In the past months two friends and I from the Women Writers Network at the NSW Writers Centre have been busy gathering poetry, stories and extracts of longer pieces for a collection of our works.
First we listed some guidelines for submissions and gauged support for our project. Mostly we met with enthusiasm. One writer, however, declared that we’d never do it, which was just the encouragement we needed to prove her wrong!
We wanted this to be a quality production so were seeking the best pieces. Luckily, we have some very talented ladies in this group, so we set about gathering our garlands of flowers, as the ancient Greeks dubbed the anthology.
I was closely involved with editing, mentoring and self-publishing my fictional memoir BLACK STOCKINGS WHITE VEIL – A TALE OF ADVERSITY, TRIUMPH And ROMANCE AT ROYAL PRINCE ALFRED HOSPITAL ( a story of nursing in the 20th Century, which was a Finalist in the 2009 Indie Book Awards.) and widely acclaimed. http://firstname.lastname@example.org.
Apart from that, none of us had experience with the publishing process.
Having selected the pieces, it was time for some fine tuning. Works had already been Edited with our group; even so, there were changes necessary for clarity and improvement, in consultation with the authors. Nit picking, one said. As they say, less is more. We wanted the finest production possible, both for the book and authors involved. We learnt the art of compromise, important in any joint operation.
Some people were already hassling us. ‘What’s the delay with the Anthology?’
We gave mysterious smiles and assured them everything was
sort of going to plan – if we had one. Well, we did, but it’s a case of learning on the job and reading up on the subject first. We took advice to give ourselves plenty of time and not worry about those who expected it to appear yesterday.
Despite instructions to send everything in a 12 Point Word Word Document, some sent theirs in 16 Point Bold in versions our computers didn’t recognize and failed to open, which meant further correspondence.
We scanned other Anthologies to ascertain how they handled their material, sought and read advice on the subject. We all agreed that the work must fit well together, and have a certain flow. We didn’t want a serious piece to weaken a frivolous one; each must support the other.
Some versions of computer changed the appearance of files supplied, even though, theoretically they should have been the same. Apparently, this is due to different software. We were at a loss how to solve the problem of getting them consistent in terms of font, size, spacing etc, until my IT son, Jason, came to the rescue.
Thanks to the miracle of Styles, the answer was at my fingertips with a couple of clicks from my mouse. fonts leaped into perfect synchronicity. Once a Template is set up for each aspect of a document, including headings, character styles, erratic styles for poetry etc it’s a breeze to adjust spacing and so on.
We wanted a fifty word Bio, some authors sent two pages, and listed every hobby from pigeon racing to hamster raising!
I was surprised how quickly we set up the Contents page, thanks to input from my
sometimes ever patient son. Join Me is a program which makes it very easier to learn online, especially since one makes the moves oneself, rather than a quick flick by a Geek which you miss.
The Acknowledgements were next, thanking everybody we could think of. Then we included apologies for those inadvertently forgotten.
We still have further meetings to discuss the order of works selected and carry out further checks for typos etc. And there’s the very important matter of a name.We also need a suitable candidate to write the Foreword, but have a couple of people in mind, so will keep you posted.