VSS365 Anthology – work left to be done and possible timeline

Thank you (again) to everyone involved with the vss365 community, from the very first story to the latest Tweet – you are amazing!

One of the draft mock-up covers

A quick bit of background… As most of you know, this anthology was not my idea. I was asked a number of times ( over a few years), if it was something I could help to make happen. I was reluctant, as it would take a huge amount of work, time and devotion – all unpaid, all squeezed around a full time job, family and existing charity volunteering commitments. However, I had a band of brave volunteers that considerably helped the process in their Ambassador roles and they have been the foundation rock on which this anthology will be built. A huge thank you to them.

There is much to do still. Other projects like this often fail due to the amount of work involved (from personal experience, I have two stories accepted into anthologies, one from 2013 and one from 2017, that still haven’t been published yet). It is a significant undertaking. This one is particularity complex due to the numbers of stories we have chosen to include,

Avoiding any major catastrophes, I am determined to get this one on the shelves this year. However, I ask for you patience and understanding as I work through the key tasks.

I have listed the main tasks below, so you know (roughly) what needs to be done and possibly how long it might take. All dates are indicative and subject to ‘life and work’ events , which I will have to fit around. I work hard on these projects, often at the expense of precious family time, but I know the benefits and thank you to all who have sent messages of support as it really helps knowing how much this project has meant to people.

I’ve also shelved my own writing plans too to make this happen (oh, my creativity in avoiding writing and procrastination have no limits). Emily, my editor, knows I have stalled on my own writing and will hopefully see this as a good use of my time.

What’s next?

  1. I need to finish the master document. Thankfully, I have been working on this already.
    1. all 365 main stories need to go in – this requires conversion from spreadsheet and tidying up the formatting. There is a lot to do, but I’ve tried to be ahead of the game (by 4th Aug)
    2. Separators need to go in between the stories and chapter headings need to be added – this has to be done manually (by 11th Aug)
    3. I need to add more sections
      1. Foreword from Voima (I’ve done mine, I’ll just need V’s)
      2. Other sections of a book e.g. copyright, disclaimers on fictional characters etc.
      3. A explanation page (what is vss and what the pages of the book contain (might be confusing otherwise) – mostly there with this.
      4.  The Bonus Content stories need to be added (I haven’t started this process and it will take time – it also needs some stories which are currently missing. It also needs the same formatting and manual manipulation that the main section needed)
      5. (Approx date for above, 31st Aug)
    4. I need to import the entire thing through a converter and check it (8th Sept)
    5. I need to get the entire thing checked by each author (roughly, about a month, possibly by 6th Oct)
      1. This is going to take a long time (there will be nearly 500 stories to check). It has some challenges as not everyone has an e-mail, and e-mail can take a long time. This is more for authors to quickly proofread that their work is correct and that they are happy to proceed. In order to be fair to everyone, we will set a deadline, for those that have not confirmed by the deadline, the work will be removed.
        1. Current thoughts, to save a lot of time, will be that I make the ‘draft’ book available to authors within the book in an online, password protected location.
        2. This will be shared on the understanding that access and use are strictly limited – there will be no copying and sharing – it’s draft content and authors access it purely for the purpose of proof-reading and confirming their story. 

2. Cover needs to be designed. Reasonably easy task for ebook, more complicated for physical book. Ebook is the priority for now, once this is published we will look at the physical book timing. (I might need a short break first). Cover for ebook, approx 13th Oct.

3. Set the book up in KDP (Amazon). The royalties go directly from KDP to the charity (which is great, as the money never touches the bank account of anyone else). This will involve a few steps, and checking the final document against a number of devices.

I’ve missed lots of other things, but these are the main tasks and considerations.

So, all being well, and life and health allowing, I think an ebook date for late November seems feasible.

Take care – Mark

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