Publishing the ITT Short Story Collection without a budget!

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Connolly, Gerard
Walker-Headon, Niamh
Issue Date
Technological University Dublin
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In 2016, the library of the then Institute of Technology, Tallaght launched the ITT Short Story Competition, in collaboration with South Dublin Libraries and the Red Line Book Festival. Submissions of between 1,500 and 2,000 words, on any topic, were invited from anywhere in the world. From the outset, it was envisaged that the ten stories finally shortlisted would be published in an anthology under the auspices of IT Tallaght. Following weeks of research into the bewildering array of self-publishing services on offer, the editors settled on CreateSpace, and the collection eventually appeared under the title Together, in paperback form, [print on demand], and as a Kindle e-book. The process was repeated in 2017, with the Lifeblood anthology being proofed, edited and designed in-house by library-staff-turned-publishers, and only slightly altered last year for a third collection, Stand Fast!, as CreateSpace became absorbed into Kindle Direct Publishing. The now-annual ritual of preparing the anthology for publication has proved immensely rewarding for the library staff involved, acquainting them with the nuts and bolts of a profession not normally thought to overlap their own. Furthermore, not only has the realisation of the stories in book form turned out to be the perfect way of bringing down the curtain on that year’s competition, each stage of the process, from making the initial overtures to the global writing community through to mailing the paperbacks out to authors and libraries, has allowed for unique opportunities to engage with stakeholders and a public we would otherwise have no reason to encounter.