Monday, October 22, 2012

Anthologies for Charity: an Indie Writer's Perspective

My guest today is thriller author D.V. Berkom, introducing a collection of short stories to benefit Doctors without Borders.
Recently, I was invited to contribute a short story featuring Kate Jones, the main character from a popular thriller series I write, to an indie anthology for Halloween. Since it was for a worthy cause (Doctors without Borders) and because the mastermind behind the anthology was a mystery writer whom I respect immensely, I jumped at the chance. SERIAL SLEUTHS Vol. 1: Haunted went live on October 15th as an ebook, and 100% of all net proceeds go directly to DWOB. I'm beyond thrilled to be a part of this awesome collection.
Anthologies are a fantastic way to reach new readers. The four other authors who contributed to SERIAL SLEUTHS are all stellar mystery writers in their own right and have their own readership. Each writing style is different from the other: one story is set in nineteenth century Italy, another in contemporary Maine. One of the main characters is an enterprising actress, while another is a police chief from Tennessee. There are ghosts, aliens and murder, Navajo sorcerers and shape-shifters. Each story has a paranormal or horror element, coupled with some great wit to make an enjoyable read.
I'd never been involved in an anthology before, and was pleasantly surprised at how well it all came together. All of the participants are indie authors, and there was more than enough know-how to go around. Each writer's experience complimented the other, with skill in cover design, editing, formatting, promo and/or publicity. All it took were a few emails back and forth and a Skype session or two, and things were rolling.
It got me thinking: how much of a trend is this whole anthology-charitable-giving thing?  Writers, both traditional and indie, have contributed to anthologies forever. It's a great way to reach readers who may never have heard of you by joining forces with other authors who have their own audience, as well as build a community of like-minded folks. From my research on the subject, the advent of dedicating royalties to charity has become a serious trend in the indie community. Not only does it eliminate that pesky problem of how to divvy up the proceeds, but it's a fantastic way to help support deserving organizations. What's not to like?
Going even further, I found that websites plugged into this zeitgeist are cropping up everywhere: there's Humble ebook Bundle and, both of which allow the purchaser to set their own price and to decide whether their dollars go to a charity, the authors, or the site itself. They can select a portion to go to each if they choose.
There are also those organizations that work with a range of artists like Music Speaks. From their website: "Music Speaks is an alternative music label run by a network of artists and activists." The group represents artists from a variety of genres, including the written word, and supports issues of social justice, human rights and the environment. How cool is that? Just think of the possibilities!
In this season of politically partisan sound bites, I find it refreshing that authors are willing to donate their proceeds to deserving organizations. It means everybody wins. How often does that apply today?

The author of the bestselling Kate Jones Thriller Series, as well as a new series featuring retired assassin Leine Basso, DV Berkom is no stranger to reading and writing fast-paced, exciting stories. Having grown up on a steady diet of spy novels, James Bond movies and mysteries, DV's natural inclination is to keep the reader on the edge of their seats and guessing until the last page. DV grew up in the Midwest, received her BA in Political Science from the University of Minnesota and promptly moved to Mexico to live on a sailboat. Several years and at least a dozen moves later, she now lives outside of Seattle, Washington with her sweetheart Mark, an ex-chef-turned-contractor, and writes whenever she gets a chance.


Ellis Vidler said...

I bought it! The stories look interesting. A double bonus--a Kate Jones story from you, and I'm pleased to support Doctors without Borders.
Good for you and all the authors who contributed.

Polly Iyer said...

I bought it too. Sounds great, DV, and good that you all participated in such a worthy cause. My cousin's son did a year in Botswana in a similar program to DWOB. He loved it. Congrats to all.

DV Berkom said...

Thanks so much, Ellis and Polly. We authors and DWOB appreciate your support!