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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Long Live The Short Story

Here's a fun and interesting concept that takes full advantage of POD technology.

Let the reader choose from a list of available stories, build their very own custom anthology, click a few buttons and voila, a collection of great tales custom build by the reader.

I love reading short stories -- unfortunately, it's very rare that a magazine or anthology I pick up contains more than a handful of stories I love. It's more common that in any given collection of a dozen or more stories, there are 4 or 5 stories that really stand out and which I love, and the rest seem to not do much at all for me. It's always been that way.

(Okay, AnthologyBuilder, here's your cue)

Enter: AnthologyBuilder. An online archive of available short stories -- reprints from well established magazines such as Asimov's, Analog, Realms of Fantasy and others. To create your very own custom anthology, all a reader needs to do is

1) choose a custom title and cover design (there are a list of available templates)
2) select between 50 and 350 pages of fiction
3) purchase the final product (a 6X 9 trade paperback) for $14.95 - it will be printed and shipped to you within about 1 to 4 weeks.

Pretty nifty.

Nancy Fulda, creator of AnthologyBuilder, explains on her blog that there's been a lot of talk about the short story dying and that it needs to be saved as a literary form. But rather than debate the idea, she says if it is in danger, she'd rather look at what might be done to save or re-define the way it is accessed or read.

Nancy talks about "unpackaging it" from the original format. IE, you no longer need to get 10 stories you don't like along with the 4 or 5 that you love. Why not select the stories YOU want to read together to get optiumum pleasure based on YOUR reading interests rather than the interests of an editor you likely don't share exact interests with?

I love the idea. It's perfect for the "it's all about me" generation that now exists -- the "I want it now and I want it delivered MY way" attitude that persists in our society.

I have started submitting some of my previously published stories to AnthologyBuilder, and I'm quite satisfied with what it offers readers.

My story "Browsers" which originally appeared in Challenging Destiny #5 back in 1999, was reprinted in my story collection ONE HAND SCREAMING in 2004 and also reprinted in the beautiful deluxe smythe sewn black imitation letter limited edition of BOUND FOR EVIL: CURIOUS TALES OF BOOKS GONE BAD earlier this year.

"Browsers" is now also available at AnthologyBuilder.com. My profile is listed here.

I love giving readers the option to access my fiction in many difference ways.

I'm looking forward to getting more of my reprints onto AnthologyBuilder.

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