Monday, July 13, 2009

Custom Anthologies

Here's something different I ran across the other day. AnthologyBuilder is a new twist on POD service where writers offer their reprint stories (and they only take reprints, from paying books or anthologies) to the AnthologyBuilder archive -- which also contains public domain stories -- and customers can browse through and choose exactly which stories they want to have in their personalized anthology. They can choose up to 350 pages of fiction, give the book their own title and choose cover art, then pay $14.95 and have the book produced and mailed to them. Authors get paid pro rata royalties whenever one of their stories is chosen for an anthology. Their guidelines are here, and their author contract is here.

I have no idea how well this works, what kinds of sales numbers the site has, or whether it'd be a smart use of reprint rights, but it's an interesting idea so I thought I'd toss it out there for you all to take a look at.



writtenwyrdd said...

I posted on this recently and asked what others thought of this site, and the response was that it was legit and a good way for authors to reap money from reprints.

I have yet to actually use the service, though I have considered submitting cover art to them.

Angie said...

Yikes, sorry -- I didn't see that. :/ I'm still catching up with blog posts and haven't gotten down to the W's yet. I'll have to go hunting and find that one, see what you said and what comments were left.

Did anyone give any numbers? Or even a general idea? It'd be different for each author, of course, but knowing whether they sell two thousand anthologies a month, or two hundred, or two, would make a big difference.

I recognize some of the writers on their list, but the list really isn't that large, all things considered. It seems this sort of service would operate on a critical mass basis; they need enough good writers and good stories to attract customers, but without a decent customer base they wouldn't attract many good writers. I was saying to another commenter over on my LJ earlier that I could see magazine publishers doing really well with something like this. Doesn't the same publisher handle Asimov's and Analog now? I'm pretty sure two of the big three are under one roof, at any rate. If their publisher could offer this kind of a service -- let you choose your favorite stories from the SF mags, or whichever two it is, to create your own anthologies, that'd be pretty cool. I'd go for it, at least. And my gut instinct is that a major magazine publisher would have better luck persuading their writers to sign up for this kind of service than a stand-alone company sitting out on the internet.

It's a very cool idea, though, and if someone could get all the resources together in one place, I think it could be popular.


Charles Gramlich said...

I've heard of this but don't know any details. I'm gonna check out the links.

Angie said...

Charles -- if you find anything interesting, let us know. It's a cool concept, but I'm not sure that a lone publisher out in the wilderness of the internet has the influence to make it really work.


laughingwolf said...

again... i'm ambivalent about this

Angie said...

LW -- that's a good way to put it. [nod] It sounds like a very cool idea, but it'd require a critical mass of buy-in in order to really take off, and it really doesn't look like they have that here.


Steve Malley said...

Sometimes I wish I wrote short stories... :)

Angie said...

Steve -- sometimes I can and sometimes I can't. Right now I'm having a hard time coming up with short story sized plots. :P There's definitely a difference, though; short stories and novels require largely different skillsets.