Dawn of the Monsters!!!

The first issue of Amazing Monster Tales is out!!!

Amazing Monster Tales is a series I’m putting together with my friend DeAnna Knippling. I went back and looked for our initial email exchange, which was in April 2017—so we’ve been working on this for quite a while. 🙂 In fact, the amount of time itself has been a lesson. We had to think through how to divvy up tasks, who the publisher of record would be, what style we wanted for our cover art, how many stories to include in each issue…and so on. We’ve done a great job of working everything out—and at writing down our decisions, which has been a much bigger help than it sounds. But it’s taken a lot of time to figure out what there is to decide on, and as we make progress, we keep uncovering more areas where we need to make decisions. And while some decisions go a lot faster and smoother with two people involved, some take more time because we have different opinions or ideas, or because we’re both trying too hard to be polite to each other. 🙂

I’ve found DeAnna a joy to work with. I expected us to be good partners—we’ve known each other for almost seven years now, and DeAnna has edited quite a few of my stories and books. But you never really know how something will go until you try it. Our partnership has been even more collaborative and constructive—and fun!—than I thought it would be. 🙂 One of my favorite parts was when we were making the final review pass before publishing the book. We have a Slack team set up, and we were going back and forth, finding tiny things to correct, like an apostrophe pointing the wrong way, or a typo we, the author, and our respective spell checkers had missed. (These are usually cases where the word is spelled correctly, it’s just the wrong word.) I had no idea proofing a book could be so much fun!

The downside of a joint project like this is that there are two people who can get too busy and put things off, and depending on how you’ve split up the work, that could mean double the delay. For example, if one of us is the first editor for a story and gets behind schedule, that delay gets exacerbated if the second person is behind schedule when it’s their turn to edit. We could have split up the tasks by assigning only one of us to edit each story, but we wanted to make sure were were on the same page in terms of the project’s vision, so we both wanted the other to be involved in edits even though there were situations where one of us was more of the “main” editor for a particular story. Not only did we get behind on everything (more than once!), we also were learning how to work with each other on this type of thing, and that added additional time. For example, I was acting as the “main” editor for one story which included one scene that wasn’t quite working, but I wasn’t sure how to convey that to the author. I finally turned this story over to DeAnna who immediately pointed out that my issue was that I have a harder time when there are logical holes in prose. I immediately thought that’s it!!! Now we know that the next time we see a story like this that DeAnna is the better editor for the first pass, just like we know I’m the one to call if we ever need a colorful, organized spreadsheet. 🙂

We’ve got at least three more issues planned in this series. DeAnna is working on our vision statements, and we’ll put out a call for submissions soon. The next issue will be called Monster Road Trip. I’m very, very curious to see the stories people submit!

I’ve been too busy to do much pondering lately, but now that I’ve managed to make it through my fourth book release in two weeks (whew!), I’m making time to think through the many things I’m working on. I’m really happy with everything I’ve done for the past few years, but I want to think more strategically about how to achieve my goals. For example, one of my goals for 2019 is to finally finish the novel that’s been through one round with my editor…over two years ago. 🙂 I’ve been putting finishing that book off because I’ve either been too busy with other projects, or because I don’t feel I have enough time in between deadlines to focus sufficiently on the manuscript. So one of the things I’m thinking about is how to stay on top of all my other projects, since I really love them, while also focusing more on novels. And I’m saying “novels” in the plural, since I’d not only like to finish this one, but I’d also like to write more. I’m not yet sure how to fit it all in, but I’m going to come up with a plan!