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Anne R. Allen's Blog


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Anne writes funny mysteries and how-to-books for writers. She also writes poetry and short stories on occasion. Oh, yes, and she blogs. She's a contributor to Writer's Digest and the Novel and Short Story Writer's Market for 2016. 

Her bestselling Camilla Randall Mystery Series features perennially down-on-her-luck former socialite Camilla Randall—who is a magnet for murder, mayhem and Mr. Wrong, but always solves the mystery in her quirky, but oh-so-polite way.

Anne lives on the Central Coast of California, near San Luis Obispo, the town Oprah called "The Happiest City in America."

Anne blogs at Anne R. Allen's Blog...with Ruth Harris 
and at Anne R. Allen's Books

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Anthologies are Hot: How to Tell a Great Opportunity from a Pay-to-Play Scam

The Oxford dictionary says the word "anthology" comes from a Greek phrase meaning a collection of flowers. I love that image. An anthology is a place to display literary or musical works that have been chosen to work together—like a floral bouquet.

I've had the privilege of contributing to seven great anthologies over the past few years. The latest, a collection of personal essays from a broad spectrum of successful authors, debuts this month: Indiestructible: Inspiring Stories from the Publishing Jungle.

It's especially empowering for writers thinking of going the self-publishing or small press route. But all writers will enjoy the stories of authors' struggles and successes on the road to publication. It's a wonderfully inspiring book—and only 99c!

Anthologies have long been one of the best ways for a new writer to get publishing credits and start building an audience. They're also a great way for an established author to increase visibility. Collections of short personal essays do especially well, but theme anthologies that include fiction and poetry are strong sellers, too, and their popularity is growing.

Unfortunately, anthologies have got themselves a bad name among a lot of savvy people in the industry, because so many vanity publishers and scammers have used them to bilk naïve writers.

Here are the types of good and not-so-good anthologies you may encounter:


The Vanity Anthology

The vanity poetry anthology has been around for at least half a century. I remember when a sweet older poet in my town got so excited by her "acceptance" that she sent out press releases before she realized she'd been had.

The operation works like this: writers are invited to enter a "free contest" with a "prize" of inclusion in an anthology. Thing is, every piece entered gets accepted and the books cost $40 or more. So for $40 a copy, you get the privilege of seeing your work crammed into a huge book with a boatload of dreck. As Joe Konrath says, "Do the numbers. If there are 3000 poems in the book, and each writer in the anthology bought at least one copy, the publisher made $120,000."

Poetry dot Com was a famous vanity anthology outfit that flourished in the last decade. (The domain name has been bought by Lulu, where they're attempting to rehabilitate the brand.)

The Pay-to-Play Anthology

The bogus poetry anthology is bad, but there are other, even nastier scams out there. Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware tells of two vanity anthologies who have bilked writers out of up to $5000 each in what she calls the "pay to play" anthology scam. These anthologies of personal essays often mimic the highly successful Chicken Soup books, but instead of paying you, they expect you to pay them. Lots.

The Wake Up…Live the Life You Love series publishers boasted they included articles by well-known inspirational speakers like Dr. Wayne Dyer...but the pieces were simply reprints of old articles. Then they required contributors to buy up to 500 books each at a cost of several thousand dollars.

Another series, published by Inspired Living Publishing, required contributors to pay big bucks for worthless “marketing packages” as well as a huge number of overpriced books.

Always check Writer Beware before you sign on the dotted line.

However, most anthologies are fantastic venues for your writing. There are many good ones, both in print and ebook.

Great Opportunities

The Traditionally Published Inspirational Anthology

These are a boon to newbies. The venerable Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies and their cousins are an excellent way to start a professional writing career. (Alas, the Cup of Comfort series from Adams Media has quit production, and I see McAfee blocks their old site as dangerous, so don't go looking for them.) These collections usually pay a flat fee for a personal essay, plus a generous number of copies.

Acceptance can be a big ego boost, and it's a nice credit for your query letter or author bio. (Authors planning to go indie should work on getting credits, too. They show you have a body of work that has been vetted, which helps you stand out from the crowd.)

