It's going to be really tough selecting just one artist to work with on Demimonde. I'm going to hate sending all the rejection letters to the people who didn't make it, especially since so many of them wrote very sweet and enthusiastic letters about the book / project. Is this an illustrator skill, that you learn how to sound excited about working on someone's else's text? I can see that it might be useful to develop. :-) As a writer, I mostly feel like my work stands alone -- until they call me to turn one of my stories into a screenplay, anyway, at which point I gather it will be hacked at by a slavering mob. (A talented slavering mob, hopefully. :-)
On the plus side, I'm building up a nice database of illustrators for future projects; I'm hoping to use two more next year, for similar pay rates. You may remember that I was hoping to do some single-author collections through my small press, right? You can expect a Kickstarter for those in the spring, around March, probably. I'm thinking I'll aim for two books in the first year -- if that goes well, I'll try to ramp up to my eventual four books a year ideal.
These are the ones where I'd ask authors to submit themed collections of their work, ideally a mix of fiction and nonfiction (and maybe a poem or two, if they like). They would choose a theme that interests them, that they focus on. So for example, Ben Rosenbaum might write about parenting and religion (in a science fictional way). Kate Bachus might write about women and power / strength / pain. Nicole Walker might write about food and family and Mormonism. I know, you probably don't know these authors, but their work is brilliant and totally engaging, and you should. None of them have novels out currently, but they've published widely -- too widely, perhaps. If I did these collections, they could collect some of their best material, along with some new stuff (I'm think maybe 30% new?) for a slim but substantial illustrated volume.
What do you think of the series title Tropes? Each book would have its own actual title from the author, but this would go on the spine or some such. Serendib Press: Tropes.
I'm really excited about this concept, and I'm having a hard time making myself wait 'til spring to work on it, but I trying super-hard not to overload myself -- I want to be done with a full draft of Demimonde at least before starting editing other people's books. It's odd, but doing the Kickstarter makes me feel a much stronger sense of responsibility to the book -- I feel like I owe the 168 people who pledged, specifically, my very best attempt at a great book. Selling to a regular publisher just doesn't carry that same kind of weight for me; typically, the only obsessiveness about the book being fabulous is all about my own artistic aspirations, not anyone else's readerly expectations. It's a little intense, to be honest.