OK, I once worked at a college bookstore and recently stumbled upon a "Norton Anthologies of Poetry" in the Bookstore where I work. These were the mainstay of almost every college English class.
Seems like if you were "exploring" poetry or literature, that may be a good place to start.
Our bookstore, a chain, is pretty large ....but the "poetry" sections is only a few shelves. Literature comprises about 20% of the store, so an anthology would allow a broader scope of styles.
Of course a bookstore, is not a Library, yet many people feel this way. Our major chain store only has perhaps the top 25% of available "New" or even "Classic" Literature available. A Library probably has more, but books published more than 5-10 years ago, may only be available on-line or at a used bookstore..
Anthologies: Your Shortcut To Getting Published
By: Sophfronia Scott
What do you get when you mix a handful of writers, a hot topic and a snazzy title? You get an anthology--and one of the more popular form of books being published today. A recent article in the Sunday New York Times (see article at http://www.profcs.com/app/adtrack.asp?AdID=238123) noted "the wave of anthologies has not yet crested" and the phenomenon is still a great seller, especially for women writers. You can take advantage of this trend to get yourself published faster than working on your own. I know it might not be what you dreamed--sharing a byline and being in a book that's not wholely yours, but it is a way for a first time author to get a foot in the door--and I know of at least one publishing company, Love Your Life Publishing, with a program designed to help you do it in as little as six months! (You can find them at www.loveyourlife.com. Tell them The Book Sistah sent you so they'll treat you REALLY well!) Here's how you can start the legwork on your own.
Choose Your Topic
Anthologies are organized and driven by their subject matter. And the title usually makes it crystal clear what that subject is. Examples: "Maybe Baby: 28 Writers Tell the Truth About Skepticism, Infertility, Baby Lust, Childlessness, Ambivalence and How They Made the Biggest Decision of Their Lives"; "The Bastard on the Couch: 27 Men Try Really Hard to Explain Their Feelings About Love, Loss, Fatherhood and Freedom". When you choose your topic you'll want it, of course, to be something you're interested in writing about, but you'll also want it to feel as though you are responding to what's on the minds of a particular group or society at large. You'll want to do your best to plug into the zeitgeist because that's what will generate buzz about your book and get you interviewed in the media.
Gang Up! Find Your Co-Authors
Next, find other writers interested in participating. You can do this by Googling your subject and seeing what writers are already working in the field. You can also scan online groups, like on Yahoo, to find unpublished writers looking to do their first book as well. Note, if you are not self-publishing, you may need to entice a few known authors onto your list in order to pique a traditional publisher's interest.
FYI, Love Your Life Publishing is looking for contributors to an anthology they're assembling entitled "The Spirit of Women Entrepreneurs". If this is your expertise, contact Love Your Life for more details.
How Will You Publish and Split Costs?
If you self publish your anthology, you'll have to come up with a plan for how you'll handle the costs and oversee the project. Will it by "your baby", in which case you'll pay for the book's production (and possibly even pay the bigger name writers if that's what it takes to get them involved) and marketing costs. If you go in with a group of first timers, you'll all be able to split the costs, but it might be a good idea to have someone act as the project manager, to keep from having a "too many cooks" scenario develop.
Co-Market For Your Best Results
The best part about working with more than one writer is that you'll be able to use the muscle of marketing to more than one list. Ideally each writer will have their own list (either their personal contacts or a list they developed as part of a business) and that automatically multiplies the number of people you can reach with the book. You'll want to put your heads together to develop a good marketing plan so you're all sending out similar materials with a similar message. Again, you can designate a project manager to handle submitting the book to media markets (your co-authors can handle local media if they already have their own contacts). Hopefully everyone will pitch in and do their share. After all, if the book succeeds it could be the stepping stone the writers need to their own individual book contracts!
© 2006 Sophfronia Scott
About the Author:
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS ONE? See Sophfronia's The Book Sistah Blog, category "Articles". Author and Writing Coach Sophfronia Scott is "The Book Sistah" TM. Get her FREE REPORT, "The 5 Big Mistakes Most Writers Make When Trying to Get Published" and her FREE online writing and publishing tips at http://www.TheBookSistah.com
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