Last year, I introduced the idea of a project called "Up from Here," which sought contributions of all creative forms for this book. I guess the catch was (and may still be) that I plan to donate all (if any) proceeds from the sale of the book to charity, specifically a non-profit organization called Teaching for Change, based in Washington, DC. Folks don't seem to be as generous as I'd hoped with their gifts. Or maybe they're suddenly shy. Or maybe their time and best efforts are just committed elsewhere.
I pitched it (then and now) as a collaborative effort from a wealth of talent that has yet to be discovered, recognized or fully appreciated. Trust me when I say that my blogging and writing experiences over the past few years have exposed me to quite a large pool of talent. Something that if we parlayed it just right, we might increase our credibility and visibility as up and coming artists and writers, all while making a positive difference in our collective human conditions by lending ourselves to the upward movement we all seek through continued and better education and more empowerment for our youths, families and communities.
There were a few contributions last year, but due to my PCS move and soon-after deployment, I wasn't able to really screen them as I would have liked. I hope they will resubmit, but we'll see. Not even sure if those would have made my critical eye's cut, but at least some folks came forward to support the project.
Frankly, I'm baffled. I know so many talented people, and yet, I can't seem to get their interest. I just don't get it. Altruism aside, something like this could put a bunch of unknowns on somebody's Best Sellers list, and who knows where that could lead, right? So much for a master's degree in Project Management. *Sigh.*
Anyway, I've revisited the idea and put a different spin on it. I offered money to contributors who win the contest: $1,000 for 1st prize in short-short story, $500 for first prize in poetry, $200 for first prize in creative imagery (photos, drawings, paintings), and another $1,000 for cover art. Plus, some other smaller prizes for 2nd place winners. We'll see if anyone bites this time. My thought is that the prize money that will be awarded is easily comparable to, if not more than most of us will likely make with our first book. Seems like a good deal to me. If it weren't my contest, I would enter it.