The Traditionally Published Fiction or Poetry Anthology

Right now, short fiction anthologies are trending. Short fiction is ideal for reading on phones and tablets. For more on the new popularity of short fiction, see my posts, Short is the New Long and Why You Should Be Writing Short Fiction.  and a piece in praise of short stories in BookRiot this week.

Because of all this, some publishers are bringing back vintage short fiction in new collections. This week, Sarah Weinman's compilation of vintage Ellery Queen stories, Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives: Stories from the Trailblazers of Domestic Suspensemakes its debut from Penguin.

Publishers often put together an anthology with a theme and issue an open call for submissions. They usually pay a flat fee for first rights and may also give copies.

C. Hope Clark's Funds for Writers and Poets and Writers classifieds are good places to find vetted anthologies looking for submissions.

A few years ago, I found a call for submissions from the Silver Boomer press in Hope's newsletter and sold a poem to the anthology: From the Porch Swing, Memories of our Grandparents . I got paid and became a "published poet" at a time I couldn't give my fiction away. An excellent experience, (although I might have wished for more colorful cover.)

The Indie Fiction Anthology

Indie publishers often put together short story anthologies to showcase their clients' work. The Saffina Desforges Presents Coffee Break Collection is a showcase of MWiDP authors. Inclusion helped me get the attention of fans of their better known authors when I first signed with them.

Genre groups like Sisters in Crime sometimes put together themed anthologies like Somewhere in Crime, a collection of historical mysteries written by the members of the Central Coast Sisters in Crime chapter. It's a fantastic collection by some of the area's best crime writers.

These days, a launch party for a single title isn't terribly cost effective, but launching an anthology for a large group of local writers gets on the local news and can garner everybody more visibility on their home turf. I didn't have time to contribute to Somewhere in Crime, but I got to go to a great party and buy a wonderfully entertaining book.

Sometimes indie authors get together to put out a theme ebook anthology like the WG2E Martini Madness. Since I happened to have a story on hand about drinking appletinis with an alien, I rushed to contribute to that one.

The overhead on an ebook or POD anthology is much less than the old print anthologies so they're cheaper to put together—and they showcase all the authors to each others' fans

The Charity Anthology

Charity anthologies are hot. These are the ones where you donate your work and the proceeds go to a good cause. Both small publishers and self-publishing collectives have had success with these. Jump on the chance to be included if you get an invitation. No, you won't make any money directly, but you'll get a huge amount of free publicity and exposure to new readers.

Plus you're doing a good thing.

Also, a charity anthology saves the editorial staff the paperwork headaches trying to get small royalties to dozens of people. It's win/win. Just make sure you run it by the charity first to make sure you can use their name.

Author Paul Fahey—former editor of Mindprints magazine—put together an anthology of essays by well-known LGBT authors called The Other Man, published by JMS publishing this summer. It is getting fantastic coverage in the trad print magazines as well as online. Many of the contributors are well known, established authors. Profits go to the "It Gets Better" project that helps bullied LGBT teens. (I personally recommend this one for readers who don't mind a little "R" rated content. Every essay is fascinating—and what a great cause!) And it's 40% off on the JMS site this weekend.

Probably the most successful charity anthology I've been involved with was the inspiring Indie Chicks Anthology of personal essays by independent women authors, which donates all its proceeds to breast cancer research. I'm sure the Indie Chicks are partly responsible for the success I'm having now. The anthology included some of the top indie authors in women's fiction, mystery, and romance. Since they invited
me just as my first novel Food of Love was being republished in 2011, I got a ride on their coattails. Their many fans read my piece and checked out my work. I'm very grateful to this terrific group of women.

I'm also grateful to the (now disbanded) Literary Lab, who accepted my work for two of their anthologies: Genre Wars and Notes from Underground at a point when my fiction writing career was stalled and I was starting to despair. Proceeds went to literacy charities. Not only did I get my work into print again and put my name back into the marketplace, but I met a group of awesome writers who were supportive and helpful at a low point in my career.

Now it's four years later and I'm totally jazzed to be included in Indiestructible with some of the authors who appeared in the Literary Lab books. It also includes a number of authors who frequently visit this blog. It gives 100% of proceeds to BUILDON.org, an international movement which breaks the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations through service and education.

