- by BlogMistress
Nancy Fulda is the managing director of AnthologyBuilder.com –the custom anthology web site where visitors can assemble a print-ready anthology of stories by a variety of authors.
Nancy Fulda’s fiction has appeared in venues including Jim Baen’s Universe, Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest, and Norilana Books’ Warrior, Wisewoman anthology. She is a Phobos Award recipient, a two-time WOTF Finalist, and an assistant editor at Jim Baen’s Universe. Nancy keeps a blog at http://nancyfulda.livejournal.com. She lives in Germany with her husband, their two children, and no cats.
Angst, Vanity & the New World of Publishing
Starting a business is always a little scary. No, make that downright terrifying. You lie awake nights wondering whether your product is as ingenious as you thought, whether some angry customer might possibly sue you out of your home, whether the whole mess is going to turn out to be a waste of time…
And when you’re done worrying about that, you worry about the littler stuff, which feels somehow more important because you’re now worrying about things that are actually likely to happen.
When I started AnthologyBuilder, one of my biggest little worries was the fear that it would degenerate into a vanity press. I worried that authors, having submitted a selection of their out-of-print stories, would then order dozens of collections of their own work to display on their bookshelf and wave under the noses of their friends. This would have been good for my pocketbook but very bad for my psyche.
While I don’t see a problem with the occasional self-indulgence (such as the Nancy Fulda collection I couldn’t resist sending to my parents), living off of people’s vanity is an ultimately parasitical existence. I couldn’t have felt good about myself if I’d done that.
Fortunately, I’ve found that authors-or at least, those authors whose work qualifies for the AB database-are an incredibly sensible and self-restrained bunch. Very few of our customers have purchased collections of their own work, and those who have have done so as novelty gifts or as a way of distributing samples of their fiction at conventions. The vast majority of sales are exactly what I’d envisioned-diverse and occasionally esoteric collections of stories by a variety of authors. True anthologies.
I sleep easier at night these days.
I am also amazed at how quickly technology changes and, along with it, the publishing industry. With the advent of digital printing and Print-on-Demand, traditional publishers and niche markets have been able to extend the life-span of the average book, keeping it available to the public even when the sales volume is too low to justify a traditional print run.
AnthologyBuilder applies the same technology to extend the lifespan of short fiction. Ten years ago it wouldn’t have been possible. Two years ago it wouldn’t have been feasible. Now, it’s a reality.
I love living in the 21st Century.
Thanks to Elaine Isaak for inviting Nancy to blog.