See that picture above? That cover belongs to an anthology, a nifty alternative to collection, that yours truly happens to have a story in.
Unlike, say, entering a contest by texting a number, anthologies typically require a bit of effort on the part of the writer. I’d think it would be rare, even if you’re a short story maven, to have work sitting around that’s perfect for an anthology opportunity that arises.
How do such opportunities arise, you might ask?
Namely, by being present. That doesn’t mean you get invited to these things by floating around parties, clinging to the dark corners and jutting your head into conversations when you hear the word “anthology”. No, it means you float around message boards, jutting your head into threads that mention “anthology”. There’s a big difference.
But really, that’s what it takes. You have to pay attention. Look for authors or anthology organizers in your genre and watch for them to announce other opportunities. Then, of course, you have to do the work to actually write and submit a story.
If you’re thinking that you have to know the right people in order to get into one of these things, well, that’s not always the case. For The Officer, I saw Alasdair Shaw’s post in the Writer’s Cafe and decided to give it a shot. Wrote “Lucky Star” and submitted it. I didn’t know him, nor the other writers in the anthology. Had no “ins”, if you will.
In some other posts this week, which will all be about this anthology and putting it together, I’ll go into how I wrote the story and some of the things one does when one goes into an anthology.
You might also be thinking why? Why bother throwing a short story into a collection?
The answer, believe it or not, isn’t cash. It’s not about making fat stacks so I can finally live out my dream of filling a bouncy castle with dollar bills and, well, bouncing around in it. No, it’s about finding new readers. Getting your work out through another avenue. And getting to network with other authors.
Being a part of an anthology also gives you a chance to assess your own work. To try a different style (matching a short story to a theme). To have someone else take a look at your writing and offer suggestions.
There’s also little risk – if the editor of an anthology doesn’t take your story… you’ve still got a story! You can submit it to other collections, magazines, etc. And if you don’t want to do that, offer it as a reader magnet or put it up for free on your website. No writing is wasted.
So, in short: Anthologies are neat. I’m thrilled to be a part of this one. If you find writing shorter work appeals to you, I encourage you to find and try to be a part of some of these collections – there’s no special ceremony, no badge you must have in order to apply. Only the will to do so.
And if you want to support The Officer (and enjoy some rollicking good sci fi stories), you can find it on Amazon.