Indiestructible brings together the experiences of 29 indie authors—their passions, insights, and successes—to help new authors who are trying to decide if they should make the leap into indie publishing.

It's not a how-to guide, but it gives you first-hand information to help you on your journey.

The editor of Indiestructible is author Jessica Bell, whose blog, the Alliterative Allomorph was one of the first blogs I followed when I ventured into the blogosphere.

Remember how I keep telling you networking on blogs will help your career? This is one of the ways. Invitations to six of the seven anthologies came to me through people I met on blogs.

Or you could try putting together an anthology yourself. If you know a group of writers who write in a similar genre, whose work you admire, think about asking them to join you. It's hard work, but if everybody works on the marketing, you can reach a huge audience you'd never find on your own.

What about you, scriveners? Have you ever contributed to an anthology? Was it a good experience? Have you ever been scammed by one? Have you discovered new authors reading anthologies? 

This week: I'm visiting Canadian author June McCullough to talk about my upcoming books any my own favorite characters. (And thanks, my Canadian fans, for making the Camilla boxed set #16 in single women's fiction this week!)

This month: while I recover from some surgery that's turned out to be a bigger deal than I expected, we'll have a parade of superstar guest posters:

September 8th: Catherine Ryan Hyde, a literary icon who reached #1 author status on Amazon this summer—she even knocked J.K. Rowling off her perch—will talk about rejection: what it means and what it doesn't.

September 15th: Alex J. Cavanaugh, sci-fi author, blogging ninja, and one of my fellow Indiestructible contributors, will post about forming a blog community, something he knows a lot about.

September 22nd: The blokes from EBookBargainsUK will tell us about the vast, untapped international market every indie needs to know about. (BTW, EBUK has had some technical difficulties this weekend but should be up and running by next week.)

September 29th: Our own NYT bestseller Ruth Harris is back in her regular spot, talking about how to protect yourself from writing scams.

On a personal note: For those concerned about my health, the lump they removed was benign and I'm going to be fine. I just need more time to heal.

It's been complicated by the fact I broke my own rules recently and let my inner Atticus Finch speak up at an ill-advised moment. (Never try to reason with rageaholics: you're only volunteering to be their next fix.) A legal team who monitors online hate groups informed my publishers I've been marked to be targeted with negative reviews and other harassment. So if you see any trollish comments here, ignore them—don't make my mistake and respond—and I'll delete ASAP.

And please, anybody who has read and enjoyed the humor of the Camilla Randall Mysteries, if you could take the time to write a genuine review on Amazon—I desperately need your help. It would make all the difference. Only a couple of sentences are necessary and all that's required is to be an Amazon customer. Waking up every day to a new nasty review by some "reviewer" who only repeats what other negatives has said and has never reviewed anything else gets pretty discouraging.

Bonus: any English major who notes in a review the parallels between the first Camilla book and Fanny Burney's 1796 novel, Camilla, a Picture of Youth, gets your choice of any of my books—paper or ebook—free.

Book Deal of the Week

The fourth Camilla Mystery, No Place Like Home 
99c for one more week on Amazon US, Amazon UKAmazon CA etc.

It's #4 in the series, but reads as a stand-alone.

"A warp-speed, lighthearted comedy mystery, No Place Like Home offers lasting laughs beneath which a message resounds – Being homeless is scary. 

There’s a dastardly dead husband, a Ponzi scheme, a long-lost love, a new love who keeps vanishing and a tiny dog named Toto. Add a cross-dressing hooker and a Colombian drug cartel, and the pleasant little community Oprah named “The Happiest City in the USA” is revealed to be a bit more complex than the lady noticed.

The perfect read for the next time an escape from everything sounds like fun!"...Abigail Padgett

Opportunity Alerts

1) Quirk Books "Looking for Love" contest. They offer a $10,000 prize for the best quirky love story of 50,000 words or more. Visit the Quirk Books website to download the entry form or for further information. Quirk Books was founded in 2002 and publishes around 25 books each year. Their bestselling titles include Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Entries close October 1. 

