Anthologies are an excellent way for a writer to break into publishing. They can also do a lot to expand the audience for your existing titles as the anthologies offer something for everyone – the authors, the readers, and the organizing team.
Anthologies are an excellent way for a writer to break into publishing. They can also do a lot to expand the audience for your existing titles. Blog ninja and Master and Commander of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, Alex J. Cavanaugh, has edited several anthologies, and gives us the skinny on how they can help your career.
Benefits Of Participating In Anthologies
Recently, especially during the months of lockdown the craze of getting published via anthologies largely increased among the writers and the budding authors. Moreover, it was during this period of lockdown, when most of the publishing companies came forward with their great offers of anthology programmes too, altogether making a very conducive atmosphere for the participation in anthologies among the writers!
However, before diving much deeper into the benefits of participating in the anthology programmes, we must understand the concept of these anthologies first.
What are Anthologies? Anthologies are collections of chapters, poetry, short stories, etc. that authors submit to an editor or publisher for inclusion. The compilation is typically cantered around a theme, topic, genre, or the type of author.
Now, let us try to understand the benefits of participating in anthologies, point wise –
Minimal Time Investment
If there is one thing that I have learned about being involved in the process of producing an anthology, it’s the time commitment required to put a full book together. You spend months (years) writing the bones of your book. Vetting through Beta Readers and Alpha Readers and Editors. It feels like the bulk of your project is complete, but the process has only just begun.
Now, you have to decide where to publish, what format you want, your spacing, your font, and your cover design. You have to upload to all the places and purchase the ISBNs and reformat depending on where you upload and proofread 1,000 times because of formatting errors. When you finally do figure it all out, there is deciding on release dates, launch events, and marketing strategies. There is probably more than this in most of the cases today. There is a huge amount of time that is spent into producing a book, which you do not have to worry in the case of an anthology. You get to jump to the end of the process with a book in your hands that has your name in it, while someone else does everything else in between.
Low Financial Risk
Publishing a book is far from free; I think we all know that by now. While there are plenty of budget-friendly ways to go, at some point, you will still be responsible for fronting some publishing costs. When you are part of an anthology, you are not responsible for the costs of publishing, just for purchasing whatever copies you want for yourself, friends, family, neighbours, or anyone else on your list.
Anthologies are a great option for authors on a budget, who may not have the financial freedom to publish a book without the guarantee of making back the costs in royalties.
If an anthology is asking you to pay for your piece to be featured, this may be something to think about. You do not want to get caught in a situation where you are paying for exposure and receiving nothing else in return. We will talk a little more about questions to ask before you submit to anthology in the coming weeks.
Give those Random Pieces a Home
Many of us do have a lot of random stories and poems filling in our computers or mobile notes that we have no idea what to do with. We do not want to expand them into books, and they are too random to create a collection around. We love them, but we just do not have a space for them. Therefore, it is better to start submitting them to anthology programmes.
Submitting random pieces of my work has been exciting. It satisfies the desire to complete something and gives every piece of writing a purpose. In addition, releasing small bits here and there gets your name out into different writing communities, starting the buzz of interest that will eventually become your audience.
Connecting with Other Authors
This is probably my favourite part of joining an anthology. When an anthology debuts, all the authors involved start coming out of the woodwork to post about their pieces and promote the book. You start to see these authors come across your social media feeds, some reach out to chat, and others will tag you online to talk about your work and how much they loved it. In a world with millions of authors to connect with, anthologies are an amazing way to connect directly with like-minded creatives and start building genuine friendships.
Also Read: Steps for Putting Together a Great Anthology
Testing your Audience
Anthologies are a perfect way to test your future audience without committing to an entire book. Maybe you want to write in a new genre but you are still exploring the niche. Perhaps you want to try poetry, but you’re still trying to find your voice and style. Submitting to different anthologies will provide you feedback on your work from prospective readers and other authors. This way, if you decide to switch it up, you do not have to scrap an entire novel or collection.
Well, these are just some of the prime benefits of participating in the anthology programmes, written from the perspective of the writers and the budding authors. While, it is interesting to note that such programmes are as much beneficial to the publishers or organizers as they are to the participants!
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