I’ve had for quite some time, as an item on my ‘to-do’ list: “Get involved in an author anthology”.
It’s been there so long that I can’t even find it on the list to cross it off.
You see…I lucked out. I actually got invited to get involved in just such a thing by some author friends of mine who were just so happening to put one together.
Now, I’m not here to try to sell it to you or anything. In fact, at the time of me writing this very post, I have very little more than a basic idea of a story to add to this anthology…one that should probably be completely dropped because of how ridiculous it is. (Update: In fact, now that I’ve written the story, I know it shouldn’t be included…but is officially in review for inclusion, I believe)
What I want to talk about is the very idea of an anthology altogether. Many of my author friends have been smart enough to get connected to author groups, you know, ones where they all work toward promoting each other, trying to look like a group of authors all published under the same brand, even though they’re all actually self-published. Many of these groups offer anthologies in order to showcase what their group is capable of.
And I’ve been jealous…
No, I’m (mostly) kidding. What I have been, however, is interested in the very concept. I’ve read a few of these anthologies and although I’ve found the quality levels of the different stories to be incredibly varied, they’ve definitely showcased some new talent for me. And if I were to ever find myself in the situation of not having something to read…I can tell you where I’d be looking next (I’ve been reading a lot these past few years and my to-read pile just doesn’t seem to get any smaller…).
In fact, I was so enthused by this idea of an anthology that I had initially started up my own idea of one…one that I’m still working out some of the kinks of, but that I think would be rather incredible, should I be able to work it out.
But the one that I’ve gotten myself involved in is actually, surprisingly, close to the ideas I’ve had…in that we’re working on a basic theme…something I’ve seen in other anthologies, not something I’m trying to pretend is unique. But it gives the reader something to start with. Other anthologies I’ve read have often had little short stories in them which aim at trying to get you to read their larger books and come off quite stunted. Here you’re getting entirely original content (well…in theory, I haven’t actually read any of the submissions yet) and really getting an idea of what the authors can do, instead of just getting more marketing material.
What I’m getting at here is that authors are strongest when working together…and authors work best together when they’re each getting something out of it 😉 Anthologies offer the best of these both worlds, allowing for others to really support each other, each bringing in their own audiences to increase the size of the combined force and really working toward making everyone do better at what they do.
And it really works out well for the readers as well, getting these little tastes of what other authors have to offer. I can tell you from the anthologies I’ve read (and the authors that were within them that I have read their longer works), you can quickly get an idea of what you’re going to get from these folks if you move onto their other stuff, even if you’re not the type of person to generally read short stories or whatever.
So…as an author, find those anthologies. those little booklets of books…and really get yourself into the hands of many new readers.
I’m pretty darned certain it will be worth your while. Here’s hoping it’ll be worth mine (when it releases sometime in October…).
Have fun out there!