2) Writer's Digest Popular Fiction Awards. Since most short fiction contests tend to favor literary work, this is a great one for genre authors. Choose your favorite genre and enter your best in 4,000 words or less. Six first prizes of $500 each and a Grand Prize of $2,500 and a trip to the 2013 Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City. Deadline September 16th

3) The Harper's Bazaar UK Short Story Prize is open to all writers. NO ENTRY FEE. Are you the next Dorothy Parker or Anita Loos? Submit an original short story (up to 3,000 words) on the subject of 'spring' to:shortstory@harpersbazaar.co.uk. The winning entry will appear in the May 2014 issue. Its author will be able to choose a first-edition book from Asprey's Fine and Rare Books Department to the value of £3,000 and enjoy a week-long retreat at Eilean Shona House, on the 2,000-acre private island off the west coast of Scotland where JM Barrie wrote his screenplay for Peter Pan. Deadline December 13th.

4) BARTLEBY SNOPES WRITING CONTEST - Can you write a story that's in dialog only? $10 ENTRY FEE A minimum of $300 will be awarded, with at least $250 going to first place and at least $10 to four honorable mentions. 5 finalists will also appear in Issue 11 of the magazine due out in January 2014. Last year they awarded $585 in prize money. For every entry over 25, an additional $5 will be awarded to the first place story. Compose a short story entirely of dialogue. You may use as many characters as you want. Your entry must be under 2,000 words. Your entry does not have to follow standard rules for writing dialogue. Your entry cannot use any narration (this includes tag lines such as he said, she said, etc.) Deadline September 15th

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Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

And very honored to be included with you in the anthology! It's a talented group of indie and small publisher authors.
It's my second anthology this year. I was also invited to contribute to both stages of The Tree of Life, but due to the timing (now, while I'm frantically preparing for CassaStorm's release and tour), I had to decline.
Looking forward to visiting here in two weeks!

September 1, 2013 at 10:46 AM  
Blogger Karen Walker said...

Wow, so sorry about your health and being targeted for such negativity. I am honored to be included in this anthology as well. It's an awesome group of writers. I love anthologies. My first published piece was in an anthology called "Chocolate for a Woman's Blessings" and it launched my independent writing career.

September 1, 2013 at 11:09 AM  
Blogger Jessica Bell said...

Anne, what a fabulous way to include Indiestructible on your blog! I knew you would do something that both gets the word out and offers a wealth of information. Love this post. And ... I was one of the first blogs you followed? I had no idea! *blushes* THANK YOU AGAIN! So proud to have you in Indiestructible. xx

September 1, 2013 at 11:15 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Alex--Thanks for taking the time to comment when you're in the middle of a launch. Nobody knows busy until they've been an author getting ready to launch a new title. Looking forward to your visit and thanks for taking the reins while I recuperate.

Karen--The "Chocolate" series was one of the best of the "Chicken Soup" type anthologies. I'm so sorry they've stopped producing them. Many authors, like you, broke into print that way. Thanks for the sympathy. I didn't know how vicious these people could be or what damage they'd do to my career. Horrible people. Gotta hope that old karma gets back to them really soon.

Jessica--Thanks! I'd been planning a piece on anthologies anyway, and this worked in so well. Thanks for all your hard work putting it together!

September 1, 2013 at 11:35 AM  
Blogger widdershins said...

Having just been there with the surgery thing, I can commiserate ... hope your convalescence goes smoothly and gently.

I got dinged by Poetry.com in my early years. Never fell for that scam again. They do say fire is the greatest teacher.

September 1, 2013 at 12:33 PM  
Blogger Judith said...

So sorry to hear about the targeting - what is with those folks!?! I just bought No Place Like Home & will write a real review in the next day or three.

September 1, 2013 at 12:43 PM  
OpenID paulfahey said...

Anne, thank you so very much for the shout out and the book and review listings for our anthology, The Other Man. I know the contributors will be as grateful as I for this wonderful acknowledgment. Hope during your absence you get in some ME time that you very much deserve and come back strong and healthy. You are an absolute treasure and we'll miss you so hurry back. Your Camilla Randall series is one of my all time favorites so we'll do what we can to rally the troops.

