5 Tips for Creating an Anthology

The paperback version of Rich Fabric, the anthology, will launch on Friday, 9/28/2012.

I’ve learned quite a bit in the process of putting together this anthology and editing it.

Here’s the Top 5 Things I’m taking away from the experience so far:

1. Consider making it a non-profit project

There are a few reasons for this, but here are two to consider –

A. People are generally more eager to contribute to something that benefits a charity or non-profit organization.

Example: I asked several people to be a part of this anthology project (more on this later), and only three people declined. Everyone else was full steam ahead! This particular anthology will have all profits donated to the Twilight Wish Foundation (benefits Senior Citizens living below the poverty level).

B. People are generally more eager to purchase something that benefits a charity or non-profit organization.

I have had so many people ask about purchasing a copy or multiple copies of the anthology because they want to support the charity.

2. Choose a topic that is specific but not too narrow.

I’ve been involved with anthology projects before that were “concepts” – which is fine. However, I wanted to be open to all sorts of creative endeavors for this anthology – short stories, memoirs, biographies, history facts and essays, quotes, photos, illustrations. And, when the ebook version comes out, there will be songs and videos as well.

My topic for the anthology is quilting. My approach was to focus on the culture, tradition and symbolism of quilting. People (again, more on that in a minute) I invited to take part in the anthology were free to submit whatever artistic venture they felt best fit their interpretation of that topic.

I LOVE the variety of approaches to the theme!

3. Choose your people carefully!

As I mentioned earlier, only three people either declined or dropped out.

When I discussed details of the project being a non-profit, one person said “thanks but no thanks” – I understand that decision.

One person agreed to do it, but health issues came up and prevented that person from being a part of the project – again, I understand that this happens, and I hope to work with this person at some point in the future.

And, one person agreed to do it, was super involved, and then… nothing. Not a peep.

I didn’t post an open call for submissions.

I handpicked the people who submitted to the anthology. I chose people I had connections with who I enjoyed their creative process and their style. And, every one of those people who contributed to the anthology did an absolutely BRILLIANT job, brilliant.

Which brings me to point 4.

4. Remember the anthology is a “group” project

By this, I mean you don’t want a whole anthology full of mini-me, carbon copies of you. Every one of these people has their own voice, their own style, their own approach. If I didn’t think they could produce quality material, I wouldn’t have asked them to be a part of the project. So, I edited for grammar and punctuation, but, for the most part, I left their voice and style alone.

I wanted each of their unique voices to come through in their pieces they contributed to the anthology.

5. Focus on the Goal

From the beginning, I wanted something that would allow all of these talented people I know to showcase their abilities. I believed that what we could produce together, in this case, was greater than the sum of the individual parts.

I wanted a specific feel to the overall work while giving each person the outlet to express their unique talents.

I wanted to incorporate current events (people who quilt now, new techniques) as well as a historic approach (history of certain patterns, quilting circles, memoirs), along with creative expressions found in short stories and photographs.

Keeping that vision in mind has helped me with the gathering and editing process.



About melindamcguirewrites

The young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat. ------ William Faulkner, Nobel Prize Speech, Stockholm, 1950
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5 Responses to 5 Tips for Creating an Anthology

  1. As a children’s and young adult to adult writer I feel that most of the writers today don’t put most of their heart into their writing, whether it’s, a short story, memoir, nonfiction, poetry, etc,. I mostly write from the heart of how I feel at the time I am writing whatever piece I am penning down on paper and other times I write about the realities I view almost every day and I write it into my work of dark fiction or scifi. If I am writing an Anthology I try to remember years from now how my work will look on tv or to an new generation of children and what meaning will my work have for them and others. I want to be remembered in my work for how well I did and how it reached millions.

  2. I know you must have worked so hard putting this project together. Thanks for all your efforts! Now counting down until next Friday! 🙂

  3. Pingback: Now I Lay Me Down To Reap (Literary Horror Anthology) | Cabin GoddessCabin Goddess

  4. I think you are doing a marvelous thing. A group project takes a lot of coordination. And I’d love to work with you some time in the future.

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