Monday, January 30, 2017

'The Life Unexpected': An Anthology Journey Opens Doors

This past Saturday something special happened. Women shared their voices, their stories and their lives at a local bookstore by reading their published writing. In a shopping plaza about 40 miles west of Philadelphia, energy and powerful sharing took place.

And the public bought our books and asked us to sign them. Along the writer's way, it doesn't get much better than that.

The anthology journey opens doors; meeting new readers and enriching our lives through conversations and sharing at book signings, library talks, and on blogs; learning and sharing with other writers.

Here are some observations for those considering participating in an anthology, which can be an intensive experience.

Built into the anthology experience is editing.
Although I served as one of the editors on The Life Unexpected, we forged a true collaboration by breaking up our sixteen writers into beta reader groups of four.

The more eyes and input, the richer the product. That said, not every contributor is comfortable with critiquing another writer's work and shouldn't be forced to do so.

I served on a “core” committee for the book charged with final decision-making; some of us on the committee of five had more experience in copy editing and proofreading than developmental editing; some more in publishing and design.

Working with our publisher, Lucky Star Publishing, was an added plus in cover design, interior formatting and sheer legwork dealing with a printer/designer, ISBNs, bookstore distribution.

Here’s more how to develop an anthology in this post about our first anthology, Slants of Light: Stories and Poems from the Women’s Writing Circle.

I’ve seen anthologies pop up all over the local writing terrain; sadly, some look amateurish. If you’re asking the public to pay hard-earned money for your book, offer a quality product. A beautiful cover can't be underestimated.

Due to editing, a couple contributors thanked us, but passed. Because we had a clear vision for the book―the writer had to adhere to the ‘life unexpected’ theme and present a piece in creative, storytelling fashion―we accepted only the strongest stories and poems with that in mind.

There are a lot of great things about being part of an anthology, which I’ve written about here and will be featured next week on Memoir Writer’s Journey when I write about the diversity of our collaboration. 

Undoubtedly, one of the most enjoyable is seeing your work published and out there.

Here are photographs of our "Meet the Authors" day, with special thanks to Towne Book Center and Café in Collegeville, Pennsylvania for hosting our two writing groups, Women’s Writing Circle and Just Write.

Brava to our fabulous writers! Job well done. Toast yourself and your creative muse!

Your thoughts and comments about an anthology experience are most welcome.

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