If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

August Interview Schedule
8/7 Rhys Bowen Love and Death Among the Cheetahs
8/14 Heather Gilbert Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass
8/21 Lynn Chandler Willis Tell Me No Secrets
8/28 Cynthia Kuhn The Subject of Malice
8/31 Bernard Schaffer An Unsettled Grave

Saturday Guest Bloggers: 8/3 M. S. Spencer, 8/10 Zaida Alfaro

WWK Satuday Bloggers: 8/24 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology will be released on June 18th.

Congratulations to Margaret S. Hamilton for being a finalist in the Daphne Du Maurier contest. Margaret competes in the Unpublished/Mainstream mystery/suspense category.

Congratulations to Shari Randall for WINNING the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Her book, Curses, Boiled Again was published by St. Martin's last year. Read the interview about the book here. Yay, Shari!

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30.

James M. Jackson extends the Seamus McCree series with the May 25th publication of #6, False Bottom.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

SinC Anthologies--Toronto Chapter

Paula Benson and my series on anthologies focuses on the SinC Toronto Chapter’s anthology, The Whole She-Bang, this week. Please welcome Janet Costello, the chapter’s anthology editor.                                                                                           E. B. Davis
What prompted you to create an anthology?
In the newsletter for our Chapter, we have a feature called Round The Hood. This is where we report on the activities of other chapters. In researching for that column, I repeatedly saw that other chapters had anthologies. Our Chapter has two writing groups, as well as many established authors. We knew we had a good pool of writers to draw from. In a conversation with then Chapter President, Helen Nelson, we talked about doing one and how diverse it could be. I like to think that when I came up with the anthology title, The Whole She-Bang, that sealed the deal.

How did you develop a theme for your anthology?
We’re proud to show the diversity of mystery writing within Canada. Any sub-genre of mystery, and crime, no matter how small, and the story is eligible, as long as the author resides in Canada and belongs to Sisters in Crime.

Did you develop a “local” theme to entice readers in your area?
We went with a national theme because we are the only SinC Chapter in Canada.

How long did you give your writers to submit stories?
For our first anthology, we gave writers over five months. For our second, which has a submission deadline of May 11, 2014, we gave them less than three months. Feedback from our members dissuaded us from giving only two months for submissions. With this experience, I’d recommend between three and four months.

Did you adhere to the guidelines set up for anthologies by SinC?

What was the response to your query for stories among your writers?
We allowed up to two stories per entrant, and we ended up with over twenty authors submitting thirty-four stories. Because we accepted stories from any Canadian member of SinC, and they didn’t have to belong to our Chapter, this helped us to get the range of writing we were seeking.

What were the criteria for selection?
Our judges were instructed to select good stories and diverse stories. We assured them that the editing stage would take care of minor errors. This resulted in twenty selected stories, with a broad range: historical, police procedural, traditional, and one children’s tale. Several stories were set outside of Canada, too.

Were the stories judged blind?
Yes, which is required in the SinC guidelines. However, we did our best to achieve blind judging in a digital age, which is a very different creature than ten years ago. Stories posted on the author’s website were disallowed. We had to strip embedded IDs from documents. With our second anthology, we added a paragraph to our submission form and required acknowledgment of these rules.             

How did you obtain judges?
We wanted our judging pool to reflect not just the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), but also other provinces. We had a male judge (a Mister Sister) from Western Canada, who is the author of many novels. We had a short story editor from the GTA, and a mystery reader from our Chapter. For our next anthology, our judges also represent the GTA and Western Canada, an author, an industry expert, and a reader.

Did you hire an editor?
As our newsletter editor, I volunteered to edit this anthology and donated my share of the proceeds to our charity. Books I recommend for honing up your editing skills include: Getting the Words Right by Theodor Cheney, On Writing by Stephen King, and Grammar Snobs are Great Big Meanies by June Casangrande.

Was any thought given as to the order of the stories in the anthology?
Oh, yes! But this is a sensitive subject. I will share that I did not place similar stories side by side, or two by the same author together. Also, Harlan Ellison, my short story writing hero, always said he put his best stories at the beginning and the end of a collection. I didn’t follow that exactly, but I considered that philosophy in the story ordering. 

How did you find a publisher, and who published your anthology?
We self-published. The “SinC Into Great Writing,” a seminar offered before Bouchercon 2011 was very helpful and encouraging.

Were you given a choice of covers?
We had an artist, Antonia Gorton, a friend of Helen’s, design the stunning cover shown here. All she accepted in return was a copy of the book.

How are you promoting your anthology, and do you have a budget to do so?
That’s a question that could take more than 1000 words to answer! We had a very small marketing budget, which covered the cost of printing postcard sized bookmarks, food for our launch party, and a couple of ads in small ‘zines. We set up a Facebook page, Twitter account, and used our Chapter website. We made a trailer, using one sentence from each story and uploaded that on Youtube. We had a launch at a mystery bookstore and at our Chapter meeting, celebrating our 20th anniversary. We promoted the book at mystery conferences including Bouchercon and Malice Domestic. We sent review copies around, but disclosed that it was self-published, yet asked reviewers to consider it because of the blind-judging. The Toronto Star did give us a review and printed the book cover with it. What a thrill that was! An unusual part of our marketing was that we partnered with The Children’s Book Bank in Toronto. Half of the proceeds from our book went to them. Several authors (and the editor) donated their share to that organization. I strongly believe this helped our book sales because we weren’t just selling an anthology, we were fundraising for a worthy cause.

Do you think that there is a resurgence of interest in short stories?
Definitely. Within a year, there were two other Canadian mystery anthologies released. Also, we found there is a hard-core demand for print books. We sold at least five print copies for every e-version.

Have any of your anthology’s stories been nominated for awards?
Not yet. We do encourage our authors and readers to join The Short Mystery Fiction Society, which then allows you to nominate and vote for stories eligible for the Derringer Awards.

Are you planning other anthologies?
Yes, and we are pulling together to increase our success. Our chapter published the first anthology in October 2012. We sold over 600 copies, paid our authors, and donated over $800 to the Children's Book Bank with our efforts. It was also thrilling not only to have established authors like Edgar Award winner Sylvia Maultash Warsh, and novelist Vicki Delany in the collection, but to provide several authors with their first publication credit. Having the anthology reviewed in the Toronto Star was a highlight, too.


KM Rockwood said...

Great cover and title! I hope you continue to publish anthologies.

I was interested in your statement that you sold 5 print copies for each e-copy.

I love short stories, so it's something else to put on my TBR list.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Congratulations! Great job...xoo

Anonymous said...

Welcome to WWK, Janet. I enjoyed reading your process of publishing your anthology because I'm trying to get something similar done with our relatively new chapter of Sinc. I liked your cover, too.


E. B. Davis said...

Thanks so much for the interview, Janet. Your chapter's authors have benefited from your work. For some reason, anthologies in paper read better. I'm a big fan of e-readers, but I've never bought a e-version of an anthology so I understand your statistics. Thanks for taking the time to complete my interview, and good luck with The Whole She-Bang!