Why we love Anthologies (with apologies to Dr. Seuss)

“Oh! The Places You’ll Go!” Dr. Seuss quite famously wrote, when he wrote about the potential great adventures that await us just outside our door. Publishing is an adventure, one we love and are pleased to be taking, but one that is has its Bumps and its Slumps like any other path. As we expand into publishing novellas, novels, academic writing, and story collections by individual authors, Dagan Books will always publish one or two open anthologies a year. Many people have asked us why? since anthologies are notoriously bad at making back their initial investment. In our case, because we insist on paying our contributors as much as we possibly can with each book, we go into the printing of anthologies knowing we’re unlikely to ever completely make that money back. Why, then, would we be crazy enough to do it?

You’ll be on your way up!

Dagan Books is, admittedly, a tiny little company with only, by the end of our first year, a handful of books to our credit. We started as the pet project of one lonely writer/editor, working in her living room, editing the prose from the porn while she put together Cthulhurotica. We’re growing and we’re getting out there, but we don’t quite yet have the name recognition that would encourage readers to give our books a chance simply because we published them. We need to reach the greatest number of new readers, and publishing anthologies allows us to do that because we’re offering a larger number of authors for your consumption.

You’ll be seeing great sights!

Anthologies give us a chance to see not one person’s vision, but dozens, all at once. Within the pages of one book are 20 different worlds or more. Cthulhurotica took us across time and space, setting stories in:

  • modern-day Innsmouth, Massachusetts
  • Ashland, Oregon, in the 1960s
  • Ancient Greece
  • Mars, sometime in the distant future
  • scientific laboratories, motel rooms, co-ed college dorms, creepy old houses, lonely mountaintops, and over and over again … the sea

IN SITU takes the idea that alien cultures can be studied, with the same (well, let’s call it “academic rigor”) that our own species’ artifacts have been unearthed and cataloged with. If you think that would limit the settings, think again. Stories in that collection range from the past through the present and into a future on our planet as well as out in space. We unearth strange mysteries in Egypt, visit lonely old men in England, explore the alternate history of a South American dig site, hide the truth in Africa, leave our small blue planet behind for the vast wonders of space. The characters in this book find aliens, treasure, fear, death, glory, riches, and eventually find they’ve left being human far behind.

You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.

Publishing anthologies gives us a chance to accept work from emerging writers and place it alongside the writing of those authors who are a little better known. If you love Ken Liu’s crisp and lovely work from Lightspeed or Fantasy and Science Fiction magazines, you’ll want to pick up IN SITU when it releases in July. If you know Cody Goodfellow’s creepy stories from Permuted Press, you’re going to want to read his offering in Cthulhurotica. Know Kenneth Hite from Call of Cthulhu? He’s got an essay in Cthulhurotica too. While you’re reading those pieces, you’ll also see stories from first time authors who’re getting their start here at Dagan Books. Other authors who were accepted to our first collection have continued to work with us, like K. V. Taylor, whose brilliant writing appears in both Cthulhurotica and IN SITU, who has written for a future project, and who has come on board as an editor for the upcoming FISH anthology.

Why do we love anthologies? They’re an introduction to our world. Dagan Books has a vision, a way of doing business, and a style we aspire to, and our anthologies are a window into us.

Duotrope Interviews Us!

Duotrope.com, an excellent resource for writers seeking markets for their work, recently interviewed us about our books, our taste in stories, and our submissions process. You can see the full interview at http://www.duotrope.com/interview.aspx?id=4969&act but we’ve posted a few of our favorite questions below:

Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.

A: Weird, wicked, lovely.

Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?

A: We have great respect for Small Beer Press, Lightspeed Magazine, Weird Tales magazine, Elder Signs Press, and Clarkesworld magazine, to name a few.

Q: If you publish fiction, who are your favorite fiction writers? If you publish poetry, who are your favorite poets?

A: Of course, we adore our writers, including Cody Goodfellow, Simon C. Larter, Ken Liu, Don Pizarro, Steven James Scearce, K. V. Taylor, and many more. We’re also big fans of Kelly Link, Ted Chiang, Neil Gaiman, Sean Stewart, Joe Hill, Karen Joy Fowler, Bruce Sterling, China Mieville, Seanan McGuire, H.P. Lovecraft, and William Shakespeare.

Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?

A: The biggest mistakes are not reading the submission guidelines, assuming we won’t realise when they’ve turned in a rough draft, or those that attempt to be “modern retellings” of famous stories or characters without adding anything new to the story.

Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?

A: Short story submissions require less of a cover letter than do novel length subs, but the accompanying email still needs to include your real name (note a pen name if you have one but never, never, submit under your pen name alone), contact information, and whether the story has been previously published.

Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?

A: We accept email submissions, maintain websites, have Twitter feeds and Facebook pages dedicated both to Dagan Books proper and various individual titles, and use both PoD and traditional print services. While we would never give up the printed word, we find a great story reads just as well on an e-reader too.