Saturday, May 19, 2007

COOL PAUL DI FILIPPO POST ON NEW WRITERS

Check out this great post by Paul on the subject of new vitality in the field, and one particular new writer anthology.

I find this of interest partially because it seems to be getting harder and harder to find anthologies of original fiction that are open to new writers. Basically, you're more likely to come up through the magazine ranks and then appear in anthos, and I think that sucks. It's a combination of conservatism and just plain laziness in some cases on the part of antho editors who are little more than packagers or caretakers, but also the demands of the marketplace. It appears that if you don't have one of a certain pool of names whose BookScan numbers are through the roof, you, as an editor of anthos, are probably screwed in terms of getting adequate chain support. And thus screwed in terms of being able to sell a decent number of books.

Of course, it depends on why you're editing an antho. I would like to think that when I'm effing 75 I'll still be doing Leviathan anthos and still willing to take some risks.

Anyway, this makes original anthologies like Polyphony and others even more important. Leviathan 5 will have an open reading period as well, but we know up front that depending on the vagaries of what "names" submit or we solicit from (because we honestly love their work), we'll have more or fewer opportunities. The more chances we take, the fewer opportunities, basically. Yes, this is the reality of the marketplace, but it seems like there should be a better balance in place and a better effort to nurture newer writers. Not to mention, if Ann and I were to stop doing open reading periods, we'd eventually completely lose touch with the new, exciting stuff being done by writers in their twenties. So there are ancillary benefits, both to our work as editors but also to my writing, frankly.

I hope I'm overstating the case somewhat, or am just dead wrong.

Jeff

13 Comments:

At 2:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How much weight can the 'reputation' and 'credibility' of the editors lend to an anthology? Is the judgement of 'reputable' and 'credible' editors enough to carry new authors through to the marketplace?

james

 
At 4:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

None. Unless the editor is a famous writer.
Jeff

 
At 7:35 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

I'd agree with Jeff. The name of the editor has essentially no marketing impact at all. It doesn't matter if you're Ellen Datlow or Gardner Dozois - your reputation isn't taken much into account. On the other hand, if you're Michael Chabon or Stephen King, it is important.

I also agree that having anthologies that are open to general submissions is important. That's one of the reason why I was eager to do the Eclipse series of anthologies for Night Shade. I've done three original anthologies so far. For various reasons, two were invite-only, and the other was open. With Eclipse (starting with Volume 2), i have the chance to have a lengthy open period and to feature a real mix of new and established writers, which I hope will help to keep the series vital and fresh.

 
At 2:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jonathan:

I really hope Eclipse lasts a long time. Sounds like it's going to be great.

JeffV

 
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