Wouldn’t be right, having a Kaijune with no giant iguanas.
I have two more collaborations to publish. Then I hope to end this series of collabs. If you’ve already received the initial email from me and have started planning or writing a story for submission, let me know ASAP. My open offer to everyone for future collaborations may return. But I’m going to need a break from them.
Each collaboration takes 2-10 times longer to publish than my own daily stories. That’s OK when it’s only one story a week. But then add onto that the staggering amount of time wasters you get.
A lot of folks noticed I was taking submissions but didn’t read the blog post or initial email. For every one post that gets published, I sift through five random, unusable submissions. From Mills & Boon style romance too entire chapters of books. Nevermind the grammatical and spelling messes I’ve turned away. I don’t mind doing some correction. I also don’t mind letting some mistakes stay in their stories. I’m certainly not a perfectionist with spelling and grammar. But when there are ten mistakes in a 512 character long story? Be polite, use a spell checker before submitting a story, you know?
I would like to return to the collaborations. I enjoy working with other writers to create great stories. I get to see my characters in a new light. It’s great seeing folks riffing off the tropes I use daily. Collaborating is also a great learning experience. But right now, I need a break from them.
Some further lessons, thoughts and misc wotsits on the Little Fears Sunday collabs. It’s a long, but maybe an educational post for any bloggers wanting to collaborate with each other. Some links to start with, for reference.
Straight up, I screwed this up so badly. On the initial posting, I had over 100 people email me. I reckon about 20 will follow through, but I got lost in the first barrages of emails. I know of at least three people that I’ve left hanging that I need to speak too. Liz, I was meant to send a story. Anonyole and Willow I was meant to send an image for approval. One of them has been waiting for two weeks. I just keep forgetting to do it because my I took on too much. I tried noting names on pen and paper. That only worked for so long.
This was confounded because I initially said, hit me up on social media or email. So I had messages coming from every direction. It wasn’t like I could just search my emails because I had DMs everywhere. Doh!
I’ve come to the conclusion I should use a spreadsheet. Four columns, name, email, website and collab progress. I can’t do that on previous collab contacts because then I’m collecting data. To do that I’d have to include a GDPR notice in the initial email stating what data I’m collecting, what I will do with it and how will I protect it. That’s something I’ll definitely do going forward.
Usernames, pen names and real names
My focus on always referring to peoples pen names has confused a few folks. It’s another thing I need to add to the initial email.
People post under pen names for a variety of reasons. The embarrassment that they write fan-fics. Not wanting family or friends to see their art. Hiding from a nutty ex-partner. Or sometimes, they just want to be identified as someone else. An imaginary online-persona. All valid reasons to respect someone’s username.
Privacy is darn near non-existent, online and real life, nowadays. What little control we have over privacy we should try to respect.
So if someone leaves comments on my website under the username AlphaDog345 but emails me under the name Robert, I’ll do my best to refer to them as AlphaDog345 unless corrected.
I was asked by Nobbin how we could synchronize posts and link to each other’s stories ahead of time. Well, in WordPress Gutenberg, when you make a post you get a little link icon next to the post name. Click on that, and you can copy the URL of scheduled posts.
I’ve explained why I’m sticking with WordPress Gutenberg before, despite my straight up hate for it. But one issue that’s been noticed is that I can’t schedule videos that haven’t been published on YouTube already without resorting to classic blocks. There is no workaround in current Gutenberg because it’s crap. So I end up with classic blocks in my HTML or I leave it until 9 am, then post everything.
This has meant, when one collaborator copy pasted my entire post it came out janky as heck on their own site. It’s also meant most of my posts are never bang on 9 am.
I think in future I’ll change my initial email to read “around 9 am,” unless someone wants to sync posts. Then I’ll pre-post the video so the URL is usable in WordPress.
Oh man, haha. Yeah. We had a laugh there. I’m flexible on the 512 character limit. I just didn’t want people writing essay-length stories. Not only would they not fit or work on the Little Fears, but I want the collaborations to be fast and fun. Not tireless hours of work.
