Tuesday, 5 February 2013


Here’s an update on where we are with the anthology.

Most selected pieces have been edited by their authors and returned to me and Diana. I was very impressed by the speed with which the contributors reviewed our comments.

One or two are still awaiting editor feedback, but we hope to have their pieces back to them by the middle of this week.

Some people have said they don’t think they’ll have time to review their feedback in time. I'm hoping they'll decide to hold their work back for the next anthology, in order to review the editors' feedback thoroughly. I've suggested to those people that, rather than just stick their piece in unreviewed, they hold back for the next anthology (which ought to follow not too long after Volume 1) and so give themselves more time. That's what I'd do. Another option is letting the editors wade in and take care of typos and punctuation slips, etc. Speaking as an editor, I'm happy with that - but as a contributor I wouldn't be, so I don't really expect anyone to go that route. All I can do is give friendly nudges, and since I’ve never gotten around to having my own work published, I’m not exactly a shining example.

We’re still on course for the provisional target publication date of 14 February. In about a week’s time (sooner if possible) I’ll send out a document to all of the contributors, with the whole ebook in it. This will be their chance to their own contributions for any errors that might have crept in since the commenting/editing stage.

I have mini-biog material for the most of the contributing authors, and have reminded the others, asking that they explicitly tell me if they don't want a biog included. I've also been encouraging  people to include information on their blogs, Facebook pages, etc.

You may already know about the A215 group which has recently published an anthology. (It’s called “Sea of Ink” and is available from Amazon. A few days ago, it featured quite high in Amazon’s “chart” (albeit in a niche category), which I find very encouraging. They’ve elected to price their one considerably higher than we have ours, so it will be interesting to see how sales figures compare over time.

We’ve confirmed with the OU that there are no rights or property problems with us publishing our TMAs, even when marketing them as work done for TMAs.

If we want to include the actual TMA wording or tutors’ comments, we need to apply for permission. I see some merit in including those things, but at this stage I think we should just leave them out so that we can get this thing published ASAP. There’s still nothing to stop us saying “For this TMA we had to produce a script” or “The word limit here was 1500” etc.

Dr Derek Neale (A363 Course Chair, co-author of both the BRB and the BBB, and published novelist in his own right) emailed us, saying our endeavour is “encapsulating the aims, ideals and spirit of the course and The Open University’s creative writing teaching” and that the anthology “offers evidence of imaginative adventure and writing output, but also testifies to the collaborative and interactive spirit of the OU writing courses.” He then added “Well done!” which almost seems redundant, but does give one a warm glow! (Or is that just me?)

OK, I saved the best for last: Feeling bold, we asked Dr Neale for permission to quote him, and he gave it! I’m not sure whether we’ll put his words on the cover, inside the anthology itself, in the product description on the Amazon website, or a combination of these, but I’m sure you’ll agree this development is a significant coup for us and can do our sales to those unfamiliar with the courses no harm at all!

Thanks, as usual, to everyone involved, especially Diana and Judith, for copy-writing, legal-eagling, editing, feedbacking, and steady stream of abuse disguised as encouragement (or is it encouragement disguised as abuse?)

I was very pleasantly surprised at how well Kindle preserved the formatting for the anthology's two scripts.

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