22 Nov 2013
In 2012, an eclectic group of authors was gathered from all around the globe. Hand-picked from over 3,000 authors, the chosen writers hailed from Great Britain, Australia, Ireland, the United States and Germany.
“Why don’t we get together and write some science fiction short stories and put them in a book?” Sam Taylor had asked a large group of authors on Facebook one day in 2012. The response was less than electrifying, so Sam sent private messages to twelve other authors that he particularly admired. “I’m pretty sure they all thought Australians were mad, me in particular,” he laughs.
It took Sam five months to convince these twelve other authors to step into the spotlight and try their hands at something completely new. Discouraged by the apparent lack of interest, he nearly shelved the idea. He sent a Facebook invitation to John Gribbin, an established Quantum Physics author from Great Britain, to join the group, but the response was a polite “No.”
But then a few of the authors became curious and asked Sam why they had been asked to contribute, because they had not been published before. Sam’s response was to tell them that it was the sheer quality of their writing. He remarked to one of them, “You are in my opinion the top 0.003% of the authors I read, if that makes you feel any better.”
Sam was amazed when that did the trick. Word soon spread among the authors and they formed a Facebook group with Sam and started working on their stories. Sam has since discovered that one of the main things holding the other authors back from publishing was not the inability to write, but simply a lack of confidence in their authorship.
Suddenly, out of the blue, a short story from John Gribbin arrived. Sam says “I still don’t know what changed his mind, and I’m not game to ask!” Instead, he thanked John and John became part of what quickly became the “Perseus” group of authors. (Perseus is both the astronomical name for a
nearby arm of our galaxy, and the name of the Greek hero who slew the Minotaur and tamed Pegasus.)
It was quickly decided that publishing through Amazon and CreateSpace was the way to go. Sam says, “It became apparent to me that Amazon and CreateSpace offered much better royalties than traditional publishing. Also, that way the individual authors could retain their copyright over their stories, and we could share the proceeds of our writing. It was very much a gentlemen’s and ladies’ agreement.”
The group decided to trust Sam with the editing and proofing, rather than pay $3,000 through a traditional publishing house, and the project was rapidly taking shape.
“My only worry at that point was the cover. We had nothing at that stage and we really needed a good cover artist,” says Sam. “I put the word out but we were getting nowhere. Then one day I noticed someone on the author group was posting better and better images and asking for opinions.
I approached Patricia Burn and asked her if she could design us a cover for “Tales from the Perseus Arm” as the anthology had now been officially named.
I sent her a link to a statue of Perseus holding up the head of Medusa and asked her to put in a starry background. Patricia came up with the stunning artwork you see in the picture on this press release, and we were all quite frankly gobsmacked by the quality and impact of the image she came up with. She’s doing a lot more covers for SGA Publications now!
The publication process was completed in record time, and Sam says, “The feedback we are getting on the end result is amazing. Everyone loves the book, and the stories are varied and interesting. There’s something here for anyone, science fiction readers and the general public as well! The stories are about the challenges human begins will face out in space and ahead in the future, and how the human race will cope with that. There’s an incredible variety and amazing quality to the work. I’m really proud of what our authors and artist have done.”
Sam is delighted to say that Volume 2 is due out in June next year. John Gribbin has already sent in his completed story, and some new authors have joined the group.
“When I first started, I was scratching to find 12 other authors to work with. Now we have 23 terrific authors, including several who were published authors before doing Perseus. People are sending me submissions all the time, and I make the time to at least glance through them. You never know. Our existing authors have won awards. It’s a real buzz to be able to see these authors out there and know I had a part in giving them the push they needed to go professional.”
SGA Publications publishes Science Fiction, Romance and other fiction genres. They are dedicated to giving new and existing authors a fair deal and promoting good writing above all else.
Sam says, “John Gribbin summed it up when he got his copy of ‘Tales from the Perseus Arm’ and called it a ‘jolly good read.’ That’s what I want for our readers, to produce books that are a ‘jolly good read’!”
“Tales from the Perseus Arm” Volume 1 became available on 31 October 2013.
The link to buy your own copy is here:
©2013 Patricia Burn.