Hi friends, this one’s for my fellow writers who are interested in getting involved with short story anthologies and multi-author boxsets. And if you’re not keen yet, maybe I can convince you!
Working on the Enchanted Anthologies and What’s in a Name? Anthologies have been some of the best experiences in my indie publishing journey so far, I’ll never stop singing the praises of these awesome authors and the collections of stories we’ve put together to raise funds for various charities. So if you’d like to know more about how you can get into collaborating with other writers and how to make the most of your anthology experience, keep reading.
- How I got involved with anthologies
- The benefits of joining an anthology
- Where to find anthologies and boxsets to submit to
- How to get the most out of your anthology experience
How I Got Involved with Anthologies
I first got the opportunity to submit a story to an anthology a couple of months before I published my debut novel, sometime in mid-2020. I’d been posting about The Fair Queen for a few months and chatting with quite a few of my fellow indie authors on Instagram, making friends and sharing about our publishing journeys. I got a message on Instagram one day, from the lovely Jennifer Kropf, asking if I’d like to join her new Facebook group for authors to cross-promote each other’s books and just generally support each other. Of course I said yes and joined immediately, I was so honoured to be asked and really looking forward to building my community of writers and readers.
How I joined Enchanted Waters
In the group, it wasn’t long before another author, the fabulous Alice Ivinya, posted that she was launching a new charity anthology called Enchanted Waters and was looking for submissions. She specifically wanted a great group of authors who would work together and collaborate well, so rather than just submitting a story and sitting back while it was published and marketed by the organiser, we would all be involved in every step of the project. It sounded like the perfect opportunity to meet some great people and learn a lot about publishing from some really experienced and talented indie authors. So I bit the bullet and asked to join.
I got on really well with all of my coauthors on Enchanted Waters from day one, everyone was so open and generous with their time, knowledge and expertise. One of my favourite things about this team is that we all have very different skill-sets and each contribute something to the group. Plus, the books are fully illustrated by our incredibly talented coauthor Elena Shelest.
Together we were able to top anything any one of us had achieved alone up to that point. And we’ve managed to raise over $1,000 for Oceana, so far!
Before long, I had the idea for a whole series of Enchanted Anthologies, each inspired by a different element or aspect of nature. Luckily, the others were all on board, so we started a list of future anthologies, and I’m really excited to say Enchanted Forests came out July 2022 and has raised over $800 for the Rainforest Foundation, and Enchanted Flames is coming July 2023!
How I joined Once Upon a Name
One of my Enchanted Anthologies coauthors, Astrid V.J. had her second author anniversary not long before EW came out, and she hosted a big party in her Facebook group. I had a takeover slot, and it was one of my first ever Facebook party takeovers (if not THE first). One of my posts was a fairy tale name generator, and our other coauthor Sky Sommers had the idea to all write a piece of flash fiction based on the names we got.
We gathered together a group of twenty authors, some USA Today bestsellers, some complete newbies, and in April 2022, we published Once Upon a Name, an anthology of short stories (I don’t think any of us managed to stick to the flash fiction word count!) with all profits going to Book Aid International.
Again, I was so lucky to get to work with some of the most incredible writers, beta readers, marketers and all round brilliant humans. A couple of the team created our gorgeous cover, one designed a stunning reading planner to complement the anthology and help us to raise even more money for charity.
And just like with Enchanted Anthologies, we had such a good time that we decided to do it again! Twice Upon a Name comes out April 2023 and the beautiful reading planner is already available to buy.
The Benefits of Joining an Anthology
There are so many positives to joining an anthology, but some of my top pros are:
- Reaching new readers in your genre and getting more sales for your backlist
- Meeting other authors and making new friends
- Learning from more experienced writers/editors/marketers
- Getting new beta and ARC readers who will help you to improve your story and grow your writing skills
- Gaining experience in all aspects of the writing and publishing journey in a fairly safe, risk-free environment (if you slip up, there are ten or more other people there who can help and pick up the slack)
- Growing your list of publications quickly and easily, making you look like a more credible author to new readers
- Getting the chance to write more stories in the same world as your other books, having fun writing in new and different genres, or telling a much-loved side character’s story
- Getting the rights back to your story after a period of time (usually 3-12 months) so that you can use it as a reader magnet, publish it separately yourself, or even expand it into a full length novel or series
And there are so many more positives to joining an anthology or boxset, but every experience is different, so you’ll probably discover a few I haven’t mentioned!
Where to Find Anthologies and Boxsets to Submit to
Facebook is a great place to start looking for anthologies and boxsets to join, there are dozens of groups where organisers will post links and details for authors to sign up to sets depending on the genre, reader demographic, steam level, etc.
Anthologies & Collections for Indie Authors
Boxed Set Opportunities for Authors
The Enchanted Quill’s Author Boxset Matchmaker
Or search for anthology/box set groups on FB. And if you have a friend on Facebook or Instagram who is always posting about the anthologies they’re in, then you could try sending them a short but sweet DM asking if they know of any opportunities you could apply for, us indie authors are always happy to help each other out and they’ll probably be chuffed you asked!
How to Get the Most out of Your Anthology Experience
Now for the most important part, how you can really make the most of your anthology experience and squeeze every last drop of benefit out!
First and foremost, try your hardest to meet deadlines and be someone your coauthors and organisers can depend on to do what you say you will, when you say you will. Managing a group of ten or more authors is no mean feat, so anything you can do to make the running go smoothly will be appreciated. We all know life happens and things can get in the way, your coauthors will usually be sympathetic and understanding if you have to ask for an extension to your deadline, for example, but you’re more likely to make friends and allies by being reliable and trustworthy. Communication is key, so always message your organiser if you’re struggling to hit your word count goal or meet a set deadline. You never know, they may offer to brain storm with you for some new plot ideas, or schedule writing sprints to help you get that draft finished. It’s a team effort, and we’re all in it together.
Secondly, contribute as much as you possibly can to the general running of the anthology or box set – these publications take A LOT of work, and most organisers are doing it alongside their own book launches, day jobs, and everything else (kids, reading, hobbies, etc.) If you can beta read your coauthors’ stories and offer helpful feedback, I’m sure they’ll appreciate you offering to do so (don’t just go ahead and do it, always check first, as some authors have a group of trusted betas they prefer to stick to).
If you have graphic design skills, editing experience, formatting, marketing, advertising – any talents that you could lend to the overall efforts of the group – let the organiser know so they can delegate any tasks appropriately. You’ll get lots of experience and it will show your fellow authors that you’re someone they can rely on and who will work hard to make sure the book is a success, meaning you’re more likely to be invited to other opportunities in the future!
Finally, and this part can only come after the first two steps if you want to win over your fellow authors, ask for help and advice. You’re lucky to have a pool of fellow writers with a wide range of expertise and experience that you can tap into and learn from – make the most of it! Some will be too busy to do more than point you in the direction of some helpful resources, but others will be willing to spend some time chatting through whatever you want to improve and develop, whether that’s plotting, drafting, self-editing, what tools they use, how they find ARC readers or choose a cover designer.
Your coauthors are an absolute goldmine of useful information and knowledge, so make sure you take advantage of that fact! But, be sure to give back as much as you take, in whatever form that may be, and you’ll have the best possible anthology experience.
My current secret project is for a multi-author series coming out this Autumn, and I’m having the best time working with the incredible team of authors on this series of fairytale retelling novellas. I’m so excited to share more about it very soon, so keep your eyes peeled for more details about my upcoming fantasy/fairytale story!
Happy reading and writing, friends!