Anthologies: Why and How

 

Garland and Rooney
Young love…

 

So you remember the old movie where Judy and Mickey got the gang together and put on a show in the barn? Working on an anthology can feel a little bit like that. You’re hanging out of Facebook, minding your own business, and someone says something and the next thing you know, you’ve got a deadline in four months and a whole bunch of new friends.

Or at least that’s kind of how the Naughty Nine came about.

My friend and wonderful author Margaret Madigan hosted a Facebook party to celebrate the release of her hot contemporary romance Hunter (Caine Brothers Book 1), and in the post-party wow we all had the best time discussion, someone – pretty sure it was LeTeisha – suggested putting together an anthology.

Didn’t take long for us to have a theme, a schedule, and a title. NOLA’S Naughty Nine won’t be available until the middle of August, so this isn’t really a promo post. Instead, I thought I’d give some thought to the reasons an author might want to take part in an anthology, and some ideas for how to make them work.

Why?

In addition to the classic “put on a show in the barn” approach (see above), anthologies come about in a variety of ways. I know of a couple bloggers – Susan at BoysInOurBooks.com and Judith at BingeOnBooks.com – who’ve coordinated anthologies, lining up the authors and spearheading the promo. Also, one of my publishers, Crimson Romance, puts together discounted bundles from their backlist. These aren’t true anthologies, but they sure are popular.

(Here’s a link to Holiday Fling, a collection of 10 vacation romances for only $0.72!)

Groups of authors will sometimes come together to raise money for a specific cause. For example, last fall Alexis Hall, Amy Jo Cousins, and a bunch of other great authors published How We Began. Their collection of sweet romances is raising money for The Trevor Project, a group that works for suicide prevention amoung LGBT teens.

Submitting to an anthology can also be a good way to get your foot in the door with your dream publisher. Last week a bunch of my friends were all abuzz over the recent Carina anthology call. I don’t know about you, but I suspect my next project may involve a werewolf…

I asked some of the other Naughty Nine authors their thoughts about participating in anthologies, and our ringleader LeTeisha Newton came up with a really good answer…

Being a part of an anthology is about knowing your limits, and what your goal is. Are you there to promote a new series? Going for exposure and getting to know new readers? Or just to have some fun with a new book. Once you know the WHY, then you can figure out the HOW and stick to it. When everyone is on the same page for the why and how, then things roll much smoother, and it provides the readers with a much better experience!

For me, the main reason to take part in a anthology is to put my work in front of peoeple who otherwise might not see it. My story – currently titled Change of Heart, though it’s not published yet so that could change – is linked to a bigger project my friend Irene Preston and I will be publishing this fall. I’m hoping people who read Heart will be interested in checking out Vespers, our gothic m/m vampire story. We’ll see…

How?

To an extent, how an anthology gets published depends in large part on the way it came together in the first place. If you’re self-publishing a project with a group of other authors, the key is to remember what you learned in kindergarten. Like LeTeisha says, the project will go better when everyone’s on the same page, and reliability is one of the most important things you can bring to the party.

Make the group’s deadlines. Adhere to the theme you’ve agreed upon. Follow through on your share of the promotion.

(Yep, I know. Everyone hates promotion, but we all just need to put on our big people panties and deal.)

Beyond the fun parts – writing and making teasers and hanging out on-line – there are some serious implications to working on a cooperative venture like an anthology. The WritersInTheStorm blog has done a series of posts on the business side of things, and rather than regurgitate their info, I’m just going to post the links here.

There’s some good information in those posts, so I hope you check them out. If you’re an author, have you been involved in any anthology projects? Were they a good experience? And if you’re a reader, do you like anthologies? What makes them work for you?

I’d love to see your ideas in the comments here! Thanks!

 

Change of Heart teaser1
Can’t share the cover art yet, but here’s a little teaser…
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