Comment naissent les plus grandes anthologies


Le site SF Signal a demandé à plusieurs anthologistes comment était née leur projet.

Voici la réponse de Mike Resnick :

A reprint anthology is a piece of cake. You sell the purchasing editor on the idea, then you buy the rights to the stories - there's only one agent in the field who'll ever give you a hard time, and most editors usually just avoid his clients - and you're done.

With an original anthology, it's pretty hard to sell without a theme. If you haven't edited a lot of anthologies, you have to collect maybe a dozen commitments from Names you can put on the cover. In my case, some 40+ anthologies into my career, no one has asked for specific names unless it's the rare big-budget anthology such as Stars, which I co-edited with Janis Ian, or the 6-novella anthologies I did for the Science Fiction Book Club.

I always make sure that I've held a few spots open for beginners - I may buy 20 or 25 stories, but they don't all have to be by name writers (always barring big-budget books), and since you don't really make any money editing these things, at least compared to what you can make writing, the least you can do is help some talented new writers get into print.

By this point I know all the established writers I'll be dealing with, which ones want suggestions and which resent it. I assign the stories with or without input as required, and then I wait for them to come in. Rarely do I have to do more than line-edit the established writers' stories, but if there are problems we discuss it and they do what's required. Simple as that.

One point I should address: my anthologies are always by invitation only. It doesn't prevent new writers from selling to me - I bought more first stories in the 1990s than the three digest magazines combined...but they came from new writers who I'd discovered at Clarion or other workshops, or online, or had been recommended by pros I trust. But the math requires an invite-only book. On a $7,500 advance, which was typical for years (and is actually high these days), if I'm to pay 6 cents a word, the absolute minimum required to get decent writers, and I'm to supply 100,000 words, usually the minimum required by the publisher, the editor's share is $1,500. But 1) someone always has diarrhea of the keyboard, and 2) I'm usually spitting what's left with Marty Greenberg or some other co-editor. So I might make $500 or $600 on an original anthology. For about 2 weeks' work. I can make the same money writing a story in one or two nights. So editing an anthology can be viewed as my charity work. But if I open it to submissions, I'll be flooded by 600 stories, most of them unreadable, and then it's not charity, or even philanthropy, it's insanity. And it doesn't help the writers either. If I buy 20 Alternate Obama or Wyatt Earp In Orbit stories, how many of the other 580 do you think will sell anywhere in the world?
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