We've been having a discussion about self-publishing, POD, new technology and the future of publishing and one thing that seems to show up a lot as the difference between traditional publishing and new publishing is the vetting process - self-published books don't have to be approved by anyone. Maybe this is good, maybe it's not.

Anyway, the discussion led to the idea of a community-driven anthology of crime fiction short stories that would use new technology - POD and e-publishing, I think - to publish.

Would anyone be interested?

The idea now would be to have a place on Crimespace where members could post short stories and the community could vote for their favourites. There's been a suggestion that the stories could be posted anonymously and I guess there'd need to be a way to limit one vote per person. Does anyone feel the honour system would work?

Then we would take the most popular stories and put them into an anthology. I also thought we could probably get it ready in time to have a launch at Bouchercon in Indianapolis in October.

As far as I know this hasn't been done, even though there's been so much talk about the potential of online communities.

Any ideas?

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Thanks Christopher, interesting articles. Of course, "the publishing industry," and "literature" are two different things. The publishing industry may not be a business model that can survive, but there are still people who want to read books, so they'll be served by some business model.
I agree, John. And your "anthology" idea certainly fits with the new and changing business model. Good to hear you found the articles worthwhile.
I just had a wacky idea, feel free to kick it around. There's been some talk about the anthology having a theme, well why not use the Seven Deadly Sins, with a stories built around Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and Pride.

Lust, Greed, Wrath, Envy and Pride would be fairly easy, but Gluttony, and Sloth would be harder to fit in a crime-fiction context, but someone would probably assume them as a challenge.

What do you think?
Not wacky at all. Excellent and quite brainy.
It is a good set and a great opening to the theme discussion. My only concern is that it seems to limit the anthology to seven stories. Last year's Australia contest, for example, was a more open theme without built-in limits.
There could be 2-3 stories per sin. They're just categories.
I'm not crazy about the idea of a theme or anything that restricts what stories could be submitted.

But if people really want a theme, is there some way it could have something to do with the fact that this is being done by an international online community? Maybe having some online reference is a little too direct, and I'd hate to require stories set in particular places (those noir-city books may have run their course) but there might be something that could make this unique.
The seven deadly sins are surely not limiting. Perhaps they are bit closely associated with Western culture, but if so, I think this particular concept is very widely known across the globe. Nobody need deal with it in a religious manner.
Also it allows the sub-genres (like noir -- against which I have suddenly taken) to be represented equally.

But hey, if you don't like it, I may get a chance to use it some day. :) Thanks to D.R. MacMaster.
I actually thought of them because some experts say that themes are necessary to sell an anthology, but the 7 Deadly Sins are pretty much the least limiting themes you can find. Every crime story has at least one, if not more, of them inside. So basically, it's just a matter of determining which ones suit the particular stories best.

And Parker, all I want is ten percent. ;)
What about the O. Henry anthology, Best American Short Stories (and there's a mystery version of that as well, right?), Best Non Required Reading, etc. None of these have themes, and they are the most popular (I think).
"Best" is actually very limiting. Unless they collect only stories that have won awards, the word is meaningless and perhaps arrogant.
The point is these are just a collection of good stories as decided on by whomever. The stories don't have to have a common theme (well, the mystery ones have to be crime fiction).

So these themeless anthologies to pretty well.


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