“Everybody’s got a story in them.”---
Browse the aisles at your local bookstore or even Amazon.com, and you’ll likely find a vast selection of anthology titles on an array of themes.
- They are quick reads that require very little time, and allow readers to start wherever they choose, and read as many or as few pages as they‘d like. It’s a quick fix for those with busy schedules, in need of a short diversion or pick-me-up, or even those with short attention spans.
- They offer a variety of perspectives, writing styles, “voices” and experiences, from authors around the world.
- They’re inexpensive; prices range from $4.95 to $9.95 typically.
- They’re entertaining with an added bonus of having a “take-away” message that helps readers to learn important lessons or deal with common struggles.
Though experience varies, depending upon the project and publisher, here are some perks writers of all levels and genres can expect for participation.
- Good pay. The Chicken Soup Series pays authors $200.00 for accepted short stories and even poems.
- Free books of your featured work. Typically anywhere from two books to ten.
- Discounts on future books purchased. Author discounts range from 10% off to as much as 50% off.
- The opportunity to meet celebrities and network with noted authors. For example, a blogging buddy of mine recently met disco singer Gloria Gaynor, when her essay landed in the diva’s anthology, “We Will Survive!” She described it as one of her most cherished projects as a writer.
- Follow the submission guidelines to the letter! This may seem like a given, but you'd be surprised how many people overlook this very obvious criteria and
- Start with a killer opening. Anthologies are typically very competitive, and you may only have a matter of minutes to draw an editor in and escape the circular file. According to author Linda O’Connell, (who has been published in “Chicken Soup” twenty times) “Anthology competition is tough. Chicken Soup for the Soul receives 1,000 or more submissions for each title call out. Editors whittle selections down to 200 and then select 101 stories for publication.”
- There’s great truth to the expression: “You only get one chance to make a first impression.”
- Strike a chord of emotion. Make the reader laugh, cry, or empathize and you're half way there.
- Remember to tap into the five senses for optimal results.
- Your story should have an identifiable beginning, middle, and end--with smooth, easy to follow transitions.
- Take an uncommon approach to common issues. Popular themes include marriage, parenting, work woes, overcoming obstacles, dealing with death, being
overweight and aging.
- Purchase and review a copy of one of the previous volumes of the series in which you are submitting your work. To save money, you can also find quite a few titles at local thrift stores for under a buck. Observe the style, length, titles, and topics of stories included. Does there seem to be a common “ingredient” in writers’ recipes for success?
- Give readers some type of take-away value. What can they learn from what you've shared? How can it improve their lives or enhance their way of thinking? Or maybe your goal is just to provide some “comic relief.” Assess and apply.
- Write tight! Eliminate any unnecessary phrases or long winded explanations. Avoid typos and awkward sentences. Remember the “K.I.S.S.” principle.
are eliminated early in the game.
Like many writing projects, some anthologies pay; others do not. Research is essential to finding the ones that align with your creative goals.
“If you are writing for a living, anthologies will not pay the bills. However, if you are writing for publication credits and a modest stipend, this is a good way to place your personal essays. Every writer has to examine his or her motives. As long as you do not sell all rights, you can often use the story elsewhere (and get paid) or publish a collection of your own previously published stories. From my experience, religious anthologies comparatively pay less.”---Linda O’Connell--writer, editor, and contributing author to over 25 anthologies
---Susan Reinhardt, Novelist
Craigslist.orgPeriodically lists “calls for submissions” in their classified writing ads. Some projects offer compensation; others do not. Be sure to read the fine print.
NewPages.com has a collection of different projects seeking submissions with ongoing deadlines. See it here: http://www.newpages.com/classifieds/calls/
Publishing Syndicate has several series in the works: from dieting to pets, to parenting. For more info, check out their F.A.Q. page here: http://www.publishingsyndicate.com/submissions/nymb_submit_guidelines.html
Chicken Soup for the Soul is always looking for writers to cook up unique stories for various titles. All entries must be submitted through their database form. Details provided at www.Chickensoup.com/
AnthologiesOnline.com offers free articles, interviews and tips for writers interested in anthology publication.
Angiebendetti.com does a monthly markets listing with current calls for entries here: http://www.angiebenedetti.com/blog/category/anthology-market-listings/
Remember-- some anthologies even accept previously published submissions, as long as you retain the copyrights.
Thoughts? Experiences here?