It’s always a pleasure to be here, but especially to chat about AMID THE WINTER SNOW with you. This is an anthology I have a story in with Thea Harrison, Grace Draven, and Elizabeth Hunter. So far the book is going gangbusters! We have a December 12, 2017 release date, the pre-orders are rolling in, and the reviews are gushing.
These kinds of multi-author anthologies are great for both readers and authors. Readers get to find new-to-them authors and enjoy new stories by favorite authors in one place. Authors gain new readers and enjoy the benefits of natural cross-promotion, which is still the best way to market. Plus, it’s super fun to work with amazing colleagues like these!
But there are some secrets to making this kind of project work, so I’ll share those here.
Have a Clear Leader
In this case, Thea Harrison invited the three of us to participate. It’s her project. Though we all had input, she had the vision and the veto power, though she didn’t really have to use the latter. I’ve been involved in projects like this, however, where everything was decided by committee, which was like herding kittens who all wanted their own catnip.
Choose the Participating Authors Wisely
Thea chose us three for really good reasons: 1) We all write in a similar genre; 2) We already have overlapping audiences, who tend to cross-recommend our stories; 3) We have experience self-publishing and professional approaches to the business; and 4) We share a similar level of heat, romance, and worldbuilding in our stories. We all also committed to investing in this project, with time and effort. From drafting our stories all the way through doing promo, everyone is working hard to make this a success.
Have a Clear Theme
Thea had the concept of doing a midwinter holiday anthology. We all discussed and settled on fantasy romance as the subgenre where we all overlapped best. With a very specific time of year – the midwinter holiday – we all ended up writing stories with a similar “feel.” The restrictions of snow and cold weather meant our stories took place in warm spaces inside, and in winter gardens. The celebration of midwinter meant we all used images like firelight, candlelight, baked spiced breads, and cozy moments while blizzards raged outside. This gives a uniformity to the collection that we didn’t have to plan.
Make Sure the Cover Is Compelling – and Also Reflects the Core Theme
In our case, Grace found the stock art and Elizabeth created the cover design. Because of the specificity and cohesiveness of the theme, we all easily agreed to the woman in a bright cloak in a winter landscape. We felt that communicated both fantasy and romance. The only thing we didn’t agree on was a possessive! Two of us liked “Amid the Winter’s Snow” and two were for “Amid the Winter Snow.” We threw the debate onto Facebook and let the readers decide.
Have Someone Organized and Experienced Handle the Financials
In this case, I volunteered to handle the uploads to retailers and I’ll handle the financial tracking and disbursements. With this kind of collaboration, transparency and efficiency are key. You’re dealing with other people’s earnings, so keeping on top of that is important. I keep lots of spreadsheets already on my own self-publishing projects, so it’s easy enough for me to track these sales and send out shares of the money in a timely fashion.
Enjoy Each Other!
It’s important that everyone in the project be, if not friends, at least friendly. We’re in each other’s laps a lot on this, discussing plans and promoting each other’s work. Besides, this is a holiday anthology, so having some good cheer and fellowship makes it extra special.
*previously published on the blog of Suzanne Johnson in 2017*
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