Five Keys to Writing for Anthologies

Writing for anthologies is an excellent way to flex those creative muscles. You can also build up your writing portfolio with publishing samples and make money at the same time.

Before you begin submitting to the many anthology collections out there, know what you’re getting into and what to expect first.

Follow the Guidelines
It may seem obvious that you should stick to the guidelines for the anthology. However, anthology editors complain over and over again that they have to reject submissions simply because they fell outside the specified guidelines.

Read the guidelines before you get started. Read them again when you finish your work. Read them again before you submit your work.

If the guidelines say 7,500 words maximum, 7,501 will get your submission rejected. If your work doesn’t stick to the anthology’s particular theme, your submission will be rejected.

Write Outside Your Genre
If you’re a romance writer, you might think a sci fi anthology isn’t for you. But anthologies give you a unique chance to write outside your genre.

Anthologies can be great exercises for your writing, especially in genres you normally wouldn’t write in. Be open to new genres and challenge yourself.

Explore the anthology’s theme and you may even find a spin on your particular genre. For example, you may be used to writing contemporary romance but there’s an anthology looking for paranormal romance stories. Take a chance on your writing and see where it takes you.

Understand Your Rights
When evaluating the guidelines for an anthology, read the rights carefully. Most will ask for “first rights” (or “first electronic rights” for online anthologies).

This gives them the right to be the first to publish your work. You can publish the piece elsewhere after the anthology has been released.

Giving up “all rights” means you can’t publish the piece anywhere else. The person or company you sold “all rights” to now owns your work.

And remember, one of the advantages of only selling “first rights” means you get to sell your reprints. That means more money for you and more exposure for your writing.