"Perhaps a body of work isn't necessary for a short story writer. If you do one story that survives in an anthology, that's enough.—William Maxwell
Submitting a story to an anthology may not seem advantageous to some writers—paid a one-time fee, no royalties and relinquishing rights. I grieved when I gave up all rights to a story that I knew was one of my best. And to make it worse, close to my heart. Seven advantages for writing for anthologies include:
- Presents a deadline: If you are a procrastinator, gives you a target writing goal.
- Supplies a specific topic or theme: Helps you focus the problem and benefit to the reader. Keeps your story, poem or genre on point.
- Write from personal experience or your specific genre: Draws from your personal experiences or memories, requiring no research. Anthologies include everything from poetry to fantasy fiction to real life stories.
- Gives a word count: Often the word count is short, so it does not require a book-length manuscript.
- Provides a recognized writing credit. Often the writing credit is in a book that is well-known to many, adding credibility to your writing credits and book proposals.
- Expands your audience. Gets your story and name into the hands of more people outside your sphere of influence.
- Earn a few bucks. It's always rewarding to put a few writing few dollars in your bank account.
A word of caution:
If you're asked to give up all rights, before signing the contract, ask for the option to request permission to the re-use the story.
What If Your Story Isn't Accepted?
I wrote five articles for one book anthology. Only one story was accepted. After hearing from the publisher, I sent the other four to other magazines, which were published. Writing for anthologies is also a great exercise to focus your story, write a strong opening, middle, and close and work at your craft and publication.
Find Anthologies Accepting Manuscripts?
Google "anthology submission guidelines" to find publishers that are accepting submissions. To avoid deadlines that are already past, include the year, for example: "anthology submission guidelines 2009." Check out the anthologies below.
Bridge House: Stories for "12 days of Christmas," "An Advent of Calendar of Stories," "A suitcase full of stories," ghost stories, real Bible stories, and horror stories.
Catastrophia Anthology: Fiction short stories based around the theme of catastrophes, disasters and post-apocalyptic fiction up to 6,000 words.
Chicken Soup for the Soul: They have books in development and are add new titles all of the time. They're always looking for new stories and poems.
Cup of Comfort: Uplifting, slice-of-life stories about the experiences and relationships that inspire and enrich lives, providing unique personal insights into powerful universal truths.
Flashquake: Flash fiction, flash nonfiction (memoirs, essays, creative nonfiction, and humor) and short poetry.
Interstitial Writing: Stories that work between, across, through, and at the edges and borders of literary genres, including fiction and non-fiction.
Literary Cottage: Regularly provides new story themes.
Nenonymous Nine: Cern Zoo: Stories.
Potter's Field 3: Third person scary stories themed to graveyards. No gore, blood, splatter, slice-and-dice.
Quantum Genre on the Planet of the Arts: Style-based short stories, flash fiction, film and book interpretations
Shine Anthology: Convincing, optimistic stories set 50 years into the future.
Silly Western Anthology: Short stories, as well as poems, jokes, puns, limericks, artwork, and general silliness expressing these themes: American Wild West, Steampunk, and Prairie Romance.
Stories for the Christian Heart: Provides a newsletter updating you on writing opportunities.
The Australian Haiku Society: Haiku about flowers.
Travelers Tales: Travel writing.