I’m often asked what it’s like to edit anthologies. What’s the process, why do I do it, etc.? The answer to why I do it is easy: because it’s fun!
Patricia Bray and I started editing anthologies for DAW Books almost by accident. We were at a bar after a multi-author signing with 7 other authors and everyone got joking around about doing an anthology about a time-traveling bar where Gilgamesh was the bartender. Everyone laughed and had another drink. I went home and wrote up the proposal and at the next World Fantasy con, I pitched it to Techno, who pitched it to DAW the next day. And suddenly Patricia and I were editors. We had no experience at it, but we’d both had multiple books published, so we knew the essential process. Within the year, we’d produced AFTER HOURS: TALES FROM THE UR-BAR. We did one more anthology for DAW—THE MODERN FAE’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING HUMANITY—and then there was upheaval in the publishing world, along with the death of Martin H. Greenburg, and DAW cut their anthology line back dramatically. I waited a few years to see if things would settle and they’d bring it back, but that didn’t happen. And so, one summer, I got bored enough that I decided editing anthologies was just too much fun and I created my own company, Zombies Need Brains, with the intent to produce SF&F anthologies funded by Kickstarters.
So yes, the answer to your question is I AM insane.
But really, it is fun. I love coming up with anthology concepts, usually developed when Patricia and I are having a relaxing drink at a bar at a con with the creativity simply flowing around us. I love inviting published authors to be anchor authors for our Kickstarters, and then hitting the “launch” button and waiting to see what becomes of putting that idea out into the world. I love opening up the anthologies for an open call, where anyone can submit, because often some of the best stories come from those who haven’t yet been published. Reading those submission is often time consuming, but it’s worth it, and you get to see so many interpretations of the anthology theme, twists you’d never thought of, and just downright interesting ideas. And then there’s putting the selected stories together in an interesting order, getting cover art, designing the book, sending it to the printer, and releasing it into the wild. Every step of that process is work. Everyone step is stressful and often frustrating. But in the end, seeing the anthologies on the shelf, seeing people enjoying them, is all worth it. Since its start, Zombies Need Brains has produced two anthologies—CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE: STEAMPUNK VS ALIENS (aliens invade Earth and encounter a steampunk society) and TEMPORALLY OUT OF ORDER (where everyday objects are somehow acting “temporally” out of order)—both funded by Kickstarters by fans.
And now Zombies Need Brains is ready to release two new anthologies, on September 15th, that I hope everyone enjoys. The two new titles are ALIEN ARTIFACTS, about us exploring the universe and discovering objects that aliens have left behind, and WERE-, about were-creatures OTHER than werewolves. Both of them were a blast to edit and bring to life. Both of them are filled with stories from well-known published names in the field, along with brand new names we hope to see more from in the future. They’ll be available in trade paperback and ebook, on the Kindle, Nook, at Kobo, and at other ebook platforms. Right now, you can preorder copies on the Kindle (the other platforms don’t have preorder options). But whatever format you prefer, check them out on September 15th.
We’d like to continue producing quality SF&F anthologies as well and we’re currently running a new Kickstarter to fund three new anthologies title SUBMERGED (SF&F stories set underwater), ALL HAIL OUR ROBOT CONQUERORS! (stories with robots harkening back to the 50s and 60s), and THE DEATH OF ALL THINGS (stories where Death is a character). If you’d like to help us continue bringing brand new stories from authors you love and authors you will love in the future, swing on by the Kickstarter at tinyurl.com/RobotWaterDeath and pledge to the campaign! We’d love to have you as a backer!
Joshua Palmatier is an epic fantasy writer with a PhD in mathematics. He has had eight novels published by DAW Books, including “The Throne of Amenkor” trilogy, Shattering the Ley, and Threading the Needle. He is currently hard at work on the third novel in the “Ley” series, Reaping the Aurora. In addition, he’s published numerous short stories in various anthologies and has edited four SF&F themed anthologies with co-editor Patricia Bray. He is also the founder of the small press Zombies Need Brains LLC. Find out more about him at www.joshuapalmatier.com or on Facebook or Twitter (@bentateauthor).