Some sanity checks are in order. We're all getting swept up in the excitement of the idea, but we need to keep the challenges in mind as those will have more of an impact on whether or not this actually works. This is a great project idea, so it's important to get this stuff right if we want to succeed (and I can tell you that I would definitely like this project to succeed). Some of these may have been covered already, but I'm going to hit them now so that we're all clear on the subject.
First, asking the Black Library to host the end-products is a pipe dream. Black Library will view this kind of work as unsolicited and, as has been covered, such a move would open the floodgates to similar products from anyone and everyone. We can discard this idea.
Second, asking Black Library authors to participate in any manner is a waste of time. These members may have an intense interest in such a project, but their contractual obligations will preclude them from participating. They might even be prohibited from endorsing such a project (even if they really really like it and have lots of ideas about how we might do it). Even asking them would be putting them in a very difficult position; and even though they would probably decline very politely (even possibly offering up a morsel of two of advice), we should not impose upon them in this way. Let them volunteer what they can, but don't approach them on the issue.
This is actually a great project, and it can run as long as it is able to be sustained. We've somehow decided that it will be limited to three volumes. We need no such limit. This kind of project can be an enduring project here at the B&C, developing and "publishing" fan fiction for as long as we have both authors willing to write stories and workers able to edit and publish. Since the Black Library option is closed to us (it was never really open), there's no reason we can't present the works here via our downloads. And the admin/mod team is actually very keen to see this kind of thing happen. Very keen.
Realistically, an initial three-issue run isn't a bad idea, but we can definitely sustain this project far longer. The initial run can be used to refine concepts and methodologies (though refinement will actually take place over the entire life cycle of the project).
We can present the collected works in two formats (and this isn't an either/or thing - we can do both at different times). First, we can include fan fiction in larger works, with those larger works including a variety of other things (basically, a B&C e-zine that includes rules, batreps, background, fiction, models, whatever). Second, we can collect fan fiction into anthologies that are dedicated solely to fan fiction. And we can do both over and over, all under the Legio Imprint. For the sake of further discussion, I'll simply refer to each collection as an "issue."
I think it's pretty safe to say that there will be no shortage of prospective authors that are interested in writing fiction.
The challenge is going to be in building up a dedicated support staff. Without the people behind the scenes, the project will flounder. We can't pick people, either. We need volunteers. Nobody will be doing this with any compensation, so volunteers that have a personal interest in supporting the project are essential - otherwise everything will just fall apart. Those volunteers are going to be the limiting aspects, and they'll also largely drive how things happen based on what they are able to do and interested (or not interested) in doing.
The basic methodologies and requirements might actually vary from issue to issue, and we're not really tied to a single format for each issue. For example, a single issue might include one or two very large works while having multiple shorter works (and those might be of varying sizes).
Something else to consider is the mechanics behind submissions. If the submission process is iterative, with an author posting work that can be viewed by everyone as it goes through the editing process, there is likely to be diminished interest in reading the actual end-product as too many people will have read the various works prior to them ever being "published." Interest in reading the end-product can really only be generated/maintained if the submission/editing process is secret. We used to have that functionality with the old Librarium, but that is gone, so we would have to utilize an alternate mechanic (which is easily do-able, but would use slightly different mechanics). I think that a private submission process will work best, with submissions e-mailed or PMed to the workers and editing discussion taking place privately. I can make this happen quite easily (it's good to be an admin
I'm going to create a forum for this project in the Special Projects forum. This forum will be the vehicle by which further discussion takes place, including solicitation of works (both fiction and art), description of themes, min/max word counts, etc.
Then we need to identify the workers
(not authors) that are needed to make this happen, with roles and responsibilities clearly identified. We'll need volunteers to do the work, so they'll need a clear picture of what they're signing up for before they're going to volunteer. Once each of the positions has been filled (and there's no real maximum limit for the positions, except that we want to avoid having too many cooks in the kitchen), then
we can kick off with the actual project. The workers (or a sub-set of them) can make the final determination on how things will run since it's their time and effort that is the real limiting factor.
The B&C will gladly make each issue available for storage and download as part of the Legio Imprint.
If the project continues beyond the initial three issues that are envisioned, the B&C will provide support in perpetuity (as long as it works effectively). The workers can vary from issue to issue, though we will want some basic methodologies to remain constant just so that we're not reinventing the wheel each time.Member Support
We'll need members that are interested in contributing work (I doubt this is going to be a problem). Art is easy - if we don't have actual "art" we can always use pictures of miniatures (whether submitted directly or chosen from the PCA
forums). As I mentioned before, I don't see any problem with a shortage of authors.
The key thing is having workers that make it happen, especially the initial batch. This is where the really difficult work resides as these members will be responsible for a number of things (and different workers may have different responsibilities). No issue is possible unless there will be sufficient workers to make it happen. I actually foresee having a regular stable of workers forming a core that works on each issue (and some of these are going to change over time) with guest workers on each issue (and some of these guest workers may actually fill key positions).
Now I haven't covered the actual submission process. I'm not going to even attempt to dictate submission requirements because I think that different submission requirements serve different purposes and it is really up to the workers to decide. I've seen previous "contests" where BL provided themes and then required prospective authors to submit a synopsis and short sample that would be reviewed by BL staff; and if selected the story would be further developed by the prospective author to reach the full length desired (with an editing process). I've also seen sites where the complete story is submitted in draft form, and then edited/revised (my wife does this professionally for self-published authors). Word counts can vary and, as I mentioned, don't have to be identical for each story in a single issue. Variety is nice, so having a submission/selection process would allow the (key) workers to ensure that the collection of stories features different concepts/perspectives/settings/etc.
It's very easy to be excited about this kind of project because it is a Very Good Idea. We can't let our excitement take control, however, as the logistics behind making this kind of thing happen are actually complex. If we don't hammer out a supportable and sustainable process, we'll fail. I'm definitely interested in the project from three perspectives. First, as an aspiring author, I'd love to contribute work to the project. Second, as a hobbyist, I'd be interested in helping with the work side of the house (obviously, I wouldn't work on issues to which I contribute). Third, as an admin, I want to see this succeed so that we can all enjoy the hobby.
Look for a dedicated forum for this project soon. It will be led by the Moderati as a whole. Once we have workers, they'll be provided with a work space. I will move this discussion into that forum at that time.