So, I’m in receipt of several emails, and one crazily placed blog entry (read about it here, go over to a Whole ‘Nother Website, to a page that has nothing to do with the topic, and post the question. Why would you do that?). . .asking when the short stories Steve and I have recently placed with anthologies (not magazines), will be “available,” by which they mean, as a chapbook from Pinbeam Books. These folks don’t want to buy anthologies filled with stories by strange authors, just to get our new story, but they want the new stories Pretty Dern Quick.
Now, here’s the Thing. Actually, a couple of Things.
Writers, including Steve and me, write to earn money.
Anthology gigs pay money up front.
One of the things that anthologies purchase with their up-front money is publication exclusivity, anything from 6 months to 2 years (to forever, but we turn those down; there isn’t enough up-front money in the world).
The purpose of anthologies, besides making money for the publishing house, the editor, and, maybe, some more money for their contributing authors, is to (1) draw in readers of Author A with the promise of a new story, and (2) introduce the readers of Author A to other cool writers those readers may have missed. Anthologies are not inherently evil, honest.
Now, this is how the whole anthology publication works from the author side:
Invitation comes in –> Author rejects or accepts
If Author rejects, Author does not have to write a story to theme and deadline. Author also does not get paid.
If Author accepts, Author receives contract from publisher. Author writes story to theme and deadline, whereupon, sometime before publication of the anthology, a check will arrive in Author’s mailbox.
The contract issued by the publisher spells out things like rights purchased, desired word count, payment per word, how royalties will be computed, deadline for submission, deadline for publication, and! exclusivity periods.
Once more, in short form, here is that process:
Invitation–>Author Acceptance–>Contract Arrives–>Author writes and submits story to Anthology Editor –>Revision letter arrives–>Author revises, resubmits–>Story accepted–>Payment received–>Anthology published
Some of these bits can be switched around, but these are the steps to publication.
When the anthology is published — that is when the exclusivity period starts. Exclusivity is exactly what it sounds like — the anthology holds the exclusive right to publish Story A anywhere for: 6 months, 9 months, 1 year, 2 years (forever, but see above…)
After the exclusivity period is over, Author may sell the story to a reprint market, reprint the story Author’s self, or stick the story in a drawer and forget about it.
What we here at the Confusion Factory do is — After the exclusivity period is completed, we will cause Pinbeam Books to reprint Story A as an echapbook/paper chapbook. Sometimes, there’s a little extra time built in before we get around to that, due to other pressing business, and whether we have at least two stories available for reprint (or have spontaneously generated another, free-range, story in the interim) so that we give value to our readers.
We also collect those stories into a big pile, and lately Baen Books has been kind enough to print those collections in the Liaden Universe® Constellation series. So far, that is three volumes, with Constellation Four coming in Summer 2019*.
What all this means for the “availability” of the following stories: “Dark Secrets,” “Command Decision,” and “Vestals of Midnight,” is!
“Dark Secrets” will be published in Infinite Stars: Dark Frontiers, which is now scheduled to be published in September 2019. The exclusivity period for that story is 18 months. So, it will be “available,” sometime in mid-2021.
We have not yet been informed of the exclusivity period for “Decision,” and “Vestal,” but assume a year from publication (November 2018), since that’s an average period.
Advertent readers will see that “Revolutionists” and “Excerpts from Two Lives,” will be collected in Constellation Four. Sometime after, Pinbeam Books will collect them into a chapbook. The reason for that timing is also exclusivity, the period for “Revolutionists” doesn’t go over until next July, scant weeks before we can expect to see the next Liaden collection.
I trust this answers everyone’s questions — and really! Try an anthology, why not? You might find some new favorite authors.
*A Liaden Universe® Constellation Volume Four, coming from Baen in Summer 2019. This reprints eight shorter works: 2 novellas, 4 novelettes, 2 short stories from 2016-2018. Titles included are: “Street Cred,” “Due Diligence,” “Friend of a Friend,” “Cutting Corners,” “Block Party,” “Degrees of Separation,” “Excerpts from Two Lives,” “Revolutionists.”