The holiday project I’ve been talking about so much lately actually came into being last year. And the many volumes of Fiction River and Pulphouse Fiction Magazine we published this year were conceived of many months before that.

You see, in publishing, we play the long game for the most part. There are projects that we by necessity pull together quickly. But I’m a planner, and I prefer the long game if I can.

The magazines we publish have always been a long game prospect. They are labor intensive by their nature, so planning really is key.

And we’re specific about where we source our stories from because we want to deliver the highest quality to our readers. Which is why, from the very beginning, we have held an annual Anthology Workshop. It is through that workshop that our stories are selected.

The editors of each anthology must come up with a topic and guidelines that the series editors—Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith—approve, in coordination with me as publisher. Then, the workshop participants get sent the anthology synopses one per week and decide whether to write for that week’s anthology. Once that week’s stories are turned in, the editors start reading them. The average reading load for an editor is 1 million words. Yes, you read that right.

Once all the stories are turned in and the editors have read them, everyone convenes in Las Vegas for the in-person part of the workshop, which is held in late February. There, the editors live edit the anthologies one (or more) per day to achieve the final (or mostly final) product.

Think that sounds insane? Well, yeah, it kinda is. But that’s how we roll here at WMG. Go big or go home.

The authors are in the middle of writing for the 2020 Anthology Workshop right now, and two of the anthologies are already over to the editors. And this week, the writers will turn in stories for the WMG Holiday Spectacular 2020!

Like I said, the long game.

And while you will have to wait the better part of a year (or longer) to read those stories, you can read WMG Holiday Spectacular 2019 stories right now. We even have one of the stories free on our website this week: “Why Don’t You Make Gingerbread?” by Dayle A. Dermatis. Read it here.

We’ll have a new free story each Monday throughout the duration of the Spectacular, which you can read all about here.

And if you want to read a Christmas-themed anthology right this moment, check out Fiction River: Christmas Ghosts, edited by Kristine Grayson. Click here for more information.

I hope you’re enjoying this holiday season as much as we are this year!

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer.