Friday, May 27, 2011

To Enter or Not to Enter

Recently I’ve been getting a lot of emails from authors and editors I know. All of them contain information about anthologies. I’ve known several of these talented writers have been published in anthologies and trust their judgement. Until recently, I’d not given much thought to entering into the opportunity to be selected as a contributor.

According to, ANTHOLOGY means… ‘a collection of selected literary pieces or passages or works of art or music’.

Well, I’ve never considered myself ‘literary’. I weave plain, simple words together in hopes of forming a story someone wants to read and can enjoy or relate to in some way. The anthologies I’ve been directed to recently seem to fit more my style.

So why get published in a collection, in the company of other authors? Why not just put together a collection of my own works? Though I’ve won awards for several of my short stories, I don’t believe there are publishers out there waiting with anticipation to print the ‘Great Works of Angela Drake”. So are anthologies a way to market those stories? Or would I be better off marketing them individually to print aka paying markets?

One thing I have learned over the years is if you don’t know something, find someone you know who’s been there, done that. So I contacted long-time acquaintance and multi-talented author, Laurie Wagner-Buyer. I thought she would be the perfect person to give me the ins and outs of anthologies, benefits or pros and cons of submitting and being included in an anthology. She’s been in several.

Here’s what Laurie had to say…

I believe any kind of exposure, any opportunity to get your work and your name out into the world is a plus. Of course there is a selection process involved, sometimes a rigorous choosing war as the editors try to decide which authors fit the style and theme of the anthology the best. An author should never be discouraged if their work isn't chosen because most often the editors have a very keen sense of the type of writing (including voice, topic, and length) they are looking for.

However, does being part of an anthology really do much for a writing career? I'm not sure there is an answer to that because each situation is different. I know that it really helped me flesh out my resume in the beginning, before I had any books published. If you want to submit work to an anthology you should follow the same basic rules that you would submitting your writing anywhere else. Choose only your best work. Make sure it has been professionally edited (not only by you but by someone else who has strong credentials). Make certain you follow the submission guidelines for formatting, etc... Once your work is submitted and chosen to be included do not ask for the chance to change your work in any big way. Most editors will send you a galley or proof copy of your work to make certain that you agree with any final editing that has occurred. In most cases, as well, those editors know what they are doing so a writer shouldn't be resistant to making changes which will enhance their work or take it to a higher level. I've never had an editor lead me wrong.

I have never been paid for work of mine that has appeared in anthologies, but I have received complimentary copies (usually one or two). Then I try to support the publisher and the other writers by purchasing a number of the anthologies at an author's discount to sell at my performances and events. What benefits you also benefits everyone else involved.”

I want to thank Laurie for giving us the voice of experience. Please take time to stop by her website… Laurie Wagner-Buyer

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