This last Wednesday night, my husband and I took our kids down to the Festival of Trees. For those of you who may not know what that is, it's a fundraiser held yearly for the Primary Children's Hospital, the premiere children's hospital in the area that donates a lot of services to families who can't afford them. People donate lavishly decorated trees to this event, and people can come in and purchase them. Every single penny gathered goes straight to the hospital. They've also got a fudge shop, a candy store, a gift shop - it's awesome.
My kids had never been, and seeing as how we now live so close to the venue, we decided to head down. It was just as magical as ever. Many of the trees were donated in memory of someone who had passed on, and pictures of that person were on display with the tree. We saw many decorated in the "Frozen" theme, and of course there were superheros and Snoopy and the Grinch and all kinds of elegant trees as well.
When we ducked into the gift shop, I was touched by the hundreds of hours that went into making the items sold in there. Quilts, scarves, receiving blankets, all donated. The spirit of generosity was overwhelming, and I wanted to participate. But I don't sew. What could I do?
I can write.
Ah ... I can write.
I popped an e-mail that very night to the lady who organizes the gift store and presented my idea. She loved it, so we're full speed ahead. Wanna hear it? Wanna? Wanna?
I'm going to put together a collection of Christmas stories and publish it to be sold in the Festival of Trees gift shop.
And I'm going to need your help.
I need authors who will write the stories, and I need donated funds to purchase the copies of the books to go in the gift shop. None of this will be reimbursed--this is a donation, not an investment. I'll do all the editing, and I'll find someone who will donate the cover and the formatting.
Here's the timeline and what I'm looking for:
June 1st, 2015: All short stories to be submitted to Tristi. This gives you half a year to dust off old stories, write new ones, or obtain permission to reprint Christmas stories you have written that may have appeared in other anthologies. You will hear back by June 15th if your story has been accepted.
I'm looking for Christmas stories with an uplifting feel to them. Many of the people who support the Festival of Trees have children currently in the hospital or have recently lost one, so we want the feel of the book to be comforting and joyous. No stories over three thousand words. Christmas poetry is more than welcome. Family friendly, of course.
July 2015: I'll be editing these stories and sending them to you for revisions/corrections.
November 2015: The files will be uploaded and the books printed and shipped to Primary Children's Hospital for the Festival.
If you are an author and would like to donate a story to this anthology, I will also ask for at least a $20 donation. That will purchase roughly four books to be resold at the gift shop. If you are able to afford more, that would be fantastic.
If you aren't interested in donating a story but would like to donate money to help us purchase the copies, that would be fantastic as well. Any amount is appreciated, but again, keep in mind that each book will cost around $4 to print (the store will be able to sell them for $10.00).
If I get several interested authors, I'll do several different volumes so people can buy individual books or complete sets. That would be fun.
I'm not asking for any stories or any money at this time. What I do need, though, is to create a list of those who are interested in participating so I know how feasible this is. Please send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me if you'd like to donate a story, if you'd like to donate money, and roughly how much money you'd like to donate. Of course, I'll be collecting both for months to come, but getting this kicked off now will tell me what to plan for.
You will get a contract clearly stating the terms for your story or money - that it's a donation, non-profit, and that I will not be pocketing anything that is brought in. In addition, you would have the chance to purchase copies at a discount to give to family and friends, with all proceeds going to the hospital.
Again, the stories are needed by June 1st. The money would be needed by November 1st.
Okay!! Let the e-mails start pouring in!! Let's publish several volumes, with gobs of stories, several copies of each - what they don't sell this year, they can sell next. Books never go rancid!!
Thanks to all of you for your generosity. We can make this something amazing if we all work together.