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Seven Steps To Create A Collaborative Anthology

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An anthology is a collection of selected writings by various authors, and usually, the several stories or writings are in the same literary form, of the same period, or on the same theme. Alternatively, it can also be a collection of selected writings by one author.

These days, anthologies are very much in trend. For starters, they are quick reads. Readers can read the book at one stretch or by taking breaks between each story. Also, an anthology is a great gifting option to your book lover friend as you don’t have to worry if your friend will like the story or not. Since there are a plenty of stories in an anthology, your friend will never be disappointed.

If you are going through a writer’s block, writing for anthologies is a foolproof way to warm up your creativity. If you are a debutant author looking to build up your writing portfolio with publishing books, anthologies are the best ways to begin your writing career and make some money at the same time.

If you are interested in publishing a collaborative anthology, here is a definitive guide to writing and publishing an anthology.

  1. Find an interesting theme

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    Once you have decided that you want to create an anthology, the first step is to find an interesting topic. The theme can be as generic or as specific as you want it to be. You can merely decide a genre, say romance, and use it as a theme, or you can select a precise theme based on your chosen genre, i.e. “love letters to the person who friend zoned you.

    Alternatively, you can also choose a theme that can be written across various genres. This way, your anthology will be a collection of stories from diverse genres. For example, you can select a theme like childhood. The stories can be of any genre like philosophy, inspirational, non-fiction, romance, thriller, mystery, fantasy, horror, history, mythology, etc.

  2. Set SMART goals

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    Once you have decided the theme, go ahead and create a few goals. Your goals must be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. The goals can be something related to the deadline, what to do with the money earned from the book, etc.

    Some examples of such goals are:
    Make the anthology a tribute to Lekki massacre victims.
    Finish the book before December 2021.

    Once the goals are set, you need to start working towards them. Also, at this point, you must decide if you are going to go with traditional publishing or self-publish the book.

  3. Frame guidelines for contributing writers

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    This step is not only important, but it is also time-consuming. Despite being a collaborative work, an anthologys beauty is its streamlined layout and template. Therefore, it is mandatory to set a few guidelines for the contributors to follow.

    The first rule should be a regulation on the word count. It is quite ideal for each story to be 2000-5000 words. However, you can modify this calculation based on the number of stories you are going to use. Other guidelines can be about the tone, language, narration style, theme, formatting, etc.

    Finally, the most important guideline should be about the legal details. You need to write clear rules and regulations when it comes to copyright, royalty, and payment. If the amount earned via the book goes to charity, you need to specify that as well.

  4. Find a publisher

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    Once you have decided what kind of publishing you want to do, approach the various publishing houses that will be assisting you on the same. It’s prudent to talk to publishers even before the stories are finalized. This way, the forthcoming legal procedures can be hassle free.

    You can either write a proposal about your anthology to the publishing house asking them to consider the same or send them a sample story (the one you wrote) for feedback. Either way, you should have contacted a few publishers before even the anthology is ready for editing.

  5. Call for submissions

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    Nowadays, there are a lot of ways to call for submissions. If you have a circle of book lovers, writers, or bloggers, you can ask them personally to contribute. However, you can also put a social media post asking for contributors.

    In both the cases, make sure that you provide the guidelines clearly and discuss any legal details beforehand. This is another time-consuming step as it involves a lot of back-and-forth communications.

  6. Collect necessary documents and the manuscript

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    Apart from the manuscript, contributors participating in the anthology must provide you a copyright transfer form, a consent letter, etc. Also, if your anthology is based on real-life events, you might also need to get consent letters from the people involved.
    Share a copy of every legal document with your publisher as well.

  7. Edit the manuscripts:

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    Depending on the quality of entries, decide if you are going to publish them all or select the best ones. Once selected, edit the stories that will go on the anthology. Like in any book, even in anthologies, editing plays a significant role.

    To start with, editing anthologies is all the more tedious than usual stories. Therefore, it is advisable to have a professional editor to edit, proofread, and beta-read the stories.

    Once these seven steps are done, your anthology can be now placed safely in your publishers hands.

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