Six weeks to an antho (part 1)

In June, I swam out of the shallow kiddie pool of sanity and went spinning into the maelstrom of a deep tidal pool. I wrote over 40,000 words, edited a book and two short stories, beta read two stories, reviewed four books on my blog… <gasping for breath>

….AND worked with four talented people to create a new anthology, Lust by the Sea.

This is the first post in a three-part series about how to create an anthology from scratch in six weeks. (I’ve found sanity to be highly overrated.)

Part I: How’d this thing get Started?

Big shout out to C.A. “CoCo” Bell, who designed the beautiful cover. Hauntingly gorgeous.

Why, thank you for asking! Delighted to share.

In May 2016, Katherine Nevitt floated the question to her Facebook author friends, “Would you be interested in putting together an anthology?” Several of us joined in the discussion, and when the dust settled, we had four on board: myself, Essemoh Teepee, Katherine, and JD Carabella. Katherine’s idea was for a handful of folks to work together in developing the concept from the ground up.

Ideas flew back and forth, the juices flowed (creative juices, peeps, get your minds out of the gutter), and we developed a series idea, a paranormal erotic anthology with each edition focused on a specific theme. Together, we decided on “Lust by the…” as the series title. Our inaugural edition is about the sea. Because, well, it’s beach season.

Every author contributed significantly to shaping the final design and content. We beta read each others’ stories, tossed story plots back and forth, came up with blurbs and promotional ideas…All things we do on our own as indie authors. At times, it took longer to make a decision than if each of us had been doing our own thing; but I think the quality of the final product benefited greatly from working together.

In this collection, you get four different takes on oceanic mythology. Yes, we all focused on the sea, and seas have beaches littered with bronzed, naked bodies. But these stories aren’t all sweet, sandy fun. For example,  Essemoh Teepee’s First Mark and Other Episodes is a Lovecraftian gem. If you like your erotica with a dollop of horror, you’re going to love First Mark. I’m incredibly impressed with the amount of research that went into his universe. Shiver me timbers, folks! Read the quotes he cited, about unexplained oddities in our DNA. It raised the hair on the back of my neck.

In six weeks we went from a concept to a published book. That’s fast, y’all. Really fast, but we had a goal, and we met it. So yeah, like I said: June dished up the insanity. And I loved it.

In part 2 in this series, I’ll share a bunch of tips on formatting for the Zon. For all it can be a frustrating program at times, Microsoft Word’s “Styles” menu saved our bacon when combining four manuscripts, four bios, book lists, TOC and copyright pages. I volunteered to do the line editing (because I love editing) and final formatting for the anthology. Please blame me for any typos or formatting errors. Better yet, tell me if you find any and I’ll fix them.

In part 3 of this series, I’ll share the results of using targeted keywords and categories to promote our book on the Zon. From several psuedo-scientific articles, I learned how to determine which KWs and cats will supposedly help a book get noticed; we’re experimenting with that process for our first month. I’ll share those sources, and my opinions on what worked and didn’t. Stay tuned!

Lust by the Sea is available exclusively on Amazon, and is free on Kindle Unlimited. Go to Amazon US or Amazon UK to learn more. Or, click here to open Amazon’s Look Inside feature! You can read the first four chapters of my story, Treasures from the Sea, without leaving my blog.

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