When you’re a depressive, even one in remission, extreme highs in emotion–the kind that can result from a month that included both the holidays and a successful Kickstarter campaign–can result in extreme lows, too. So I apologize for the delay in posting this. My only excuse is that my disorder had me by the throat. Fortunately, copious amounts of chocolate, tea, pet snuggles, period dramas, and time with good friends are bringing me back up for air.
The Steampunk World Kickstarter was successful beyond my wildest dreams. We didn’t quite get to Volume 2, but we exploded the two stretch goals that were most important to me, netting ourselves a fancy custom cover by James Ng and interior illustrations for every story in the book. This is so much more than I could ever have hoped for. (Before you ask: don’t worry about Volume 2, that will probably happen anyway. But that’s a blog post for another day.)
Yes, I’m the editor of Steampunk World. Yes, I conceived the idea for the anthology, invited authors, chose stories, found a cover artist, and created the backer levels. I am still editing the stories but I’m nearly done. Yes, I did or am doing all of those things, and, as my friends point out, I should pat myself on the back for doing all that. I deserve a little credit, they remind me. I shouldn’t give it all away. Consider my back patted. Go me.
But no woman is an island. I could not have seen this project succeed without help from a lot of people. And I certainly would not have seen it leap from the tracks and go flying into the stratosphere without so many people feeding coal into the burners of this train metaphor that I’m starting to regret. At the risk of this blog post sounding like an award acceptance speech, I need to thank some people, and this seems like the best way to do it.
Thank you, Steven Saus, the man behind Alliteration Ink, who took a chance on a relatively unknown writer and completely untested editor. You may not realize this, but I pitched Steampunk World to Steve before Sidekicks!, so he agreed to it before he knew that I could follow through. That’s the kind of faith and trust that makes me all verklempt if I think about it too hard. I hope I’ve paid back that faith and trust and will continue to do so. Steve also ran the Kickstarter, for which I am eternally grateful, because I have no desire to be saddled with that responsibility.
Thank you, Jay Lake and SJ Chambers, for being the first two big-name authors to agree to submit stories for the anthology. I met these two fabulous writers at WorldCon in 2012. That convention changed my life, in no small part thanks to their kindness and willingness to take me seriously even though I was dressed like a weirdo and they’d never heard of me before. They gave me the courage to ask other big-name people to participate in the anthology. They lent credence to my belief that I had something special that might actually succeed. And, perhaps more importantly, they taught me that people will say yes, if you just ask. Always ask!
Thank you, James Ng and Diana Pho, for agreeing to supply the cover art and introduction, for mobilizing your scads of followers into backing the Kickstarter, and for being flexible and completely delightful in every way to work with. These two were my first choices for the art and the introduction, and emailing them both was incredibly intimidating. In the end, Diana and her fiancee proved instrumental in creating the Kickstarter video, and James agreed to do not just a custom cover, but all the interior illustrations as well. Basically, everyone has blown me away with their enthusiasm and generosity. Especially these two.
Thank you, to all the authors who submitted stories for the anthology, even those whose stories I rejected. Please keep writing. When I started writing again four years ago, I couldn’t have imagined the incredible places this path would take me. And I’m only at the beginning of my journey, really. Don’t be defeated by rejections. Keep going.
Thank you, to all the authors whose stories I did buy for the anthology. You are all so talented. Sometimes your stories leave me breathless with wonder, and it is such an honor to put them in a collection and present them to the world. I can’t wait until people get to read the anthology.
Thank you, to all my friends and writing colleagues who backed the project, tweeted, retweeted, posted, and talked about the anthology. It is because of you that we were fully funded within a couple of days and achieved two of our stretch goals. You were–and are–a part of this, as much a part as the editor and the publisher and the writers and the cover artist. What’s the point of putting together a collection like this without an audience? Thank you for being that audience. No–thank you for being more than an audience. Thank you for actively making this project succeed.
Finally, thank you, all of you, for being part of a project that celebrates humanity in all its variations. Thank you for giving me hope that maybe someday the world will follow suit. Thank you for showing me that there are people out there who want to read the kind of stories I want to write and curate. Thank you for teaching me that I should always ask. Today the world seems like a bigger, better, brighter place than it did just a few months ago.