What is an anthology?
An Anthology is a collection of literary work which usually consists of different authors' short stories or poems. It is compiled by a third party which for this blog post we will refer to as the publishing party. The publishing party can be a publisher or a fellow author, they are responsible for completing the anthology, putting it in order, organising edits, formatting, marketing, cover design, etc. An anthology piece is made up of a number of different authors. If an author completes a novel made up of many different stories of their own work it is usually referred to as a compilation of their work.
“In book publishing, an anthology is a collection of literary works chosen by the compiler; it may be a collection of plays, poems, short stories, songs or excerpts by different authors.” - Wikipedia
What are the Advantages of participating in anthologies?
There are plenty of advantages to participating in an anthology novel, one of the biggest ones for new, self published authors is that it is a great stepping stone into the publishing industry. Let’s take a look at some of the other advantages below.
By partaking in an anthology you combat the overwhelming feeling that is associated with writing a full-length novel. Think about it like this, instead of having to complete an 80,000-word manuscript you get to focus on a much smaller scale with many anthologies that are around 2000 - 5000 words, and are considered “coffee reads”.
This is used by many authors as a powerful marketing tool as it really helps to increase visibility, especially for new indie authors. Let’s take a look at it like this, if there are 10 authors all participating in an anthology piece they will all share that novel, along with their fans and their own connections. Thus really increasing the visibility of you and your story. Also, take this opportunity for networking with these authors, the author community is all about networking and helping each other out, so create friendships within the anthologies and connect with those authors that think and write like yourself.
Being involved in these anthologies really does allow us to focus purely on the writing instead of all the added extra worries that come with writing a book, such as marketing and designs. You will truly be able to give 110% to your writing and make sure the story is exactly what you want it to be.
Finally, budget is a big one because taking part in an anthology is a much lower investment than going alone. When you pay into an anthology you are paying for the cover design, the formatting ect these are not additional costs that you incur.
What are the disadvantages of participating in an anthology?
So I can hear you asking if there really are any downsides to participating in an anthology? Honestly, there are disadvantages to everything we do so you do need to consider whether participating in an anthology is right for you and your writing career.
One of the main factors for me is the limited control over things such as the say over the cover design or how the book will be marketed, what formatting it will have or what types of edits will be carried out. I am a little of a control freak so I really struggle to hand that control over to someone else.
Always check in with the publishing party to make sure they are reputable and not scamming money out of you, there are so many scammers out there that I would hate for you to part with that hard-earned cash and get burnt. So be sure to carry out your research on the publishing house or the author who is compiling the anthology.
Always have a contract when taking part in an anthology, it is vital to ensure you know exactly where you stand and what you are liable for, it sounds obvious but make sure you sign it and return it to the publishing party. Usually, with an anthology piece, you would only receive around 10% of all royalties earned however this can vary depending on how many are partaking in the anthology.
Where can I find anthologies to participate in?
A number of the authors I have worked with over the years have partaken in anthologies whether they are new to the indie world or established within their writing career. There are a number of different places in which you can sign up for anthologies but please do your research and be aware that there are a number of scammers out there.
There are a few Facebook groups available such as Anthology Submissions and menacing anthologies and publishing but again I have not carried out any research into these so please conduct your own background checking before parting with any of your money.
The Take away
Our main takeaway from this blog post is to conduct your research into the publishing party, speak to authors that you know who have participated in some and gain their recommendations as it’s much better to gain some from word of mouth than taking a leap of faith on someone you don’t know.
Consider if this is right for you and where you want to take your writing career don’t just jump in with two feet. Take a look at the pro’s and con’s of this and see if it’s right for you. Maybe even partake in one to see how it works for you and give you a better, more insightful understanding as to whether you want to take part in any in the future.
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