Thank you for your interest in Shifters United!
I’ve put together this questionnaire to get a better feel for everyone’s interests. While this project originally conceptualized as an ongoing series of anthologies under the “Shifters United” brand, I’m thinking we could do so much more with it. However if you’re just here for the anthologies, that’s cool too. Please fill out this form. Even if we go broader, we will not exclude anyone who was just interested in being a part of collective anthologies.
I’ve gotten a lot of questions about rights, etc. So allow me to try to answer those in the FAQ section at the bottom of this page.
If you know of someone who is interested, please have them fill out the google form here: https://goo.gl/forms/jIraf8ZE4wdmZiqK2
Without further ado…
I’ve made an attempt to answer the questions I’ve received, and some I’ve thought of that you might ask. If you don’t see your question here, then please reply to any email you’ve received from me (or use the contact form link above) and ask! As a veteran of this industry, I believe in as much transparency as possible.
Q. What is the goal of Shifters United?
The goal of the anthologies is exposure for all of us and to make a statement with the name. At the heart of Shifters United is a belief that there are a variety of shifters written in the urban fantasy/paranormal romance world, and that all of us shifter authors play well together. We’re united against the Shifter World trademark, and we’re united in our love of shifters.
The goal of any further projects as discussed in the survey would be to make some money.
Q. What rights will you take?
Right now, for the anthologies I am thinking of the following:
Previously Published Works – exclusive rights to publish for a year, then non-exclusive rights thereafter.
New Works – exclusive rights to publish for two years, then non-exclusive rights thereafter.
We would be publishing in both ebook and print. I would not be using audio book rights at this time.
It would be my hope that for the anthologies we wouldn’t have to split them up after the exclusive period. Not only could this possibly negatively affect other authors in the anthology, but create a book keeping nightmare. However, I am open to rights reversals.
Q. How far have you gotten with this project?
I am working on the legal arrangements and the contracts. I have hosting space and will be registering our url within the upcoming week.
Q. Will I be compensated?
YES! For the anthologies published in the first series (one new material, one previously released), the intent is to split royalties with 50% of the money split between the anthology authors, 10% retained to cover costs such as covers, editing, etc., and the remaining 40% held back to cover any legal fees (not that I anticipate any), and if there are none, then either split among the authors or donated to a wildlife/conservation charity (since most of our shifters are wild animals) based on the prevailing decision of the participating authors.
For additional anthologies, 75% of the royalties received will be split among the authors with the remainder retained to cover costs.
Q. Will you ever ask for money? How are you compensated?
At this time it is not my intention to ask for money with these initial projects. I don’t anticipate it morphing into more of a “buy in” project, but I also can’t speak at this time to the future depending on sales of the original anthologies among other factors. The company will be compensated through the percentage received from the sales.
Q. What is the timeline for your initial releases?
The initial release for the previously published material most likely would be late June/early July, with a late August/early September release for the new material, and then additional anthologies spaced out probably every four to five months or so.
Q. What is expected of me if I submit a story and publish it?
Be professional. Submit as clean a manuscript as possible. (See below for editing question.) Promote your work. Ideally I’d like to see a newsletter share at least once, and quite a few social media posts. If you can continue to promote, you’ll reap the benefits. Be a team player wherever possible. We’re all in this together, and the publishing pie is big enough for everyone.
Q. Is there any “gatekeeping”? Or will you publish anything?
Yes, there will be “gate keeping”. We won’t publish anything. I know some publishers do, and that is not something I want to do. That being said, we may not be an exclusive group of authors, but we’re a good group of authors.
Q. How about editing? What if I don’t have an editor/my editor doesn’t have time?
I am an editor. I am willing to edit, and in terms of the anthologies, I will donate my time for the first few as an editor. I do both developmental and copy/line edits, though I don’t work on unfinished manuscripts. I’ve been told I’m tough, but fair. I have a long history not just as a published author, but in science fiction/fantasy fandom, which gives me a deep well of knowledge from which to draw. And yes, if you need an editor for other projects, I’m for hire.
Q. How would this affect the “Shifter World” trademark?
Theoretically it shouldn’t. We’re not using the words “Shifter World” anywhere in our titling or our branding. I am thinking in the first two anthologies I may mention how the project came together in a “publisher’s note”, but we will not touch her trademark and we should not incur any legal consequences. It is not my attention to poke anyone in the eye, even if I personally do not agree with their actions.
Q. When you mention merchandise in the survey what are you talking about?
We have an opportunity to build a strong brand of Shifters United with our messaging. I would like to be cognoscente of these opportunities and possibly work with clothing, tote bags, as well as other items like coffee (I have a wholesale lead on excellent coffee.), soap and bath & body products (I make soap/bath & body products.), which could be used as prizes, purchased by authors for swag, or simply sold on the site. This has not been decided, and at this stage, I don’t wish to close the door on anything.
Q. When you talk about making the website a portal, what do you mean?
To offer blogging space for participating authors, promotional listings for new releases from participating authors, and make this a place to go for readers to learn more about the participating authors. Make it a destination. Not just a static “buy this anthology” website, though of course that would be a part of it.
Q. When you talk about a shared world, what do you mean?
If you haven’t written in a shared world yet (such as Kindle Worlds, which alas is now defunct), they are FUN. You create your own characters, can even flesh out of the world with new settings and locations, but the stories feature a central theme and often central characters. You own the content you create; Shifters United Productions LLC would own the central characters/setting. You can ask to use other authors’ contributions, but as a general rule you don’t maim or harm or otherwise permanently change other characters if you borrow them.