Twenty-six Stories, Twenty-six Weeks…
by Marty Halpern

Alien Contact was published on November 1, just a couple of months ago, but its history dates back to August 2008 when I first proposed this anthology to the publisher, Night Shade Books. You can read more about the anthology, including its genesis, on my blog, More Red Ink, on the dedicated “Alien Contact” page. Facebook users can also “Like” the Alien Contact Anthology fan page for the latest news, reviews, and giveaways.

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By April 2011, I had finalized the story order for my Alien Contact anthology. So I was ready to announce the contents list. Most anthologists accomplish this by simply posting a list of the stories. SF news sites pick it up, as do SF bloggers and tweeters, and that’s how readers learn of an anthology’s contents. But a list is, well, a list — and boring.

I had already invested more than two years in putting together this anthology, and I was determined to maintain that energy level until the book was published. So, after a bit of brainstorming, I decided to blog about each of the stories — one story each week, in their order of appearance — over the course of twenty-six weeks, concluding by the end of October, just in time for the book’s publication.

I contacted the authors and asked them to contribute a paragraph or two (or three) — some thoughts on their respective stories, whatever they felt like writing — which I would include in the blog posts. Seven authors even gave me permission to reprint the complete text of their stories online; five of these stories were reprinted on my own blog, while a sixth was posted on io9.com and a seventh on nightshadebooks.com.

Since all of the stories had been previously published, I was able to include a graphic image of the cover art for the original publication of each story. Writing about each story also allowed me to share my own perspective as to why I chose that story, and provide some background on the authors themselves (particularly those with whom I had previously worked). I enjoyed writing these blog posts, searching out the cover art, traveling back in time, so to speak, through my own past experiences as an editor, and it gave me yet one more opportunity to read each of these twenty-six stories. And to tell you the truth, I’ve probably read each of these stories at least a half-dozen times and I have yet to become tired of any one of them.

As I suggested in the anthology’s introduction (also available online), if the reader thinks of Alien Contact as a DVD, then these twenty-six weeks of blog posts serve as the DVD extras.

Though I will admit that after the first four or five weeks of this story blogging, I realized the enormity of the project: twenty-six weeks…one-half of a year! At least I didn’t have to come up with new blog post ideas for the next six months.

Marty Halpern is a two-time finalist for the World Fantasy Award–Professional for his work with Golden Gryphon Press. Marty now freelances as an acquiring editor, anthology editor, developmental editor, and proof reader and copy editor, working directly with authors to prepare their manuscripts for publication, and working with independent publishers such as Night Shade Books and Tachyon Publications, as well as Ace Books and others.
Blog “More Red Ink”: http://martyhalpern.blogspot.com
SF Editors wiki entry: http://sfeditorwatch.com/index.php/Marty_Halpern

Courtesy of Marty Halpern, I have a copy of Alien Contact for two (2) lucky winners!

For US residents only, one print copy of Alien Contact, signed and dated by editor Marty Halpern, and inscribed if the winner wishes. Book will ship directly to the winner via UPS, so no PO Boxes please.

For NON-US residents, an ebook edition of the anthology: the winner gets to choose either MOBI or EPUB format. (Note: there is a difference between the print and ebook editions: the Stephen King story is not included in the ebooks as the publisher doesn’t have the electronic rights to that story.)

To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends February 3. I’ll draw names on February 4, and notify winners via email.

Good luck!