It’s been a dramatic week. It seems almost ironic now that I called my last post about Monolith was called Plot Twist! My disappointment over my own short story not making the cut is nothing compared to what I felt when I learned, on the 15th, that the anthology project’s future was in dispute.
I wish I could tell you the details of what happened, but I don’t know them all. Even the admins who left the group in the aftermath would agree that there was a lack of communication involved. I also promised to take full responsibility for Monolith’s failure, which is fair enough since it was my project. They were just helping to realise m dream after all, and I was the one who chose them to help me.
It doesn’t matter at the end of the day what others say about me or the project. I’ve learned a lot from the experience, which was one of the main reasons I began the Monolith project in the first place. If it was successful, it would have helped a lot of new authors that don’t feel comfortable with the self-promotion aspect to get their work out there and to receive a fair reward for their work. However, the initial trigger was far less altruistic.
I’d been working on Hermes925 for quite some time, and I was becoming increasingly distracted from actually writing it by the fact that at some point, I would need to publish it. I had very little idea how publishing actually worked, particularly self-publishing, and I didn’t want to risk Hermes925 by doing it badly. An anthology of short stories seemed the ideal solution.
Again, I’d never done anything like this before, but I was sure I could either figure it out as we went or get help from people that either had experience with similar projects or at least had some idea how we might be able to pull it off. What I did know how to do, with all the reading I been doing on social media marketing, combined with the soft skills I’d acquired during nearly 20 years of customer service and sales jobs, was how to get people excited about an idea.
I admit that I avoided proof-reading. I had set a high bar for the quality of work that we would accept. Since I have no experience in editing and proof-reading and hate editing my own work even, it made sense to delegate the task to those whose opinions I held in high regard. If I do anything this again, I need to check that the stories being flagged for acceptance actually clear the bar I’d set.
I doubted my ability to do a good job, not because I have poor self-esteem (I don’t), but because I’m self-aware enough to be aware that stories outside my preferred genre tend to bore me. If I rejected every story that didn’t hold my attention, the book would have contained nothing but fantasy, sci-fi and ghost stories! I wanted the book to have more diversity than that.
Because of my lack of oversight, some stories got accepted that didn’t reach the high standards I was hoping for, so I recruited a few more people to help us clean up the mess we’d made. There was one person in particular that dove right into organising and directing the project with such fervour that I felt like I could finally take a breather and refocus on the parts of running Creative Writers I was best at. Engaging with people.
Sadly, my stepping back and leaving them too it was misconstrued and led some of the team to believe I no longer cared about the project. At least, that’s what I’ve gathered. To a certain extent, they were right. The further along in the project we got, the more it seemed like another set of hurdles for new writers to jump, instead of being any real help. However, I still felt we could stand out from the other writing opportunities out there and provide people with a real shot of getting known and building a sustainable income.
Sadly, I didn’t get an opportunity to reassure them of this before I was asked to pull the plug on the Monolith project. I made a series of bad calls, including taking a back seat right when I should have been making sure that the plans being made fit with my original mission statement. Perhaps I could have controlled the outcome and kept the project on track.
On the other hand, perhaps this is for the best. Now that the Monolith project isn’t demanding my attention every day, I have more time to write. Theoretically at least! I still have the Creative Writers group to run, along with the associated blog, a story I’m proof-reading and another waiting for my attention when it’s finished, four works-in-progress that all want some of my time, this blog, the games and geekery blog (which I don’t think I’ll have time for anytime soon), and my night-porter job!
I’m choosing to see the demise of Monolith as a good thing. A burden lifted from my shoulders. I’m still disappointed that I couldn’t make it work, but who knows what the future may bring.