Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Three Lessons I Learned as an Anthology Editor

The Write1Sub1 anthology, Drunk on Writing, Vol 1, is set to release this August. It's been a long time coming, and it's the first time I've been the lead editor on a project like this.

Let's just say the learning curve was steep.

As they say, hindsight is 20/20, and I wish I'd known then what I know now. Going forward, Vol. 2 (more on that in future weeks) is going to be a breeze by comparison.

So in an effort to help all of you who might be considering editing your own anthology, or if you'd like to understand what your editors go through when publishing your work, I give you Three Lessons I Learned as an Anthology Editor:

  1. You will receive more quality stories than you are able to publish. By and far, this was the hardest part. We received several stories that were good, publishable material. Heck, this is a reprint anthology, so we already knew your story was publishable. Writing rejections for on-the-cusp stories isn't something I think will ever get easier.
  2. You will never have as much time as you think. Deadlines approach and you, as the editor, need to stay on the ball. You remember how mad you got as an author waiting months for an editor's inevitable rejection? Yeah, don't be that guy now. And more importantly, you can't keep holding onto things waiting for them to be perfect. You may miss a comma, or a typo, but in the end you just have to let it go.
  3. There are more moving parts to this than you are capable of handling. Putting together an anthology was a lot like building a car. You need engineers, designers, testers, marketing experts, and most important the folks on the line fitting the thing together piece by piece. In no way can one editor handle all of these moving parts. For me, this was my most important lesson: learning to let others take the wheel.

I want to thank Stephen Ramey for getting the cover together and providing a submission site for our use. Simon Kewin, for layout design and tolerating my inane questions. Alex Shvartsman and Jeff Chapman for their slush reader feedback. And of course, Milo James Fowler, for making Write1Sub1 possible.


  1. Great post! I can't wait for next years anthology! I would love to submit as a active Write1Sub1 member!

    1. We'll be opening up to submissions this month. They'll be a post with all the information in a couple weeks, so keep your eyes peeled. I look forward to reading your sub!

  2. Great post! I especially loved this point: "You will receive more quality stories than you are able to publish." It gives me hope that although I may get a refection, it doesn't mean my story isn't good.

    Thank you for this! :)

  3. Looking forward to the final product, Stephanie. And you're absolutely right, Chrys -- very encouraging.

  4. I don't recall any inane questions. Lots of good ones, though, including some I had to quietly research to find the answer to. So we both learned stuff...