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Anthologies – What, Why, How?


By: Kathie Scrimgeour

With PPW’s new anthology, FRESH STARTS, publishing today it seemed appropriate to talk a little about anthologies. Back in August I wrote a post, Submitting to an Anthology in 5 Easy Steps. Today I will answer a few questions you might be thinking about. What exactly is an Anthology? Why write for one? How do you find an anthology to submit to?

What is an Anthology?

Simply put, it is a book that brings together a series of short stories, poems, and/or essays written by different authors. Usually there is a theme that all the authors write to. For FRESH STARTS the theme is the same as the title, with the added theme statement:

After the fires are out, the smoke has cleared, the divorce is over, the widow has stopped wearing black, the sun has risen, the monsters are dead, the world is saved (or destroyed!), the storm has calmed, and the trouble is over…

…what do you do next?

We can’t promise only happy endings. Just that moment when you pick yourself up out of the wreckage and find the strength to begin anew.

Is an anthology the same as a collection? No. A collection is a book that the contents are written by the same author, whereas an anthology’s stories are by different authors.

Why submit to an Anthology?

Even if you’re a novelist, you should consider writing for an anthology. Creating a short story will help you tighten your writing. You will learn how to condense descriptions the size of the Sistine Chapel down to a masterpiece the size of a thumb tack. It will still make your reader’s heart flutter, but with fewer words.

Maybe you want to try out an idea you have for an epic novel, but you aren’t sure if the subject will keep your reader engaged (or keep you writing). Start with a short story and shop it around to see what response you get. If it falls flat, then you might reconsider writing a three-book project.

An anthology also gives you a way to test out a genre you have never written in before. Writing outside your normal genre may spark inspiration in unexpected ways.

One last reason to submit to an anthology is to expand your resume. For most writers, books take a long time to write, but a short story…? With practice it can be created in a short period of time. Each publication in an anthology is another notch on your writing resume.

How do you find an anthology to submit to?

Well, PPW just so happens to be one resource. Plans have already started for the next anthology which should publish in March of 2022. The theme and details are being worked on and you can check the website for up-to-date information.

In the meantime, there are several ways to discover anthologies that are accepting submissions. One, is a search on your favorite online outlet using the keyword, “anthology”. Make notes of the publishers that pop up and check out their websites for information.

Doing a search like that is a little arduous so you might consider opting for a subscription to a listing service such as DuoTrope or Submission Grinder.

I did a broad search on DuoTrope for “anthology” and here is a screen shot of the results:

As you can see, there are a lot of anthologies to submit to (173 to be exact). DuoTrope does have a free trial that you can take advantage of if you want to take it for a test run.

Submission Grinder is a little cumbersome to use. Searches here are limited to names, titles, fiction, and poetry. Here is a screen shot of the search I did under the fiction option which took me to a menu to drill down my search. Anthology was not an option.

But, the landing page does list the names of publishers and what they are looking for whether it’s flash fiction, short stories, poetry, or essays.

Even if you never submit to an anthology, you will gain writing skills. Find a fun theme then write to it. You never know, you may end up opening your mind to things you never dreamed of.

KJ Scrim, Profile Image

Kathie Scrimgeour writes under the pseudonym KJ Scrim. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors with PPW, she is also the Managing Editor of Writing from the Peak (PPW’s blog) and the Lead Coordinator of PPW’s first anthology, Fresh Starts. Her inspiration for blogging, flash fiction, short stories, and the long haul of novel writing comes from her many life experiences. You can follow her on her website, and on Facebook. When she’s not writing you can find her somewhere in Colorado walking, hiking, or rock climbing.  

P.S. Have you heard? PPW’s first anthology is here!
Fresh Starts is now on sale!

Now available on Amazon.
Pre-orders accepted on KOBOBarnes & Noble, and Apple Books (sales on these channels begin 4-9-21).

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