Project 42 Stories Anthology Q&A

In July, I launched P42 Stories Anthology. It’s 42 chapters with different genres comprised of 42 42-word short stories from around the world including alien, prose, zombie pieces and more. Go to the link to see the full list and like the Facebook page and Instagram.

Publishing a book with 1,764 authors and their stories is not an easy task. Yet, I’m capable of making this project happen. Some questions have come along in the past month from many different people. I’d like to address some here for those curious.

Q: I don’t really write. Just read. Sometimes I dabble. Can I submit a story?

A: Yes. Anyone can. It has to be a 42-word piece and fit into one of the categories listed on the site. I ask everyone who passes the initial first read to make their story’s title 42-characters long, but it’s not required. However, it’s highly recommended.

Q: Is there a deadline?

A: I’d like to have enough submissions by December 2019. Yet, this project requires a lot of submissions to work. So we’re saying until filled for now.

Q: How do you know you can publish a book with 1,764 writers?

A: We can’t predict the future. I have helped dozens of people get published throughout my writing career and have several years of experience editing, proofreading, and managing. My main job in the project is to stay positive and compile everything together.

Q: How many submissions can I send? Do they have to be separate emails?

A: Four max. It will help everyone in the process if you send one submission per email. However, sending all four in one email will not get the writer a rejection. Try to send submissions one-by-one.

Q: Do you have staff?

A: Yes. There are 10 editors, 7 beta readers (voters), promoters (need more), artists (still hiring), and advisors. If you’re curious about becoming staff, email me here.

Q: That’s a lot of people on one project. I’ve read anthologies that were 400,000 words and those had only two editors. Your book is under 80,000 words. How can this possibly work?

A: 400,000 words? Well, the key is to stay positive. It’s fine to point out holes in a ship. When you poke them yourself, it’s a different story. Although your example of a larger anthology is great, the stories didn’t change on every page. This can be overwhelming to one or two people. That’s why two categories are assigned to each staff member rather than several.

Each editor and beta reader works on a few chapters.

There are many reasons I’ve done it this way. I’ll share a few:
 Little stress on the editor and beta reader. To keep up with the theme of the book.

Q: You have no way of conforming to one style or a consistent collection with so many editing and writing styles in one book. Does staff at least work in the same place?

A: One this book is unique and will be a different story on every page. I don’t think the reader will expect or want conformity here, and is going to realize a new author wrote every page. However, non-consistent doesn’t mean the book won’t be organized. That’s why we have staff assigned to certain tasks and guidelines of style that will be laid out before anyone works on anything. And yes, they work together in an online group. We also communicate through email. A team of three works together on each chapter. I’m one of the three, and will do my best to meet the readers’ needs.

Q: What are the tasks of these staff members?

A: One editor, beta reader, and I vote on stories in a genre that make it into the anthology. Next, the beta reader assigned to the chapter (category) reads the 42 42-word stories (1,764 words selected), and votes if the piece is chosen of not. The editor would suggest changes after a piece is selected. One editor of the 10 will polish the book to make sure everything is clean.

Q: Is this a paying job?

A: Right now I can only offer staff members name recognition. However, I can afford to pay the artist and final editor of the project. If possible, everyone will get paid. I will not tell someone something I can’t guarantee so there are no promises of income.

Q: If the editors don’t get paid, they are just beta readers.

A: Not true. I’ve never heard logic like this before. Let’s address it though. You’re saying volunteer doctors who go to poor countries and help sick children aren’t real doctors because they do the work just to help people and don’t care about monetary gain. And by the way, a first draft editor is a job. The editor assigned to the task will be listed as the editor of the categories they worked hard on. Yes, someone else will read the whole book one more time. That doesn’t mean the editor on the category was a beta reader. One more bit: this project is to also help editors and beta readers gain more exposure to different writers in the world and have name recognition. Some of the editors are either new or want to broaden their horizons. Some simply love helping people and they get to be part of a book that not only publishes 1,764 stories, but several hundred first time writers.

Q: How many editors and beta readers are on P42 Stories so far?

A: We have 10 editors assigned to categories and 7 beta readers assigned. The project was only launched a month ago and more people are coming forward. We need more artists and promoters.

Q: You need a lot of submissions. Do you have a backup plan in case you can’t gain enough stories?

A: Yes. Writers are encouraged to submit up to four stories. However, only one submission is chosen at first. Their other stories are in the maybe section. And in this case, we would have to have a special group vote between the genres the author submitted to, to decide which of their stories are selected first.

Q: Is your book of flash fiction? I don’t understand.

A: 100-word stories are defined as drabbles. I suppose a 42-word story should have a definition too. Perhaps we’ll make one for the anthology. You can think of the chapters as flash fiction pieces too. The stories in each category are in the same genre and the total size is the same as a flash fiction story. The difference: each page is written by a new author and the story transforms every 42 words into something interesting and cool to keep the reader on their toes.

Q: Curious why it’s 42. I always associate Jackie Robinson with that number.

A: It’s a long story, but I’m happy to share why. Short answer: As a kid I was a die-hard fan of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The answer is 42 as you probably know. Then I moved to Japan where 42 is considered the unluckiest number in the universe. Inspired to set the record straight that 42 is not an unlucky number, and instead THE answer to the universe, I launched an anthology that would publish 1,764 lucky authors on the premise of 42. Thanks for asking. Btw, one of the writers for the P42 Stories wrote a piece about Jackie Robinson. It’s really good and got my yes vote.

Q: How many submissions have you received since the launch last month?

A: Over 200. One or two come in a day.

To readers: Please spread the word about the anthology and submit a story.