Hey, SE Readers. Joan with you today. In my last post, I talked about the advantages of writing short stories and how they could be stand-alone works or part of a collection. Today, I want to talk about anthologies.
What’s the difference? Dictionary (dot) com defines an anthology as this:
- A book or other collection of selected writings by various authors, usually in the same literary form, of the same period, or on the same subject: an anthology of Elizabethan drama; an anthology of modern philosophy.
- A collection of selected writings by one author.
My post today deals with the first definition. Participating with a group of authors in an anthology is another great way to build your backlist and attract new readers. I’ve been fortunate to have been included in four such collections.
If you participate in an anthology, here are a few tips.
- Decide on a central theme or genre. One of the anthologies I was included in had the theme of time travel. Instead of a theme, the collection could be in the genre of romance, science fiction, fantasy, etc.
- Another idea is to choose a specific setting. Years ago, I read a series of four books. The main setting was an older two-story house that had been converted into four apartments. Someone was found murdered. Each book was written by a different author, and each writer focused on a different lead character’s point of view. While these were separate books and not an anthology, a similar idea could be incorporated into a collection.
- Determine if the book will be listed for free, or if there will be a charge. If it’s the latter, decide on how the royalties will be divided. Many times the publisher (or the author initiating the idea) will pay each participant a one-time payment. Any royalties go to the initiating author, as they bear the expense of editing, formatting, cover design, etc.
- Recognize that all authors may not have the same writing skills. Some can be seasoned writers, others new to the world of publishing. If the idea of being included with previously unpublished authors doesn’t appeal to you, you might want to reconsider. (Remember every author was once unpublished.)
- Anthologies are a great way for new writers to break into the publishing world. I’d recommend searching writing publications, either in print or online, for possibilities. Chicken Soup for The Soul, a non-fiction series, has helped many become published authors.
- Know the word count and stick to the guidelines. If the maximum length is 10,000 words, don’t send a 12,000-word story to the publisher. By the same token, make certain you’ve met the minimum word count.
Anthologies are fun to read and fun to write. If you’ve participated in an anthology, what are some pros and cons you discovered? What other tips would you offer? Please share in the comments.