A few years back when May December Publications, LLC got rolling, I wanted to make sure that we did things right. To that end, I began pouring over ever book I could find on proper editing. I still work at getting better, and admit that a few errors get past, but I keep going back to our old library and making updates and improvements. Then, I did something a bit unorthodox...I made a list of things that I hated about publishing companies. More specifically, I made a list of things I hated about the small presses out there. Honestly, I could care less what the big guys are doing. I knew they would not be my direct competition. I would not be a blip on the radar of the "big six" and I knew that on day one. However, there were plenty of small presses out there to observe.
The first thing I noticed was that most of these small presses were pumping out several anthologies a year. Glancing at the tale of contents from several books, I noticed each had the same core group of authors. Around that time, I was trying to get some of my short stories included. The real inspiration struck when I was rejected for a particular anthology, yet, on the day it was announced as full, a young lady who frequented a social media page hosted by this publisher groused about not having sent a story. The editor/publisher replied, "No problem, just get one to me this week and you're in." ARE YOU KIDDING?
I have edited over a dozen anthologies as of this entry. I can tell you a few things wrong with that above example if you haven't already figured them out for yourself. First, very few people are worthy of being accepted to an anthology sight unseen. (I've read this young lady's work...she ain't one of 'em.) She was being included because she was buddies with the editor. Because of that, I decided right then that I would not be that publisher. Putting out a book with all of your friends in it is nice for a novelty gift...it is NOT the way to build a reputation as a good publisher. That is why every story that comes to me for consideration to be included in one of our anthologies has ALL information stripped away telling who wrote the story. Here's a strange thought...how about if we allow the stories to stand on their merits alone. No bias, no friends, no favorites. Just TALENT.
"That is madness!" you shriek. "You mean just because I have a few fans and might be known to a bunch of people who hang out with me on Facebook, I am not a lock to be included in your anthology?" Damn skippy, pal. I could care less who you are...or more likely...who you think you are in the writing world. I will always base who is accepted solely on their ability to write a story that interests me.
That brings me to the other point...who in the hell am I? Nobody. Just a reader...an avid reader who wants to be entertained. So, that means that I am just like each of you. The big difference is that I happen to be the editor for May December Publications, LLC. I may not know everything...but I know what I like. It seems to be working, because a lot of folks didn't think we would make it past our first year. We are about to celebrate our third anniversary as a publisher. We are switching over from a "contributor's copy" publisher, to an advance and royalty publisher. Yay! for us, and Yay! for our writers. The next hurdle is to be a "pro rate" house. I think that as long as we rely on talent...our chances are better than most.