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June 11th, 2008

Chancy charities

Over at HWA's forum, one big topic of discussion recently has been charity anthologies. Y'know, these are books that solicit stories from authors with the ultimate goal of creating a book that will generate money for a given charity.

Myself, I stayed out of this discussion because I like the idea of helping out a worthy cause, and I have no problem with granting reprint rights to something that I've already made money from. Hey, I know my name's no big deal, but heck - if I tell three people to go buy the book, that's a few more extra dollars for the beneficiary, right? But a lot of HWA's hardline pros have argued against ever giving work to a charity antho, even a reprint.

Okay, so I just got copies of two charity anthologies I gave work to. One, Jack Haringa Must Die!, is extremely well designed and very entertaining; my entry is an honest-to-goodness post that first appeared in this blog. The book benefits the new Shirley Jackson Awards, and I hope they make some extra dough from it. Here's a handy-dandy link for ordering: Jack Haringa Must Die!.

The other one is called Help, and benefits the Preditors & Editors website. I like these guys; I've used them to check on agents, and they've never steered me wrong. Now they're being sued by a couple of shady creepazoids they called out. I wanted to help, so I gave the Help anthology a reprint of a story that I published back in 1999 (it was originally in the Steve Jones anthology White of the Moon).

Now, I don't want to steer people away from Preditors & Editors; please, by all means, go to their website and donate to their legal defense fund. But y'know what? Don't buy this book. It's really embarrassing. Forget the layout that looks as if it was done in a 7-point font in Notepad, forget the cover art that looks like it was blown up from a 100-pixel square piece of art...I could have forgotten that if they hadn't completely screwed up my story "Ego-Alien". All I know is I sent them a Word file with proper formatting in place, and what I see in the book has none of my italics and none of my section breaks; this story was dependent on that formatting, and now it's just been rendered into a huge mass of gibberish.

So, here's my offer: I've created a PDF of "Ego-Alien", one that is properly formatted. If you've purchased Help, please DO NOT read "Ego-Alien" as it is presented in the book. Instead, please click here to download the PDF. If you haven't purchased the Help anthology, please feel free to read "Ego-Alien", and perhaps afterward you'll consider donating a few bucks to Preditors & Editors. Thank you.

And beware who you give reprints to in the future. Sometimes it pays to listen to the old guys at HWA.