Friday, June 18, 2010

How to Get Published in an Anthology, Part 1

A great way to build up your writing clips is to submit personal essays to anthologies. It looks awesome on a query, it's a relatively fast route to publication (usually within six months of acceptance), and it proves you have the ability to tailor your work to a specific market.

In 2006, my essay about martial arts as a stress-reliever got published in a Chicken Soup for the Soul: Healthy Living anthology. The Chicken Soup and a Cup of Comfort books are always looking for submissions, and have easy-to-follow guidelines on topics, word counts, and styles. I saw their call for submissions on Craigslist in 2005 and followed a link to their main site for specifics and upload info.

Once I hit send, I received an email stating that each essay would be evaluated by "a variety of readers, including professionals who are interested in that topic, editors, writers, and contributors to previous Chicken Soup books." They would score each essay based on "how it made them feel (its emotional or humor content), interesting development of character or plot, and values learned or lessons taught."

After they accepted my story, I had to get signed permission from the real figures depicted (such as my martial arts instructor) to publish the piece. It was a bit scary writing about my real life, but also exciting to think that someone might read and enjoy it. The book's been on my shelf for a few years and every once in a while I pick it up and smile. You won't get rich from anthology publication, but it's a fun way to stretch your writing muscles in-between querying or working on longer pieces.

Next week for Part 2, I'll be interviewing the lovely Amy Spalding on her recent experiences getting published in the fantastic feminist anthology, "Click."


  1. great post and so true. I had never thought of it as a great writing exercise. But it really is. :0) Thanks!

  2. It's so interesting to me about the signed permission! I'm glad I didn't have to do that for my essay. "Will you swear you stated you would not take phone calls from black people?"

  3. @ Kristi: Glad you enjoyed! :)

    @ Amy: Hahahaaaa, eeep! Yeah, that would've been awkward. Stay tuned for your lovely Q & A soon