A horror anthology might seem an odd expression of gratitude to some folks, but when Carl Hose wanted to give back to Ronald McDonald House, it was the first project to spring to the author’s mind. Hose benefited from the generosity of Ronald McDonald House firsthand this past January when his youngest child was born prematurely. (You can read more of his story here.) The experience inspired him to assemble a “dream team” of authors to produce DARK LIGHT, a horror anthology, and to donate the proceeds to the charity.
In this B&B interview, Hose shares his insights on putting together an anthology for a charitable cause.
B&B: I love the idea of publishing an anthology as a fundraiser for a charity. What special steps did you need to take to get the ball rolling?
HOSE: I contacted Ronald McDonald House Corporate to make sure it wasn’t an issue. They gave me the go ahead and told me I was welcome to send the money to Ronald McDonald Worldwide or support the local RMH that Marcee and I had a connection with. In the end, we chose to do both. The main part of putting this all together was bringing together so many authors.
B&B: I know you posted a call for submissions. What other methods did you use to contact authors, and what kind of response did you get?
HOSE: Besides a call for submissions on Darkmarkets.com, I actually wrote Facebook messages to all of the writers on Facebook who I would like to see in an anthology. I think it is a dream team of writers, or my dream team, anyway. I told each of the writers what was going on and what I wanted to do. The positive response was overwhelming. I began receiving stories right away. The book was as good as filled before we left RMH. I ended up with about 150 stories, 44 of which made it into the book.
B&B: Building an anthology is more than collecting stories from authors. In another interview, you mentioned volunteers who helped with different aspects of DARK LIGHT, like the cover design and book trailer. What other factors should a writer/editor keep in mind when planning an anthology for charity?
HOSE: There’s so much involved. Gathering stories, reading stories, editing, selecting what to keep and letting some writers know they weren’t being accepted. There’s putting the book together, formatting it for digital and print, and then proofing. Getting contracts signed, publishing—and that’s all before the actual marketing. I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve had lots of help. Too many people to mention. The writers themselves have all been willing to help with media stuff, interviews, etc. Marcee and her mom Pat Stuart read the manuscript after me, picking up on some stuff I missed. I put a request on Facebook for someone to create a trailer and Carl Porter, who did graphics for the movie Roulette, jumped right on board and created a great trailer. William Todd Rose, one of the authors in Dark Light, got Innovative Online Book Tours to donate a month-long blog tour for me. David Tocher, another of the authors, asked favors and helped get the HWA to post about Dark Light. He’s also working on a website. Bloggers such as yourself have helped make Dark Light visible. There’s no way I could have done this so effectively without everyone involved. I feel blessed.
B&B: How did you approach publishing this anthology?
HOSE: I knew I wanted Dark Light in as many formats as possible, so I set out to do digital versions for all e-readers as well as print. I started putting this book together in February, while we were still in the Ronald McDonald House, and it was released in June. That’s record time for a project of this size, but I knew I didn’t want it to be a project that took a year to get out. Thanks to all of the writers working with me so well, and all of the people who have graciously lent their assistance, I was able to accomplish this.
B&B: What is the most important piece of advice you wish someone had given you before you tackled this project?
HOSE: There is no advice I wish I’d had. I think advice would have killed the process. It was fun. A few people thought I was out of my mind for contacting some of the writers I did and soliciting stories for the anthology. John Shirley, who wrote the Crow screenplay, is one of the writers in the book. He’s outspoken and probably intimidating to some people, but if I hadn’t approached him, I wouldn’t have his story “Triggering,” which was once under consideration by the producer of the Crow. John was happy to help out. Same goes for all the writers. Had I listened to people who said you can’t just contact writers out of the blue and ask for a contribution to a charity anthology, I probably wouldn’t be talking to you now. If I followed traditional advice, this anthology would still be in the editing stages, but I had three sets of eyes on the stories and the writers approved the changes, so I was able to do it quickly. Any mistakes that might have slipped through will be minor. I wanted a perfect book, but it seems like something always manages to get through.
DARK LIGHT features stories by horror legend Graham Masterton, Bram Stoker winner Joe McKinney, John Shirley, author of the “Crow” screenplay, Ray Garton, Wrath James White, William Todd Rose, Scott Nicholson, Tim Lebbon, Deborah LeBlanc, Tim Curran, Nancy Kilpatrick, Stephen Graham Jones, Angeline Hawkes, Christopher Fulbright, Jeffrey Thomas, Lisa Morton, and many more. All proceeds from DARK LIGHT go to Ronald McDonald House. You can purchase a copy at https://www.createspace.com/3910831 (RMH receives more money from purchases through createspace than through Amazon). Or you can get a copy through Amazon.com
Carl Hose is the author/editor of multiple anthologies and short stories. You can learn more about him by following him on Facebook or visiting his website: www.carlhose.net. His daughter Ireland, the inspiration behind Dark Light, is thriving.