Lessons Learned 3: Editing, Peer Review, and Social Media

My past two posts on ‘lessons learned’ in putting together this anthology covered author selection, formatting and setting expectations.  This one will cover peer review, editing, and the use of social media in collaborating on the project. Peer Review There are a few reasons we decided to use a ‘peer review’ process for this anthology.  One is that Sorin had previously participated in a peer review for an anthology, and found that it worked well.  Second, most of our authors were never-published or independently published, and we wanted to give people the opportunity to improve their writing through comprehensive feedback, and through flexing their critical reading muscles :).  It also helped to cut down on editing time.  Furthermore, several of our authors are academics or used to the academic review process, so the group adapted quickly. The peer review process entailed each author having their piece reviewed, critiqued, and where applicable corrected, by…

Lessons Learned 2: Setting Expectations, Contracts, and Formatting

In the last ‘lessons learned‘ post, I wrote about the selection process for the anthology, from call for submissions through to why and how we rejected particular pieces.  This post will look at selection emails and setting time expectations, contracts, and formatting. Setting expectations: time scales In our ‘yay, you’ve been selected!’ emails, we included a more-or-less form email with a timeline as follows (and apologies to any of our authors who thought we wrote them individualised emails and now find themselves disillusioned).  The below email is abridged. We’re happy to inform you that we…have selected you to participate in the Terry Pratchett ‘In Memory’ anthology.  We’ll be sending out a proper contract shortly, so that you can review all expectations. As a quick reminder: All profits will go towards Alzheimer’s Research UK Authors are not expected to contribute to the publishing costs Authors will receive an eBook of the full anthology, and may…

Binding ‘In Memory’ — Part 3

Gold Tooling and the Slipcase Leather is a delicate material, as it’s easily damaged when it’s exposed to heat or pressure. So let’s do exactly that, shall we? 😀 In my last blog post, I showed you how I created the fine leather cover for our book. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, you can read the post here if you’ve missed it: Binding ‘In Memory’ — Part 2. In this third and final post in this series, I will show you how I decorate the book with gold tooling and how I build a slipcase that will protect it. As in the previous posts, I’m not showing all steps but instead focus on the important ones. Gold Tooling This would probably be the right place to ponder the alluring yet corrupting nature of gold and its unfortunate effect on people, and to quote one of the great philosophers. But…

Lessons Learned 1: The Call for Submissions and Selection

Nearly a year after the whole process began, I’m finally getting around to starting the ‘lessons learned’ series for the anthology.  This is going to talk about what the process of the book’s creation actually involved, as well as the things we’ve learned work (and don’t work!) insofar as putting together an indie anthology go.  It was certainly an interesting experience, as I’m sure Sorin will agree!  Of course, ‘lesson learned’ number one is that putting an anthology together in six months is a somewhat ambitious goal.  Don’t do that.  Don’t ever do that.  😀 This part of the series will talk about the call for submissions and selection process we used.  It might be interesting for those who wrote to us, for people who are submitting to other anthologies, and for would-be indie anthologists.  And if ‘anthologists’ isn’t a word, it damn well should be! Firstly, for those who…

Betraying the written word

I’ve been listening to a lot of books lately. Because I’m such a skinflint bargain hunter, I almost never pay full price for anything, and pounce on free stuff with the ferocity of a starving lion. In fact, I’m the sort of idiot who will sometimes harvest cut-price goodies and freebies irrespective of whether or not they’re of any use to me. Behold, the Rio DVD I nabbed for free via the Sky Store last year which remains unwatched by my utterly uninterested children! Toward the end of 2015, however, I had a bit of a serendipitous chain reaction. Amazon ran one of their free Prime trials, giving me access to free one-day delivery for various birthday and Christmas presents (as well as their slightly rubbish streaming video service, and less rubbish streaming/download music service). During the same time period, I stumbled across a free three-month Audible membership trial available…

Special commemorative edition – call for cover artists!

The team behind In Memory: A Tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett are going to release a special commemorative edition of the anthology on March 12.  We are looking for graphic artists who are willing to lend their talents to a new cover design, which will reflect the book’s content and purpose.  It could include something on the theme of ‘memory’, or reflect the stories within the book—it’s up to you! Since all proceeds from this book are going to Alzheimer’s Research UK, we can’t offer any payment, other than good karma and the chance to be involved in something which celebrates the memory of a man who has affected so many of us. The cover must include the authors’ and editors’ names, the Alzheimer’s Research UK logo (there are several types and colour variations which could be used), and, of course, the title. As a general rule, the design should…

Binding ‘In Memory’ — Part 2

The Leather Cover Let’s be honest: when we think of beautiful, impressive books that will outlast the centuries, we think of tomes: heavy, leather-bound books that look like something Gandalf would peruse. The leather cracked from old age and adorned with gold decorations. Their exterior reflecting the worth of the words and wisdom inside. Now, I’m afraid I can’t bind a book of that size. But I can bind In Memory – A Tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett in leather and then decorate it with gold hand tooling. In my last blog post, I’ve shown you how I created the ‘book block’ for this bookbinding project. If you have missed it, fear not, you can read it here: Binding ‘In Memory’ — Part 1. This time, I’m showing you how I create a fine leather cover for it. The gold hand tooling will then follow in the next post. Step 1 — Preparing the…

Binding ‘In Memory’ — Part 1

I’m a sucker for beautiful books. It happens regularly that I buy books simply because they have a pretty cover—and I have discovered some really great books that way, books I would never have read otherwise (an example would be ‘The Gargoyle’ by Andrew Davidson). And about five years ago, I started to do traditional bookbinding as a hobby. I needed something to do in the evenings after a long day of staring at a computer screen, and I wanted it to be something where I can actually hold the result in my hands (unlike developing software where it happens quite often that the only indication that your program is working correctly is an entry in a plaintext log file). I had been in a workshop for traditional bookbinding a few years back, and I had absolutely loved it: The smell of paper and leather, the various tools, the skill and…

The unforgiving minute

Richard Smith, a former editor of the British Medical Journal, recently wrote: “The long, slow death from dementia may be the most awful as you are slowly erased, but then again when death comes it may be just a light kiss” [1]. Before it takes your body, dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, steals away your mind and your memories – the part of you that is you – until in the end death can only be a relief. In high-income countries, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are among the top 4 causes of death, accounting for 42 deaths per 100,000 people in 2012 [2]. While these numbers are still far from the number of deaths due to cardiovascular diseases, they are still substantially higher than for breast cancer (16 deaths per 100,000). Yet breast cancer has its own pink awareness ribbon (sharing it only with abdominal cancer), whereas Alzheimer’s disease is…

Book launch in Cambridge

Do you live anywhere near Cambridge (UK)? Come join us for the official book launch on November 28, to chat with the authors and pick up a copy of the book if you don’t have one yet. Even though not all of the seventeen authors will be there (the ones who’d have to travel halfway around the world will not), this might still be your only chance to see such a large number of our authors gathered in one place, so don’t miss this unique opportunity! The event takes place in the centre of Cambridge, in the Central Library. Feel free to drop in at any time between 11.00 am and 2.00 pm and we’ll be happy to answer your questions about the anthology, the authors, or the charity, or just chat about our favourite Pratchett books. Everyone is welcome, so tell your friends! Our official Facebook event page can…