INVISIBLE and the Hugo

InvisibleI went to bed before the Hugo Award results were announced, and woke up this morning to emails about INVISIBLE. The Hugo voting statistics were released last night, and it turns out that INVISIBLE would almost certainly have been on the ballot for Best Related Work if not for the Sad and Rabid Puppy slate voting campaigns.

Thank you to everyone who nominated us. And thank you to all of the contributors for sharing their stories and helping to create a wonderful, powerful, and potentially award-worthy collection. Shiny rocket trophies are nice, but far more valuable is the fact that we created something important, something that had a real impact and made a difference to people.

To Alex Dally MacFarlane, Mark Oshiro, Katharine Kit Kerr, Susan Jane Bigelow, Charlotte Ashley, Ada Hoffman, Kathryn Ryan, Gabriel Feycat Cuellar, Nalini Haynes, Joie Broin, Morgan Dambergs, Derek Handley, Ithiliana, Michi Trota, Nonny Blackthorne, and cover artist Mark Ferrari: Every one of you should be damn proud of yourselves, and I’d like to ask one last thing of you all.

Do something nice for yourselves today. Treat yourself to ice cream or go see a movie or just stay home and kiss a loved one. Whatever you like, so long as it’s a way to celebrate and reward yourself for your part in helping to create something good.

Invisible is Live!

InvisibleAs of today, Invisible is officially a thing! In addition to the guest blog posts featured on the blog, the e-book anthology includes bonus material from Alex Dally MacFarlane, Gabriel Cuellar, Nonny Blackthorne, and Ithiliana.

It’s on sale for $2.99 at the following sites, and I’m hoping to add to this list as other retailer links go live. All proceeds will go to the Carl Brandon Society for Con or Bust.

I learned a lot from this project. I think these essays do a marvelous job of answering the question, “Why does representation matter?” and of looking at different types of representation in our genre.

I’m a big believer in the importance and power of story. The contributors to Invisible showed me new aspects of that power, things I hadn’t necessarily considered before.

If you’re a reviewer and would be interested in a copy, please let me know. And if you feel like spreading the word, I’ll send you a tray of fresh-baked karmic brownies (or another imaginary karmic goodie of your choice).

The Editing Process: Invisible

I thought folks might be curious about the process of turning a collection of blog posts into an almost-ready-for-publication e-book. (If I was mistaken about that, and you couldn’t care less, go check out some superhero cats instead.)

Once I decided to do it, the first step was to talk to the guest bloggers. Originally, I had only asked people to write something up for the blog. I wanted to know if they would be on board with an e-book collection (they were). I talked about the token payment I could offer, the title I had in mind (“Invisible”), and the idea for donating any additional profits to Con or Bust.

Everyone seemed excited about the idea, so the next step was to put together a contract. I looked at SFWA’s sample contracts and some of the contracts I’d signed over the years. The final version was loosely modeled on the fiction contract John Joseph Adams uses for Lightspeed. I didn’t want to get too bogged down in legalese, but I wanted to make it clear what people would be paid, what rights I was buying, and things like that.

I also contacted a few people about essays I hadn’t been able to run on the blog, asking if they’d want to be part of the anthology. While I’m keeping the posts on my site available for free, I like the idea of having some bonus content in the e-book. I emailed Alex Dally MacFarlane at this point as well, asking if she’d be interested in writing an introduction. More contracts and payments followed.

I had been playing with cover art ideas, because even though I’m obviously not a professional graphic designer, it’s something I enjoy doing. You can see my early draft in this blog post, where I announced the anthology. Part of the reason I wanted to talk about it was to generate a little early awareness and buzz, as well as to get feedback on the cover and the overall project.

Then it was time to start putting the actual e-book together. I use Sigil to create my e-books. The first step was to copy the essays off the blog and into the software. That was the easy part. The real fun was in going through each file for consistency in things like how em-dashes and ellipses were coded, and removing any junk code that might have gotten picked up in the copy/paste process. Two essays lost all of their quotations marks, and a third ended up with all of its italics stripped away.

Somewhere in the middle of all this, Mark Ferrari and I started chatting. He was kind enough to offer some advice on cover art, and volunteered to put something together if I was interested. (Spoiler: I was interested!) We swapped emails from time to time over the month of March, and he ended up taking my ideas and turning them into something sharper and more eye-grabbing.

Content-wise, I had already worked with some of the authors on edits to their stories before they went up on the blog. I did the same with some of the new content. Once I had everyone’s stuff, I put it all into the ebook file, adjusted the Table of Contents a bit, updated the cover art with the final list of contributors, and ran the file through an .epub validator. I fixed a few more things, and then it was time to send page proofs out to everyone, asking them to get back to me with any changes by April 6. (This is how we discovered that one person’s essay had lost its italics.)

I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet that originally included contributor names (and pen names, if applicable), their email addresses, and the title of their essays. Other columns I’ve added include the dates contracts were sent and received, when payments were sent, the preferred format (if any) for page proofs, and the date page proofs were sent.

I think we’re on track for an April 15 publication date. I want to send a copy of the book to a few reviewers in the next day or so, too. I also need to look into publicity for the launch. There’s a podcast I’ll be doing (more details on that later), and some websites I need to send the announcement to. I’ve also started writing up the content information for places like Amazon, B&N, etc. This is things like the description, keywords, price ($2.99), and so on.

I had forgotten how much work this is. If you’re a writer, please remember to thank your editor for everything they do! As an editor, I want to thank all of my writers on this project. They’ve been a pleasure to work with.

In conclusion, I’m very proud to share the final cover art and lineup for Invisible, coming April 15.

Invisible - Lg

Update and Release Date for Invisible

I’m aiming for an April 15 release date for Invisible, the collection of essays on representation in SF/F. Everything is put together except for three pieces, one of which is my own afterword. (Oops!)

Contributors should have proofs in their email on or around April 1. I may also try to query a few folks about sending review copies. If you know of a good place that might be willing to review an ebook collection like this, please let me know.

Mark Ferrari was kind enough to lend his expertise to the cover art. This isn’t 100% final, but it’s relatively close, and has a bit more visual punch than what I had originally put together. What do you think?

Invisible - Draft

The order of the contributors may change. I still need to go through and look at the flow of the whole thing.

All in all, I’m really excited about this!

Guest Post Roundup, and Phase 2

I want to once again thank everyone for the guest blog posts last month. They were amazing and powerful and thought-provoking. I know that you got me thinking about things I hadn’t considered before, and judging from the comments, I wasn’t the only one. Here’s the full list of posts:

There were several other posts I wanted to mention in this roundup.

The frustrating thing about blogging is that, for the most part, any given blog post has a very short lifespan. They get their moment in the spotlight, and then wander backstage to the archives. I wanted to find a way to keep these essays alive for anyone who wanted to read and share them. Which is why I spent the weekend sending contracts out to my guest bloggers and a couple of additional individuals for Invisible, an electronic anthology that will collect these essays in a more permanent form. I’m still working out the details, but each contributor will receive a token payment for their essay, with the rest of the profits going to Con or Bust. The essays will remain online for free, but the anthology will be $2.99, which seemed reasonable for a collection of this length. Here’s the cover I’ve been working on. Feedback is very much welcome. The contributor names are pixellated out because I haven’t received all of the contracts back yet. I’m excited about this. If all goes well, I’d love to make it an annual thing, both the guest blog posts and the electronic anthology.

Jim C. Hines