This was taken to an extreme by an ex-subscriber, who sent me a chapter of a book he claimed was a short story. Some back and forth and he ended up saying he was trialling me to narrate his entire novel. For free. In the spirit of collaboration.
Got a bit pissy when I said I’d have to charge for that amount of work. Anyone who’s ever done audio work will tell you, it takes a staggering amount of time to record, edit, re-record and check through even short stories. A novel would take me a full working week. At least!
I find a lot of folks are up collaborations when asked. But try to be respectful of others time, aye?
Already published stories
I was asked by Ederren on the briefs post if I’d do stories that were already published. Eventually, yes. I’d love to narrate some of the funny stories and creepypastas I’ve read. Especially if they fit well.
Right now though, I’m getting my feet with collaborations. As you can see from this post, I still have refining to do. The initial email explosions died down now, but I got a lot of people submitting any old random story. Out of 40 stories sent to me without an email convo/brief first, maybe 5 worked for the Fears.
Taking submissions for pre-written poetry and fiction is something I need to work into the initial email. It all comes down being specific from the start. Otherwise, writers sending submissions and I are just wasting each others time.
So, pre-written stories. In the future, yes, but not yet.
As you can see, I’m still refining my process. If you’re interested in collaborating with me, drop me an email to Peter at email@example.com
Want to support me in some way?
In the mean tie, if you love what I do, and fancy supporting me in some way, you can buy me a cuppa on Ko-Fi. Nobble one of my tees on Threadless. Buy one of my books on Amazon. Grab an original art or a print on my Etsy. Or, hit me up on Patreon for as little as $1 a month.
I know some of you are waiting on images and audio. I got most of it done yesterday and I’ll be spamming out emails to everyone later today.
Second thingy. I mentioned about a month ago Brexit had finally taken its toll on the companies I’d been getting regular work from. I’ve helped two of them close this last week. Distributing the websites, social media accounts, hosting and all promotional media too other companies buying up the broken-up brands. I’ll be helping to dismantle the company I worked at for 17 years later in the year too. Boy howdy, do I hate Brexit and both major political parties in the UK, right now.
The upshot is I’ll have a lot of time on my hands and work to replace. If anyone needs to hire an artist/designer/writer/vocal bloke for anything, from blog logo design too growling the audio for a YouTube video, poke me. Happy to work for individuals, brands, companies and packs of mutton-chop wearing rockabilly lobsters.
The one thing I’ve refined is the brief. I feel getting everyone on the same page is insanely important at the start. I always worry it sounds super serious, but most people comment on how helpful the first email is. Awesome.
Set out your goals together. Outline what you want from the person/people involved. If you need to set deadlines at the beginning, do so in the brief. Ensure everyone knows of any word counts, genres, post types, social media sharing requirements and required image sizes are laid out from the start.
Someone once asked me to collaborate with them giving almost no guidance. “Draw me an image showing *XYZ*,” he asked. So I did. Took me 30 minutes, scanned it, sent it over. He replied, “not enough colour.”
God damn. Could you not have told me that before I spent 30 minutes drawing something for you? Suffice to say, I walked away from that one.
The flip side of this. If you send someone a specific set of instructions and they ignore them, send you completely unwanted content or repeatedly ask you questions answered in the brief, you know that collaboration will be more trouble than it’s worth.
I’m still taking names for collaborations, but that’s not the aim of this post. If you want to collaborate with me, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org BEFORE you write anything. I don’t mean that to sound rude or mean, but, well… You know…
The aim of this post is meant to be informative and a sharing of a process. With that, I thought I’d share my current brief for the Sunday collaborations. This goes out in an email to everyone who’s interested in collaborating with me. It changes over time. People ask questions on all sorts of things and I adapt my initial email to include all answers I can.
Feel free to copy/cut/paste/tear apart/rehash for use anywhere for yourself. I figure it’s helpful to see how people run collaborations.
