Today I have the pleasure to share with you something really interesting. Editor and writer Mike O’Mary has come up with an idea for writers that I think will go far, and I interviewed him via e-mail so that I can share his ideas with Freelance-Zone readers here today. Let me know what you think, and be sure to sign up for more information at Dream Of Things.
FZ: Tell me a little about your background as a writer/editor.
Mike: I like writing essays, and I’ve also written fiction, drama and sketch comedy. The highlights are the essays I’ve published in various Sunday magazines, and writing and producing sketch comedy in Chicago. As for editing, I’ve edited several books, and I’ve written and edited lots of speeches and annual reports. So I’m a pretty good editor, but to me, writing is more fun.
FZ: What is Dream of Things?
Mike: Dream of Things is a book publisher and producer of videos and whatever else we decide to produce. It’s also an online community where writers and other artists can come together to 1) suggest ideas for books we’d like to see, and 2) write or contribute to books built around themes/ideas that spark our interest. Dream of Things will publish the books, and writers and other contributors will share in the royalties.
FZ: How did you come up with the idea for this?
Mike: I have always enjoyed working with creative people…writing workshops…working with actors, directors and musicians on theater productions…working with photographers, illustrators, graphic designers and video producers on other projects. I am very fortunate to have a lot of very creative people as friends, and I wanted to find ways for us to work together more often. I also hope to make a lot of new friends and to work with many of them…
FZ: What types of books are you looking at doing?
Mike: Initially, I plan to publish collections of essays built around a central theme. Wise Men and Other Stories is an example. I have several other ideas for themes, but the sky is the limit here. We can put together a book around any theme we choose, and I know there are lots of good ideas for books out there.
In addition, when we come across a particularly strong story or theme, we may expand on it, include photography or illustration, and produce it as a standalone book. The Note is an example of a single essay that served as the cornerstone for an entire book about appreciation.
FZ: Have you decided on any projects yet?
Mike: I posted a couple of ideas for collections on dreamofthings.com to get started, and I will be posting more soon. One of the books I’d like to publish is a collection of essays about forgiveness. I’m hoping people will share stories about the importance of forgiveness and how they found it in themselves to forgive a person or an act that was difficult to forgive. I think we would hear some very inspiring stories. I have a lot of other ideas, and I’m hoping writers, editors and other artists will suggest ideas for books they’d like to see.
FZ: What opportunities are there for writers who may be interested in working with you?
Mike: There are going to be lots of opportunities. You can contribute to a collection, or write a book yourself. I’m also going to need an editor and/or lead writer for each collection. You can contribute to a book based on one of my ideas, or you can suggest a book based on an idea that you have. We’ll put the word out about each project and ask for submissions. When we have a book we’re happy with, Dream of Things will publish it. If you find the process rewarding, we’ll do it again.
FZ: Will writers be paid for their contributions?
Mike: Contributing writers and editors (and photographers and illustrators and whoever else is involved in a project) will get a share of the royalties. There may not be a lot of money to begin with, but I plan to publish 15-20 books a year, and if you get published, you will get a royalty check.
FZ: Do writers need to have experience, or will you work with new writers too?
Mike: I still consider myself to be a “new” writer, so yes, I will work with new writers. The stories are the main thing, and everybody has a good story. If you have a good story and can write it, great. If you have a good story but you’re a better photographer or musician or cook or bricklayer than you are writer, I’ll find a writer to work with you. Maybe even a new (or “gently used”) one.
FZ: What is the best way to stay in the loop as to what is happening with Dream of Things?
Mike: There’s a Dream of Things Page on Facebook, so watch the posts and discussion boards there. I’m going to add a “Workshop” section to the dreamofthings.com site, which will include a blog and information on all of our projects and contests. And you can subscribe to the e-newsletter.
FZ: Why should a writer come to you instead of a bigger publisher?
Mike: I’ll be candid: If someone comes to me with a great idea for a book and they might be better served by a bigger, more traditional publisher, I’ll encourage them to go for it. But I’ll be here as an alternative if that doesn’t work out. One difference between Dream of Things and a big publisher is that I am not going to be able to fill the pipeline to get books into big chains like Borders and Barnes and Noble. At least not initially. But books published by Dream of Things will be available on amazon.com, dreamofthings.com, and a few indie booksellers. Contributors can also sell books on their Websites. And down the road, I’ll see about a deal with a distributor to get into the big chains.
FZ: Can you give writers an idea of what you aren’t looking for?
Mike: As one who writes fiction, I hate to say it, but initially, I am not going to be looking for fiction. However, I could see expanding to publish fiction in the not-too-distant future.
FZ: Is there anything else you can tell us about this endeavor?
Mike: Along with publishing books, Dream of Things will produce videos based on some of the essays. We may also do audio productions and short films, and if I can find a way, I’ll tie in theater productions. This should be fun!