How to Compile an Anthology and Publish it?

Time and again, you must have come across the word ‘anthology,’ and you may have wondered when can a book be called an anthology, or how can I write and publish an anthology?

What is an anthology?

An anthology is a collection of short pieces that follow the same theme. Usually, we see two types of anthologies in the market:

●      One author anthology: a collection of essays, short stories, or poems.

●      Multi-author anthology: where writers with similar stories or on the same theme come together to publish a volume.

The primary benefit of publishing an anthology is that you produce meaningful content with less effort. Since many writers contribute to the book, it becomes a collective effort, and the burden of writing a book all by yourself is reduced. Also, since many people are involved, all of these people will contribute to the book’s marketing and promotion. This way, one can spread the word to a comparatively larger audience.

If you are looking to publish an anthology, here are the steps to follow:

1. To compile an anthology, decide on the genre, theme, and word count

The critical thing to remember while compiling an anthology is that you should stick to one genre. Sticking to a single genre makes it easier for bookstores and retailers to locate and sell the book, e.g. if all stories are love stories, a reader who likes romance books will be the target reader for this book.

Decide on the theme of the book as well. This will make the collection cohesive, e.g., the theme for a book in the romance genre can be teenage romance/college romance.

Each story should be consistent in terms of the word count limit. Decide the word count limit in advance and convey it to all the contributing writers to avoid any hassles later.

2. Decide the number of contributions you require

A typical manuscript contains 40,000-60,000 words. For example, if you want each of the stories in the anthology to be 1,500 words, you will require around 35-40 writers for your book. Keep the length of each submission consistent.

3. Create guidelines for submissions

Once you have decided the basic theme, the number of contributors etc. for the anthology, you call out to people for story submissions, hand over the guidelines for submissions mentioning the following:

  • Type of content
  • Genre
  • Word limit
  • Judges for the entries
  • Payment methods (one-time/royalties/free copies)
  • Deadline
  • Format
  • Full details (contact info etc.)

There could be more guidelines as per your needs and wants.

An example:

guidelines for submissions

4. Announce submission opening for the anthology

Create an announcement regarding the submissions. Promote the book on social media platforms and spread the word as much as you can. Advertisements work well when it comes to promoting your project. An eye-catching graphic ad works wonders.

An example for the ad :

submission for anthology

5. Go through the entries and start the selection process

When the entries are received, go through each one and ensure that the writers have adhered to the guidelines. If policies are not adhered to, ask them to resend the entries with details as required by you.

If you think that you have received enough entries or reached the deadline, close the submission window. The judges appointed will then select the entries and rank them.

6. Draw up contracts

You need to draw contracts for the selected authors. Remember that the anthology contract should grant the anthology publisher the rights to publish and sell the anthology. Necessary details regarding rights, royalties, free author copies, promotions, etc., should also be laid down.

A typical anthology contract somewhat looks like this:

publish an anthology

7. Arrange and rearrange

While compiling the anthology, you have to trust your instincts. Arrange the entries and collect them in the order that feels right to you. Think from your reader’s perspective — what will he like to read first. Think about how each story/piece will build a mindset as they go through the anthology. Example of an anthology.

8. Find a publisher

Approach publishers to assist you in publishing your anthology. It is always advisable to contact the publishers even before your manuscript has been finalized. This will help you deal with other legal formalities without any problems. Once a publisher has been decided, your anthology is set to hit the market. Explore self-publishing companies and find one that suits your purpose.

9. Promote your anthology

You can promote your anthology in various ways. You can post excerpts(1-4 lines) from different stories to generate a buzz about your work. You can collaborate with fellow writers and create a social media marketing strategy for the anthology. One way is to give free copies to the readers and ask them for their valuable feedback. You could opt for any one of the innumerable ways of getting feedback. Share this feedbacks on your social media platforms.

10. Do not end it right there!

If your first anthology turns out to be a success, do not stop just there. You can write and publish a series of anthologies. If your readers genuinely liked your book, you can plan for a follow-up book or the next one in the series!

To publish an anthology connect with Zorba Books.

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