All the best,

September 1, 2013 at 1:13 PM  
Blogger Julie Luek said...

As always, thanks for the great tips. I've wondered about a few anthologies I've looked into. I find I have to really read through the fine print and even then I sometimes wonder what they're leaving out.

Also. ARGHGH and GRRR on all the Mean People who are making your life a headache with your books. That's just so nasty. Continuing to send you healing prayers.

September 1, 2013 at 1:17 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Anne—Scam anthologies are new to me (!) but writer-scamming has a long, dishonorable history. Back in TradPub days, there was something called "fee reading." Run by scuzzy agents and other bottom feeders, the writer sent in his/her ms and $$$$. In return, s/he got a "reading." Essentially worthless but went on for years. Maybe still continues even now. I would not be surprised.

There is always some new depth to which Mean People can sink. They thrive on their own envy, anger, destructiveness. I'm sorry you are going through this.

As to your medical issues, I will STFU. You've already had enough lectures from me!!! :-)

September 1, 2013 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger Laura Pauling said...

Glad you're okay and just need time to heal! Very cool about being in so many anthologies. :) I'm looking forward to reading all the advice in Indiestructable! :)

September 1, 2013 at 2:29 PM  
Blogger Lexa Cain said...

Thanks for all the tips about scammers and good opportunities. I so sorry to hear your health isn't good, but pleased to know you are recovering.

It's HORRIBLE about the bullies trashing your books. May their bad karma catch up with them soon. Anyone who writes can be a target - it's dreadful. On the good side, they only went after one, and your body of work and its quality will speak for itself over time. You'll continue attracting fans no matter what those &@#% do! :-)

September 1, 2013 at 3:38 PM  
Blogger Donna L Martin said...

You must have read my mind! I was just asking around last week on how to get more information about anthology opportunities. Thanks for this insightful article.

Great post!

Donna L Martin

September 1, 2013 at 3:42 PM  
OpenID Kris A Kramer said...

I have been dealing with computer issues and fretting over getting my new blog rolling for so long, that I had no idea you had a lump or a rage-inspired moment. One, if there was rage, I can only imagine it was well earned; I am sorry to hear of it and wish you nothing but the best. Two, thrilled to hear the lump was benign. I went through something similar over twenty years ago. Numbing experience. Best of health, happiness, and--what the heck--wealth to you :-)

September 1, 2013 at 4:16 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Widdershins—Sorry to hear you had to go through the surgery thing too. It's not fun.

Judith—Thanks so much for the kindness and support. I hope you enjoy the read.

Paul—Your anthology is fantastic. I hope it gets huge success.

Julie—Thanks much for the prayers. Honestly I think most anthologies are great these days. Just beware too much hype or promises of riches.

Ruth—You'll be happy to know friends kidnapped me this afternoon and took me out to dance on the beach to the best Cali-Cubano jazz band on the Central Coast. An idyllic afternoon and evening. I feel able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. And land on a troll.

Laura—I'm so glad to be part of Indiestructible with you!

Lexa—Thanks so much for pointing out to all of us how to report abuse on the Site that Shall Not Be Named. It's much in need of adult supervision. I'll be linking to that post when I come back in October.

Donna—I'm so glad this came at an opportune time for you. C. Hope Clark's newsletter is a great resource.

Kris—Thanks. We're a large club, aren't we? I wasn't the one with the rage. I tried to reason with somebody who I didn't realize was on a rage high. Never try to reason with a drunk or a fool. Internet trolls are both.

September 1, 2013 at 8:15 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

Great info as always. I think you're doing such a service here as there seems to be endless opportunities with all the self-publishing models out there. I've had an essay in an anthology about modern Judaism and I was invited to submit an essay to one about Jewish mothers. Mostly I did it because I respect the other writers participating, but there has not been any other opportunities that came out of those. (Not yet at least!)

September 1, 2013 at 8:35 PM  
Blogger aman kesherwani said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

September 2, 2013 at 2:10 AM  
Blogger M.L. Swift said...


I'll be promoting Indiestructable on my blog sometime this month. I had no idea you were a contributor! What fun.

