The Out Loud Year in Review anthology has been a huge deal, taking a lot of time and energy, and every second of effort has been COMPLETELY worth it. It looks amazing, and is beyond anything I could have ever imagined accomplishing. Thanks to the lovely Lynsey and Jeremy of Hypertrophic Press, I had some much needed guidance and wisdom along the way. I have submitted to many places before, and have tried my hand working at a few literary magazines in the past, but this was beyond what I had ever pushed myself to do. So, for your enjoyment or for you to ignore, here are 7 things I learned while compiling an anthology.
1. Less is not more, more is more! This anthology is a culmination of all the beautiful brave wordsmiths who have participated in Out Loud in the past year. Rather than culling down submissions into a concise theme as you would for a lit mag or a journal, I had the pleasure of not excluding anyone! The only requirement was that it had to be something read on the open mic, but that was it! Sure, I cut a few pieces to even out content, but not having to write rejection letters allowed me to enjoy the process of receiving submissions rather than dreading the work that would follow.
2. Bios are a Bitch. People hate talking about themselves, or at least it appears that way when you ask anyone ever to send you a bio. I'm guilty of it too. It was really difficult to track down information from everyone submitting, and the emails were often filled with self conscious second guesses. Stop that! Who cares what other people wrote? You are the only you there is, so write confidently about yourself! I like you, and you're getting published, and what more of a confidence boost do you need?
3. The internet is a vast and mysterious place that is capable of everything you could ever imagine. Uploading layouts, getting proofs, and creating a book that is available for purchase online is far less intimidating that I ever imagined. Seriously. Go do it if you want to. I believe in you. Thanks internet! You wonderful yet incredibly ominous and intimidating thing you! But really,
4. Use your resources and don't be afraid to ask questions. As wonderful as the internet is, there is nothing more comforting that the guidance of a knowledgeable friend, and lucky for me I had two amazing ones showing me the ropes. Lynsey and Jeremy answered all my questions without making me feel like an idiot. They created this thing out of thin air, and showed me how to do it, and helped me feel creative and capable while still learning every step of the way. Thanks guys!
5. People will never submit what you expect, and that's awesome. Some pieces are exceptional on the open mic, but may not lend themselves to print as well, and vice versa. I was excited to see what each person submitted, and was trying to predict what I'd be getting to read over. To my surprise, after over a year of events, each piece I read over, I was taken back to the exact moment they were read the first time. Even the pieces that may have slipped through the cracks when they were first read came through STRONG on the page. we have a huge variety of pieces and topics and styles, and still they somehow came together in and incredible cohesive way. How cool is that?
6. Get over it and get a square reader already. I hated the idea of carrying around a cash register in my purse, and the thought of having an app linked to my bank account. Who wants to be a walking talking point of sale all the time? But square is a wonderful resource and as much as I try to always be prepared with cash on hand, not everyone is like that, and you don't want to lose sales because if it. Look Ma, I'm a real business!
7. It ins't over until you've check every single book. I was so happy when stock for the release came in the mail - they were beautiful! My work was done, right? Nope. Lynsey informed me that each book should be checked for errors or misprints. Seems like an obvious step now, but I would have missed it completely and risked putting out an incorrect product. Lynsey was kind enough to sit with me on our day off and go through each book, and they are all amazing. I promise.
So there ya have it. Come to the release if you can, January 20th at 6:30pm in the Lowe Mill Classroom Studio 2008, located at 2211 Seminole Drive in Huntsville. 32 incredibly talented writers poured their hearts into it, and I have stressed about it endlessly to help create an incredible platform for their words to be published. Efforts have paid off, and Jeremy and Lynsey came through as an incredible team, and we've created something breathtakingly beautiful. I love this book, and I know you will love it too.