A Writer’s Guide to Creating the Perfect Anthology

The etymology of the term “anthology” is rather beautiful. It comes from the Greek terms “anthos,” which means “flower,” and “legein,” or “logia,” which means “gather” or “collect.” In other words, “a gathering/collection of flowers” is the exact definition of an anthology. Ancient Greeks metaphorically used the term to refer to a collection of literary works, as demonstrated by the early anthological book Anthologia Graeca. 

A published collection of works, such as essays, short fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or other writings, is known as a written anthology. It can refer to a collection of literary works by several authors or to a single author’s collected output (for example, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare), but it most commonly refers to a compilation showcasing many different writers.

Writing for an anthology gives you the chance to have your work published with other like-minded authors and to reach a bigger audience. Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, for example, are perennial hits. Whatever genre you write in—young adult, nonfiction, fairy tales, or something completely different—there’s a good chance an anthology already exists that publishes work in your genre. In this blog, we’ll guide you through both possibilities- creating an anthology as well as contributing to one.

Creating an anthology

If you’re looking to create an anthology and get other writers to publish their works alongside you, here’s a guide to the same-

  1. Decide on a common theme

While some anthologies are spontaneous, the majority collect literary pieces around a common theme. The writers can all be from the same town, each tale can be of the same genre, and each poetry can be about love—the possibilities are endless, but it will be to your benefit to narrow down the theme of your anthology. If an anthology does not focus on a single genre, it will be tough to find a place in stores and bookstores. Consider the anthology’s market and the strength of the contributors. A theme brings the stories together and provides for subgenres. There should also be a word count limit, both high and low, to keep the length of the stories consistent.

  1. Set guidelines and rules

For story submissions, certain basic guidelines must be established. Will they be open to the general public or only to members of a certain group? What kind of information is permitted and what isn’t? Is there a deadline for submissions? Will the authors receive a one-time payment, royalties, or free books as compensation? Who will be judging the submissions? What format should entries take and how should they be sent? Make sure to ask for complete contact information from writers.

  1. Announce submission opening

Start spreading the news about the anthology as soon as possible. Announce the deadline for submissions and publicise it on social media. For marketing, you can utilize a graphic/ad or even the finished cover art. To persuade writers to contribute to your anthology, you’ll need to generate exposure, which can be as simple as reaching out to them personally while you’re first starting out. Consider publishing a call for entries on writers’ forums and websites.

  1. Read, check and select the best entries

Read entries as they arrive to avoid a backlog if a large number arrives at the final minute. Make sure the genre, theme, and word count are correct. Rate each entry and make a list of what worked and what didn’t. Choose the best entries. The group and/or judges must select and rate the best ones after the submission window has closed. Have a rough notion of how many people will make the cut.

  1. Develop a marketing strategy.

The marketing strategy begins when the anthology is developed, and it now needs to be fine-tuned and implemented. While working with the writers, you can implement review copies, virtual tours, advertising, graphics and adverts, author appearances, and target audiences.

Contributing to an anthology

If you’re looking to get published in an anthology alongside other writers, here’s a guide to the same

  1. Find the right fit

There are more anthologies out there than you can count, so you’ll need to narrow down which ones you want to submit to. Perhaps you’ve already been working on a tale or poetry that’s perfect for an anthology’s mood, theme, and requirements. If you haven’t already, look over the submission rules for a few anthologies and consider creating something unique for each of them.

  1. Stand out

When it comes time to construct a piece that will stand out among the other writers featured in a certain anthology, reading widely—that is, exposing yourself to a variety of authors and genres of writing—can be beneficial. For each anthology to which you intend to participate, you should try to write something that fits and feels new.

  1. Pitch to multiple places

When submitting work, it’s a good idea to cast a wide net because there’s likely more than one anthology that publishes the style of writing you’ve done. Continue to write and scour the internet and in-person literary circles for opportunities to write for and submit to. So, here you go. An anthology brings diverse voices together. Compiling an anthology might be a fantastic solution if you want to produce an engaging book in a short amount of time.

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