Thanks for the thorough take on anthologies! Very intelligent and enlightening post. This will be a pleasure to read...love Jessica, too, and have her Nutshell series.

As always, it's a pleasure coming over here, and I will never worry about my post word count again. One needs words to make a point, and when the point is made so wonderfully, as is yours, the length matters not. Thanks, Anne.

And be well. Glad the lump was benign. Heal.

M.L. Swift, Writer

September 2, 2013 at 4:36 AM  
Blogger Sisters in Crime Central Coast Chapter said...

My stint as co-editor of "Somewhere in Crime," was not without obstacles, but the rewards have been great. The latest being of course your words about the anthology. This is the sixth (but who's counting?) that a loose group of Sisters, writing as Central Coast Mystery Writers, has published.

September 2, 2013 at 9:18 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Nina--Anthologies like those are usually a great way to reach new readers. You may not have seen results yet, but they'll come in various ways--somebody will see your name and remember they read you in the anthology, so they're more likely to click on your blog link, or whatever. Small things, but they add up.

M.L. We do tend to write longer posts here, because it's weekly. This tends to be a "destination" blog, where people come for a visit rather than a glance. I'm so glad to be in Indiestructible with you! Make sure you let us all know when your post is up.

Sisters--The SinC anthologies have all been good, but this is my favorite. Lots of wonderful writing. Thanks for the copy you gave me for speaking to your chapter!

September 2, 2013 at 9:41 AM  
Blogger Julie Musil said...

I'm so lame...I didn't even know there were anthology scams out there. Sad. Thanks for the great information!

September 2, 2013 at 7:39 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Julie--That's not lame. It's mostly only a problem for poets. And I don't know of any scammy anthologies for YA or children's authors, so you're good :-)

September 2, 2013 at 8:05 PM  
Blogger Rosi said...

So glad to read the word "benign" here! YAY for you! This post has so much valuable information. Thanks.

September 3, 2013 at 10:13 AM  
Blogger Crystal Collier said...

Two anthologies for me, and yes, I've discovered a couple authors I ADORE through anthologies, but only if I picked them up in the library. I don't buy anthologies. Is that a double standard?

September 4, 2013 at 7:11 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Rosi--"Benign" was the nicest thing I've heard in quite a while. But waiting for the test results made me crazy. I'm still dealing with the aftermath of the anxiety, I think.

Crystal--I'm so glad to hear you found new authors in anthologies. Libraries need support too, so I don't want to knock that. But e-anthologies like Indiestructible cost less than a dollar. Less than my usual library fine. :-)

September 4, 2013 at 2:19 PM  
Blogger Debra Eve | Later Bloomer said...

Anne, So glad you're taking a bit of R&R. Promise to get those reviews up ASAP! Love the two most recent Camillas -- I'm reading them backwards :). And I got the Indiestructible anthology, since I admire so many of the authors, including you. Hang in there, the good guys always win (at least in my stories)!

September 5, 2013 at 12:07 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Debra--Thanks much for buying Indiestructible! I'm so glad you're enjoying the Camilla books. A lot of people seem to, in spite of the flurry of sock puppet reviews.

September 5, 2013 at 9:11 AM  
Blogger Donna Fasano said...

Anne, I'm so pleased to see the Indie Chicks Anthology mentioned on your post. I've never been involved in a more positive project as that one.

September 6, 2013 at 12:06 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Donna--I feel so lucky to have been part of such a fantastic anthology--and such supportive group of writers.

And major congrats on your new book deal with Montlake!!

September 6, 2013 at 1:54 PM  
Blogger Claude Nougat said...

Anne, here's to your health and do take care, make sure you get all the rest you need! Getting up too soon can be a very bad idea and set you back. So please be careful!

What an interesting subject for a post! Anthologies are great when they're genuine and thanks for pointing out the fakes, this is the kind of useful advice that makes your blog a must-visit every week.

I only participated in one poetry anthology, Freeze Frame, edited by British poet Oscar Sparrow and available on Amazon (perhaps you've read him - he's very good, and oh,totally honest and above board, the genuine article). We were just 6 poets in total,3 Europeans and 3 Americans, each with about 5 or 6 poems, so it wasn't a big unwieldy thing. There was space for each of us. I'd say about the right length for me and it was a wonderful experience.

