Value in the "idea"...
 
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Value in the "idea" for an anthology

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Joe Benet
(@joe-benet)
Bronze Star Member
Topic starter
 

Hypothetical scenario. I have an "Idea" for an anthology. The Idea is distinct and thus has that extra marketing value, nothing else like it. The Idea is long-term, thus has replay / resale value. The Idea is psychologically powerful, thus can draw both well-established talent as well as new.

Authors who submit stories under the Idea get paid.

The publisher who constructs and distributes the anthology makes their mark-up.

Question: If I fill none of those roles, can I still benefit financially from the Idea? Is there value in the marketplace of anthologies just for inventing the Idea, like a royalty? Can I package, pitch, and sell the Idea to a publisher while protecting the IP?

HMx6
SHMx1 (Q2'22)

 
Posted : June 14, 2022 2:51 am
storysinger reacted
Martin L. Shoemaker
(@martin-l-shoemaker)
Platinum Plus Moderator
 

As with stories, ideas are the easy part. Execution and production are virtually all of the value.

A good idea is a seed.

But! In fact, there have been and probably still are packagers. They don't just have the idea, they seek out and offer contracts to people who do the work. Then when they have a viable set of headliners and editors, they sell this package to a publisher.

This is how many/most Baen anthologies are put together: the packager (who is usually also the editor) lines up headliners and pitches the package to Baen. I know it's done with other publishers as well.

Martin Harry Greenberg was a famously successful packager in many genres, especially speculative fiction. Sometimes he lined up a big name author like Asimov to serve as nominal editor, but he still did a lot of the work himself.

It's a lot of work, far more than just the seed. It's where the value comes in.

Sean Patrick Hazlett (Volume 33) and Stephen Lawson (also Volume 33) are two editor/packagers I have worked with. Bryan Thomas Schmidt is another, as is William Ledbetter (Volume 28). They can all give better advice than I on how packaging works, but I've seen them doing it.

Could you be a packager without also being an editor? I'm sure you could, though I don't know of any examples. But you really need some credentials to pitch to a publisher.

Can you just sell an idea to a packager/editor? I doubt it. They have ideas.

My opinion... 

http://nineandsixtyways.com/
Tools, Not Rules.
Martin L. Shoemaker
3rd Place Q1 V31
"Today I Am Paul", WSFA Small Press Award 2015, Nebula nomination 2015
Today I Am Carey from Baen
The Last Dance (#1 science fiction eBook on Amazon, October 2019) and The Last Campaign from 47North

 
Posted : June 14, 2022 5:01 am
Martin L. Shoemaker
(@martin-l-shoemaker)
Platinum Plus Moderator
 

And I've tried. I've offered them free ideas for anthologies I just wanted somebody to package so I could read them. They said they had ideas.

http://nineandsixtyways.com/
Tools, Not Rules.
Martin L. Shoemaker
3rd Place Q1 V31
"Today I Am Paul", WSFA Small Press Award 2015, Nebula nomination 2015
Today I Am Carey from Baen
The Last Dance (#1 science fiction eBook on Amazon, October 2019) and The Last Campaign from 47North

 
Posted : June 14, 2022 5:25 am
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