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6 Tips to Master the Art of Creating Anthologies

Buzzle Staff May 13, 2019
If you have ever read a really great anthology, you know there is a lot of work put into it. Editing and organizing an anthology can be just as hard as writing your own book.
If you have ever thought about making an anthology of essays or stories on a similar theme for potential publication, perhaps you thought it might be easier than writing your own book on a topic.
If you have attempted to put together an anthology, you know it is much more difficult than it looks. Either way, if you think you might want to publish an anthology, there are a few things you should know before you get started.

Selecting a Theme

The first thing you need to do if you think you want to compile an anthology is select a theme. Your theme should be interesting enough that you will grab readers and writers without too much work. Think of things going on in your life or in the lives of others about which people have interesting things to say.
Think of something, also, that hasn't been overdone, or that has a new twist. You should also be sure to make your topic narrow enough, so that you know what types of essays you will get, but broad enough that every essay doesn't sound the same.

Finding Writers

The first thing you want to do, before writing a proposal, is to find about ten or so writers who are on board with your project.
This can be difficult, as they will not necessarily be paid or published as your project hasn't been bought yet. However, ask around; you may be surprised. Once you find those writers, make a deadline for their essays so you can be sure to get them in your proposal.

Writing a Proposal

When you write your proposal, you'll need to be sure to include a sample introduction.
The essays you've collected and edited so far, as well as a marketing strategy and some research as to what books are out there on your topic, and what makes your book different or more interesting. It never hurts to include any media outlets to which you already have connections. A quick internet search can yield many results for sample proposal templates.

Submitting a Proposal

Once your proposal is written and refined, you have a choice. You can send it to potential agents, or you can send it to publishers. In the nonfiction world, it's possible to do it either way, but in the fiction world, you probably want an agent to shop your work around for you.
Regardless of whether you are submitting the proposal to agents or publishers, be upfront about whether you are submitting it to multiple places or not. Many publishing companies will not look at a manuscript if it has been submitted elsewhere.

Finding More Writers

Once your proposal has been accepted and your project has been bought, you'll need to find more writers. In a collection of essays, 35-40 writers would be ideal. Depending on your publisher, the writers may not be paid, but you can sell your project to them by enticing up and coming writers with the promise of having their names in print.
It is also possible for contributors to make money from speaking engagements and press releases if their work is quoted or used. No matter what, be upfront with your writers, and have firm deadlines.

Editing and Ordering Works

Once the writers have submitted their work, you must make edits to the pieces. This is standard. Be sure to edit for content and style, and make sure you also check with the writers for acceptance of your edits.
After everything is edited, selecting an order for the works is crucial. You want the pieces to flow from one to the other, so readers will go from cover to cover without stopping.