The experience was both surprising and uplifting. Oscar contacted me (by email, we don't live in the same city) asking me if I had any poems in my drawers (since I'm known for my fiction in, ahem, a still rather restricted group!)I I had to confess that yes, I've written poems just about all my life (as most fiction writers do, no doubt) but I had never kept them anywhere nor ever thought of publishing them. I tend to write a piece, moved by a particular moment in my life, then lose it!

So I made an effort and wrote about Rome, what I love in Rome and how this town connects to the human condition (it does for me, sorry if that sounds grand, I don't mean it that way at all...) Then Oscar liked them so much that he included my work in his anthology and I was super happy and gratified to find myself among recognized poets!

The best thing about anthologies (when they work out like this one) is that you find yourself working close with others. Suddenly, you're not a lonely writer anymore and that's a wonderful feeling, I'm very grateful to Oscar for having drawn me in!

It's an experience I would recommend to any new writer, really wonderful, provided of course, it's genuine.

September 8, 2013 at 8:44 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Claude--Thanks for the long, thoughtful comment. Your anthology experience sounds like the one I had with the Indie Chicks. Our group really became a community, and I got to know wonderful authors much farther on the path to success than I was at that point.

I'm a "closet poet" too. I only write a few poems a year, so I don't put "poet" on my resume. But when I get a poem accepted in a literary journal or anthology, that makes acceptance all the sweeter.

September 8, 2013 at 9:52 AM  
Blogger Marta Tandori said...

I'm absolutely thrilled to have found your blog, ladies! There's so much wonderful information here. My intro to your blog came by way of an older post that dealt with not being able to party like it was 2009. Your comments were insightful and and spot on. Keep up the wonderful work - writers like me will be forever in your debt.

September 26, 2013 at 6:29 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Marta--Welcome! So glad to hear you find our blog useful. It's hard to keep up in our rapidly changing business, but we try to help out when we can. We make the mistakes so you don't have to. :-)

September 26, 2013 at 9:49 AM  
Blogger Linda Adams said...

I've contributed to a number of anthologies, and right now have a piece in to a pro-rate one. I'm working on two other stories for pro-rate anthologies also.

However, it hasn't always been a good experience. I had two acceptances that turned nasty. In one case, it looked like the publisher suddenly decided it didn't want to publish the book, so they got into a really silly spat with the editor of it over the name of the book versus a store she owned.

A second was really bad. It was a military anthology for charity for a veteran's memorial. They got so many submissions that they were going to publish a second volume. I was one of the writers in the second volume. The editor had an auto accident and was seriously injured. We were all understanding about, but as time dragged on, none of us wanted our stories left in limbo either. All the editor needed to do was say she planned to do the anthology once she recovered or that she wasn't going to. That was it. And we could not get that out of her or her husband. Everyone would have been willing to wait, so it was very frustrating to be in stuck in that limbo. Eventually one of the writers sent her an email and said she was going to build the anthology. But even that was fraught with problems. She initially wanted to go with Publish America to get it printed. I had to tell her that if she did that, I was going to pull the plug on mine. She eventually got a small press publisher for it, and it was published.

Now though, I won't contribute to one unless it's pro rates, even if I like the theme. I'm also seeing far too many who say, "We pay royalties." That's a fancy way of saying, "We're probably not going to pay you at all."

October 6, 2013 at 4:24 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Linda--Sorry you've had bad experiences. Lots of people have. The old fashioned "royalty-paying" print anthology almost never pays a thing. Production costs were high and there weren't usually many profits. So you're right to ask for professional rates up front.

But the new kind of anthology I'm talking about is for advertising and visibility, not making a few bucks.

The new e-anthology that doesn't cost much to produce and pays profits to charity gets your name out there without pretending to pay profits "someday." It's an advertising venue, not a money-making product. When you consider the price of advertising, that $50-$100 bucks or so you would have got for a story in an old fashioned anthology is translated into much more than $50-$100 worth of advertising.

October 6, 2013 at 8:36 PM  

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