Anthologies: How to Boost Your Writing Credentials

Written by A Guest Author | January 17, 2017

By K.N. Johnson

“Oh, you’re a writer! Have you published a book?”

For some writers, this question is easy to answer. Their Amazon or Goodreads author page confirms their writerly status with a list of traditionally or self-published books. For those still working on a first book, admitting we’re not yet published can feel like defeat.

But completing an entire novel isn’t the only way to have your work published and in a reader’s hands.

An anthology is a collection of stories written by different authors. The Chicken Soup series is a best-selling example. Anthologies focus on a theme or genre and may include short stories, poems, and varying lengths of fiction known as flash or short, short fiction.

Some anthologies are published in both digital and print while some are only available as digital editions. Either way, the anthology can be listed as a writing credit on each author’s bio – it can even appear as a snazzy book icon on your Amazon and Goodreads author page.

Anthologies are published by large, small, and micro presses. More well-known publishers receive thousands of submissions while smaller presses may receive hundreds. Since many anthologies accept simultaneous submissions, you can submit the same story to different publishers and increase your chances of an acceptance and another writing credit.

Some pay upfront with a flat sum or per word while others provide a contract. Most contracts explain that royalties will be paid after sales cover publishing costs. Royalties are then divided by the number of authors in the anthology.

Anthology contracts usually don’t hold exclusive rights to your work, which means you can include your story in your own collection. Those reprinted stories give your collection extra credibility.

How do you find anthologies to submit to?

The best first step is to search on Google and on Facebook for “submission calls” or “anthology markets” for publishers seeking submissions. Subscribe to e-magazines such as Authors Publish to receive alerts.

Find submission calls on webpages such as Cathy’s Comps and Calls, Freedom With Writing, Horror Tree, New Pages, Places for Writers, and The Submission Grinder.

Most anthologies are on a specific theme or focus. Such as Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul, or Till the Tides (an anthology of mermaid poems).   It can be hard to find an anthology that fits work you have already written.

When you submit follow the publisher’s guidelines. If they request standard manuscript format or ask you to remove identification from your story, be sure you do.

As writers, we know we’re going to get a collection of rejection slips. Don’t set yourself up to question the quality of your story when it could have been rejected because it simply didn’t fit the publisher’s needs. In other words don’t submit a dog poem to Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul.

In the meantime, keep working on that novel. When you’re ready to query agents, publishers, or self-publish, you’ll have an established author page and bio with writing credits that will gain attention.


Bio: K.N. Johnson won first place in Mythraeum’s short story contest and her story “Frigid” is now in the running for development as a short film. Her short fiction has appeared in Proximity Magazine plus the anthologies A Journey of Words, Polterguests , and Incandescent Mind, the literary journal of Sadie Girl Press. She has served as an Acquisitions Editor for Mighty Quill Books and worked as a local reporter. You can follow her at https://www.facebook.com/knjohnsonauthor.