(Something personal to each collaborator goes in this space, and then…)
I’m trying to break up my constant telling of my own tales by bringing in a Sunday collab in which readers submit their own fearful tales. I love what I do, I just want to mix it up a bit. As for yourself, I’m hoping this will be a fun jaunt into the Fears world for yourself and give you a bit of exposure (urgh, the E word!).
I’d love for you to write a story up to 512 characters long. I’ll draw the panel and make a video for the story. I post it to the LittleFears.co.uk and share it across all my social media. I’ll include links to your blog or social media of your choosing in every post.
There’s no specific genre I would like. Humor, kooky, philosophical and horror all fit. Whether it has a punchline or not, if you could imagine it being an episode of the Twilight Zone, Outer Limits or Black Mirror, then your spot on.
The length should be under 512 characters. It’s not an arbitrary limit. But I’m hoping this can be fast and fun for both of us. No 12 page essays are required.
You’re more than welcome to use my characters or make up your own. The only characters that I do not want a story written for are Copper and Iron because they’re part of an ongoing story.
Once it’s written, get it over to me via email, social media direct message or however else you fancy.
The Image & Video
I’ll then draw up a panel for the story and email it to you. If you’re happy with it, I’ll make a video. I’ll email you the audio along with social media specific panels (such as a Pinterest long image). If everything is good with you, we’ll get onto posting.
The Scheduling & Post
When all the contents made and agreed we can decide what Sunday we want to post it. If you want to post the story, image and video on your blog too, we can schedule a specific time and synchronize the posting with links to each other’s posts.
In the post, I’ll include a link to your blog/social media of choice. When the story is posted, I’ll share it across all of my social media with links to you in everyone. My total audience is about 80k followers and subscribers, so I’ll hope you get a bit of exposure from it (urgh, the E word again!).
If you would like to include a link to my site or share the post across your platforms, that’d be awesome, but certainly not required.
The Next Bit
If you’re up for this, please do let me know and start writing a story. Again, any questions, queries or anything else, please do drop me a line and a query.
Phew, right. I hope ya’ll learned something. Hey, if you did learn something super helpful, you can buy me a cuppa tea on my Ko-Fi page. The Little Fears are fueled by tea, and without it, we can’t survive.
I’m hoping you’ve all noticed I’ve had a guest/collaboration every Sunday for the last month. It’s something I’d like to continue. It’s an enjoyable break from my own work for me and folks seem to like hearing readings and seeing doodles of their own stories.
We love horror, humour and weird stuff. Think of Christopher Lee and Lucille Ball having a child. In a haunted house. In the Twilight Zone. With a laugh track stuck on ‘groan’.
I always give full credit and link backs to anyone who does a story for me. I also send a pile of artwork/audio/social media friendly things back to whoever writes us a post. If you’re interested in writing a story for the Fears, leave me a comment below or drop me an email to email@example.com and I can get the specifics of what’s needed over to you.
For this week’s Colour Collective on Twatter. I don’t even know what that name is. I was typing something and deleted it four times, and Edo remained on the screen. So that’s her name.
Man is that a lotta squiggles! Drawn with me Pitt Artist Pens for Inktober, Clouds is now available in my Threadless store for $12. There’s currently an offer for free shipping on orders over $45, handy for a few early Christmas presents! Use the promotional code CHEER7cca8e at checkout. Offer ends December 15th.
Did you see my post the other day about collaborations? I’m going to be looking to do another partnership involving Lucy. I’m gonna be honest. I can’t remember who’s invited me to collaborate in the past. I get 3-5 offers a week across all my media platforms and emails. Across almost a year of Little Fears, I have completely forgotten who’s asked me. I’m going to start bookkeeping better in that respect as I’d like to run more collaborations in the future. Do you fancy a quick collab as I had with Layne, Mel and Anthony? Leave a comment or drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll put you on the list.
Have you noticed my weekly update posts have had links to my new patrons? Well, not for the last couple weeks… Do you want a shout out at the bottom of my weekly update posts? Head on over to Patreon and pledge $10 or more a month and not only will you help with Hydra’s feed bill, but you will also get that weekly shout out with a link back to your site. Hit me up on Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/littlefears