0) A Sunny Prologue
This was the weather the day our second anthology, the Pocket Universe #2: “momentum.” first went into (test-)print.
It was the perfect sky we’d hoped to see at the end of this long road of planning, selecting, editing, formatting and printing that had stretched over the course of almost a year.
If you’re curious about how our books are born, come and join us as we stroll down memory lane! But first, here’s the photo-shoot of that bright and beautiful day at Volksgarten:
She’s a natural. Our cover artist, Julia Weinzierl, loved the pictures; we had a ball; the tourists were befuddled – it was a win all around.
There are many steps on the way to publishing a book, which is why we started our journey all the way back in October 2018. We’d learned a lot from the year before and, how do they say in business?, “implemented those impulses” as soon as possible.
That is to say that we properly translated our contracts into English, so native speakers knew what they were signing. We set up online submission forms to avoid an endless back-and-forth of “Oh, actually, do you want us to publish your pseudonym/ social media contacts/ your text in a certain format/etc.?” And we collaborated with an actual artist (Marie-Therese Pekny) on our Call-for-Submission posters. All of these choices paid off a hundred times over and we’re still really fond of the little astronaut pal on the submission posters.
Below, you can see me, Marie-Therese Sauer, and the fantastic Livia Regen do what Presidents and Vice-Presidents do best: vigilante poster operations!
Our Social Media Officer, Amadea Brenner, set up a gigantic Excel sheet that contained all the info on all our submissions we needed and we got to reading with a red pen in our hands. In the meantime, our Treasurer, Selina Rebhandl, also tried to contact various literature-related companies to see if they might be interested in sponsoring us – unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Fortunately, we could rely on the STV Anglistik instead which had safely stored away a part of their budget, so that the ÖH could sponsor us like last year!
After a lot of deliberation and concentration and fascination, we then met again to discuss our opinions on who should make it into the anthology. Not everybody could make it in person, however, so even though you only see four people in the picture below, six are present – because they were phoned in to share their thoughts.
Amadea (to the right) then got back to everybody involved and our editing process began. We were a bit overly ambitious this year and tried to involve as many people from the Committee as possible – turns out that there is a magic turning point at which the logistics needed to coordinate multiple people begin to outweigh the benefits of getting more input. You learn something new every day! Everybody tried their hardest, though, and we ultimately figured out a way to split the work.
This was also when we chose the anthology’s illustrations and cover. Ever-patient Julia Weinzierl stuck with us as we simply could not decide on which way the title should tilt and sent us as many proposals as we needed to decide on our favourite.
Once we got the “okay” from every author and artist, I set about putting the anthology together in InDesign. Cristina Bartos, who had acted as our publishing house “Sloth Reading” last year, gave us a crash course in InDesign and imparted invaluable advice over a chai latte.
The editing process went smoothly – looking back, perhaps a little smoothly – until the programme crashed, pages were spread out haphazardly where they were not supposed to be and it all went up in flames (that last bit is metaphorical, mind you). Either way, this left me with a very short time frame in which to re-do it all and I learned the most valuable lesson of all: always have back-ups at the ready and always expect the unexpected.
Facultas was unfailingly cooperative throughout the mayhem and the copies arrived like a miracle and, quite literally, just in time and still hot from the printing press.
It turned out that our new Treasurer, Selina Rebhandl, was not only a money, but also a baking treasure trove, so she and I had spent the weekend before our release week baking Uni-Verse cookies. Once we had finished the first batch, she completed another second batch all on her own and the results were stellar:
So, there we were, books and cookies fresh out of the oven and the only thing left was to sell them. Well, that, and to shower every buyer in soap bubbles if they so desired, of course!
There were many more quiet and more contemplative moments throughout those two days, when we reflected on the past year, the Uni-Verse and the Universe and whenever the stream of dutiful ÖH voters died down for a bit, we used the opportunity to pour ourselves a tea and sit down with the best book in the world while the rain drizzled outside.
Talking of tea, it was wonderful to meet all of you and chat over a cuppa for a bit (even if you didn’t buy anything) but it was, of course, bound to happen that I lost my water cooker at the Department that day. Luckily, Amadea spotted it roaming the halls of the English jungle the next morning, helped it shed its beasting ways and guided it home to me.
Thank you for coming on this journey with us!
We will close this post with a suitably excited picture of Cristina holding “momentum.” and if you’d like to check out the (professional) pictures that a (professional) photographer took at our (professional) reading at Facultas am Campus the next day, just click here!