Blue Denim publisher Shane Joseph has a big task: he’s the publisher of Hill Spirits IV, to be launched at the Festival of the Arts (FOTA) this October. And as he explains, the role brings its challenges:
It’s that time again to publish an anthology of the work of 36 contributors from the Spirit of the Hills Writers group, Hill Spirits IV. And the hardest thing is, I know them all, well, most of them, anyway!
If anything goes wrong—a misplaced comma, a typo, an improper placing within the book, smaller font than desired or bigger font than expected, the bio in the wrong order, the chapters incorrectly numbered, illustrations improperly sized, an uninspiring cover, and a hundred other things—I will certainly hear about it. Loudly!
My saving graces: I have three seasoned editors (Felicity Sidnell Reid, Gwynn Scheltema and Susan Statham) who have gone through three earlier rounds with me on publishing anthologies (Hill Spirits, Hill Spirits II and Hill Spirits III) and who have honed skills, thick skins, and kind hearts.
I have a brilliant copy editor, Chris Cameron, who took on the role of “anal-yst” of the text. And I have 36 salespeople (too many to name here, please look up the back cover of the book when it is out) to sell this anthology for me. Piece of cake, eh?
Oh, no! Nothing of this magnitude is a piece of cake. A million moving parts have to be co-ordinated from the call for submissions to handing the first buyer a gleaming copy of the anthology, and a small slip along the way can tangle up the entire chain.
Take the cover, for example. The three editors and I got into an e-mail discussion (big mistake, nothing gets resolved by e-mail committee) on what the cover should look like.
After a dozen designs were vigorously discussed, defended, and discarded (by e-mail), we came to the wise realization that writers should never be collectively left to decide any important issue like world peace or nuclear disarmament, we were far too opinionated and individualistic for that, and a “trivial” matter like the cover was best left in the hands of the cover designer—yes, we had one, but being creators, we were trying to do his work for him.
We were, in fact, “creating” work for the poor designer!
So, after pulling my hair out, the few I have left, I think Hill Spirits IV is in great shape, cover challenges notwithstanding.
And that elusive cover? It just landed!
And I intend to have freshly minted copies of this fourth anthology at the launch on Oct 26th 2019, as part of the Festival of the Arts, when some, or all, of the proud 36 creators will be on hand to sign, brag, and read from their work and dazzle local audiences, reminding everyone long into their dotage that once there was a spot, a most congenial spot, where writers thrived in creating diverse tales, poems and art, a place called Northumberland County.
Shane Joseph is a novelist, blogger, reviewer, short story writer, and publisher living in Cobourg. Hill Spirits IV will be released by his publishing house, Blue Denim Press. For details, visit his website at http://www.shanejoseph.com