Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Impromptu Blog Tour

As you might imagine, with the release of Spring Fevers, I've been running around crazily for several weeks. Between the salary-paying job, the freelance work, the demands of being a daddy to twin 3-year-olds, being one of the parents of a new publication offered its own challenges and rewards.

On the list of things that still need to be done, I have one I'm sort of going to address here: A blog tour. Usually, such things are done on other people's blogs, and I'm more than willing to do so. But I've not set anything up, so I figured, I have a few minutes here, why not do something on my own blog!

Luckily, I'm a journalist for a living, so I can make up questions on the fly if the interviewee becomes problematic.

How did the idea of doing Spring Fevers begin? It started as an idea bandied about among a few of the moderators of Agent Query Connect. Cat Woods and I liked it in particular, and I think I reached out to her to see how serious she was. From there, the idea blossomed. I knew that I wanted Robb Grindstaff to do the copy editing if he was available, and when I approached him, he liked the idea as long as he could submit a story too.

Is that kosher, having people who are publishing the anthology also contribute stories? I don't see why not. There's still a vetting process involved.

Well, it seems likely your stories would be published. Isn't there some sort of conflict there? Stories were rejected. I can speak for myself and say that at least one of the stories I'd intended to submit wasn't ready -- especially after seeing the quality that started coming in -- so I didn't even offer it. I won't embarass anyone, but there were stories by excellent writers that were turned down for a variety of reasons.

What was the percentage of stories that were accepted? I don't want to go into that.

It's a fair question. Yes, I know, but it's an awkward situation. This was the first anthology we were doing, and our goal was to impress people with the quality of the writing. The submissions came from people Cat and I personally asked to submit stories. We chose them because we believed they were of the caliber we wanted in this anthology and who were comfortable writing on the theme of relationships. We limited it to a maximum of three from each writer. Most writers submitted more than one. Not every writer who submitted saw a story published. Not every writer we approached offered a submission.

Was it more than half? Put it this way: sixteen stories were published. I will say that dozens were submitted.

So, at least twenty-four. Is this an interview or a math quiz?

Ok, back to where I intended to go. Thanks

How long did the process take? I'd have to go over my notes, but I think Cat and I asked people for submissions in the spring of 2011 -- maybe it was summer already -- and we gave them a deadline in the early fall. We knew we were looking at February 2012 to publish and just worked backwards from there.

Why February? In part because relationships seem like a nice spring topic. You know: New life, new love, new problems.

February is still winter. Technically. But I have flowers trying to bloom. Plus, Valentine's Day is in February. You can't swing a dead Christmas tree wreath without hitting something heart-shaped and red.

Problems? We're writers. Without problems, there's no tension. Tension moves stories.

You didn't want warm and fuzzy is what you're saying? No, that's not the point. We wanted excellent stories and characters who stuck in our heads and thoughts. One of the early and obvious definite yeses was Mindy McGinnis's First Kiss. It was and is creepy, but it's one of those tales that sticks with you. When we discussed the order of the stories, we all liked the idea of having that lead off. This is not your grandmother's relationship anthology.

More to come...


Yvonne Osborne said...

I like this idea, plus you get to ask your own questions! I think it's definitely kosher to have people publishing the anthology to also contribute stories. The folks over at the Literary Lab are doing the same thing with their next anthology, the three of them are each including a story they wrote. As you say, there's still a vetting process. It can only add value to the publication, in my view.

Finally, I wouldn't want to be in my grandmother's relationship anthology. My writing is not very warm and fuzzy.

Matt Sinclair said...

Thanks, Yvonne. It didn't quite get the humor I was hoping to instill, but perhaps the interviewee and interviewer warm up over the weekend.

Anonymous said...

Great questions and answers. I love the banter. It's really making me laugh that you made these up. Side note: Great book cover!

Matt Sinclair said...

Thanks so much for your comments and for visiting. I hope you come back -- if for no other reason than because I intend to post another part of that "interview" soon.