are only a couple of days left before our submissions deadline.  How did that happen?  And what the hell happened to my brain?  I could have sworn I had one, just a few weeks ago.  Hm… I suspect a major holiday has inserted itself into my finely tuned work plan.  I bet there was food and family – probably too much pie.  Oh well, we struggle on.

I’m pretty damn happy with the level of submissions we’ve been getting this time around.  A lot of really well-written, often surprising material is rolling in.  If I ever complain about having to read all of these stories, just shoot me though.  Overall, this is a delightful treat.  I am not looking forward to writing rejections, however.  It’s never fun and usually kills me just a bit inside.  And unless I miss my guess, we have an embarrassment of riches this time around – we will likely have too many good stories to run them all.  So that part will hurt a bit, for all parties I imagine.

On the other hand, we have had just the teensiest amount of interest in our cover art contest.  I had a friend submit a piece in the first week, but garnering interest from artists is a skill we have yet to develop I guess.  So, when it comes to that deadline, we may have to be a bit lax.  Because the book is going to have a cover – and I’m not going to draw it.  Oh ho ho ho… No.

Okay, back to the grind for me!  And you – shouldn’t you be writing too?  Mm hm, that’s what I thought.

 

Patrick Jennings-Mapp is a co-founder of and an editor for Escape Collective Publishing.  When he’s not recovering from food-induced amnesia (or clearly faking it), he likes to write write write and drink coffee coffee coffee.

Head: Explodey

Have you ever had that feeling?  When there’s so much going on, you can’t prioritize correctly – it’s a breakdown on task triage.  My week has been like that, except instead of a “crisis” feeling, it’s been strangely happy and manic as hell!  Quite a wild ride.  Especially after all the stress (good & bad) from the past few weeks, it feels pretty nice.  I’m sure it takes a toll on my mental and physical health.  It’ll be very little comfort if all the “good stress” kills me before the bad.  Ha!

Well, it’s in that spirit of ‘happy triage’ that I tell you about a few things.  Exciting things, for me – all of us, really.

First, both All Hope Lost and Corpus Pretereo are available from both Barnes and Noble –and– Amazon.  And I’ve already sent all the snarky, passive-aggressive emails to the customer service reps that I could handle – so there’s a decent chance that all the terrible errors will get fixed.  It’s the kind of thing I always took for granted in this kind of business; take the book, put it on the website, people can buy it.  SO simple!  Again, HA!  Anyway, here are the links:

All Hope Lost – click HERE for the Kindle, click HERE for the Nook
Corpus Pretereo – click HERE for the Kindle, click HERE for the Nook

On a related note, we’re also trying to get people to review the books.  So, ya know, if you or anyone you know might be inclined, please give ’em a nudge.

Second, we’re already gearing up for our next publishing cycle.  We need long form fiction (novels, novellas, novellettes, and, uh… novellitas…?) as well as submissions for our next anthology.  You can go to our main submissions page HERE and see the sweet details.

Third – and finally – we’re having a cover art contest for the next anthology!  I know, that’s a great idea, right?  All the details are currently on our main page, over THERE, so go check it out.  The deadline for submissions is the first of December, so there is plenty of time.

And I’m out, for now.  I gotta go find a way to let off some steam, or the next thundering ‘kaBOOM’ you hear will be my head.  I don’t like it when my head goes all explodey.  It’s messy.  Anyway, next time I want to tell you a little story.  See ya soon!

 

Patrick Jennings-Mapp is a co-founder of and an editor for Escape Collective Publishing.  When he’s not sending blisteringly snide email messages to customer service ‘bots, he’s trying to figure out who put the bomp in his bomp bah bomp bah bomp – and who put all this ram in my rama lama ding dong?!  Sheesh…

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