Making Money Mondays – Anthologies

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Good Morning!

Okay, I’ll admit, I rarely see anything good about mornings. I firmly believe that morning exist only to keep night and afternoon from bumping into each other too much and getting muddled about. At this point in my writer’s journey I’ve firmly embraced my role as one of the “night people,” and as such, kinda hate mornings.

Except I get a lot done when the house is quiet. And I get a lot of kitty time.

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Because the internet is for cats. And if it’s good enough for Scalzi, it’s good enough for me.

One of the things I talk about a lot at conventions and at writing groups is writing for anthologies. I participate in a fair number of anthologies each year. Not nearly as many as Gail, but my fair share. I also edit anthologies, and now, in my new role as Publisher of Falstaff Books, I listen to editors’ pitches and publish anthologies. And boy do we have some exciting stuff for y’all coming out in the next two years! But that’s another post entirely.

There are a few things that always come up on these panels, and I kinda wanted to jot them down here for a few reasons. 1) It’s my Monday, and I needed a topic. I lost my topic list again, and have to clean my desk to find it. I’d rather whine about losing my list than actually look for my list, so I needed a topic.

2) I wanted to have a central repository for these things I repeat often on panels, so I can just say “Go to my post on anthologies on Magical Words from March of 2016, I said it all there. Follow submission guidelines. I’m the Simon Cowell of anthology editors.” Then I can go back to sleeping on future panels. Hartness’ Law of Conservation of Energy – Conserve my Energy Whenever Possible.

3) There’s some decent information in here if I ever quit playing around with bullet points and cat pictures and get to the point. What’s that? You say one cat picture is not enough to even qualify? Okay, here’s another one. IMG_0320

I know. Adorable, right? Until you want to get at the last biscuit, then it’s all Tasmanian Devil claws and teeth. Just kidding. I’m a fat guy, I’d never let the cat ruin a Bojangle’s biscuit.

So – Anthologies. They’re a good way to get your foot in the door with publishers, a good way to meet editors, and a great icebreaker with other writers, who may be further along in their career than you are. And there’s always someone further along in their career than you, and they’ll almost always take a chance to reach back and help somebody along. So there are some good reasons to participate in anthologies, not the least of which is visibility.

Let’s face it, if you’re in half a dozen or more anthologies every year, like some people I won’t mention by name (again), you’re increasing the number of eyeballs on your work exponentially. And you’re glomming onto all the self-promotion done by not only the publisher, but by all the authors in the anthology as well. And that’s advertising that you couldn’t buy with all the NY publishing dollars in the world. So if you have the ability to churn out good short stories and make anthology work a part of your promotional plan, then go for it. There are plenty of anthos out there looking for good writers, and a successful mid-lister who enjoys writing shorts and will work for the money anthologies typically pay is an amazing resource.

My personal policy on anthologies is – I want to be the least well-known writer in the anthology, because I want to leech fans off everybody else in there. Or I want to be the one editing the thing, because then my name is on the cover larger than everyone else’s, and that’s worth the effort of putting the book together. That’s where I am in my career right now, in 2016. Three years ago, I was just so happy to be invited to submit to an anthology that I’d do anything anyone dangled in front of me. Hopefully in a few years, I’ll be the person people are coming to asking me to be an “anchor author” to draw more fans and better writers to the project. That’s would be a nice thing, but it’s a different point along my career path, and I’m not there yet. Yet. 🙂

But how do you find anthologies? Once you’ve been in a few, particularly in the small press world, you’ll start getting invited to participate. That’s nice, because it usually means that the story you write will be accepted. Not always, though. As an editor, I’ve sent back stories to people I invited and said “This one doesn’t work, send me something else.” No hard feelings, sometimes we just miss the mark. It happens. So an invite isn’t a guarantee. A contract is a guarantee.

But if you have few or no publishing credits, you can go to conventions and meet people, make friends, and get invited to participate in anthologies. Or, like most people, you can look it up online. Currently the best place for SF&F writers to find markets for their work is Ralan.com. Ralan has listings for anthologies, magazines, e-zines, book publishers, and about anyone who will buy a SF&F story. The listings are categorized by pay, no pay, pro pay, semipro, token, etc., and there are plenty of details about he listings. It’s currently the best online resource for SF&F writers to find where to submit work.

Duotrope’s Digest is another great site, broader in scope than Ralan if you write Non-SF&F stuff, but they do charge a nominal ($5/month) subscription fee. As of this morning, they had over 5,500 listings for markets in all genres. I’ve used both sites in the past and had good results with both Duotrope and Ralan.

Individual publishers will also often post anthology submission calls on their websites, as well. Editors will list things on Facebook pages. And people talk to people, so get to know more people! So go find a few places to look at for submissions, then in two weeks I’ll come back and talk about pay rates, what you should expect from editorial, and things not to do as a writer.

But for now, I gotta go. The cute is strong with this one.

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About the Crazy Cat Guy – 

John G. Hartness is a teller of tales, a righter of wrong, defender of ladies’ virtues, and some people call him Maurice, for he speaks of the pompatus of love. He is also the best-selling author of EPIC-Award-winning series The Black Knight Chronicles from Bell Bridge Books, a comedic urban fantasy series that answers the eternal question “Why aren’t there more fat vampires?”

John is the author of the Bubba the Monster Hunter series of short stories and novellas, the Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter novella series, and the creator and co-editor of the Big Bad anthology series, among other projects.

In 2016, John teamed up with a pair of other publishing industry ne’er-do-wells and founded Falstaff Books, a publishing conglomerate dedicated to pushing the boundaries of literature and entertainment.

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2 comments to Making Money Mondays – Anthologies

  • JReizes

    John: I worked at Bojangles as a teenager. True story…at the bottom of the paycheck it said, “Bo be in the kitchen marinatin’ the chicken.” Couldn’t make that up if I tried.

  • Razziecat

    Thank you for this information! Right now, it is impossible for me to attend any cons, and I don’t see that changing in the near future. When you can’t travel, it’s hard to learn about things like anthologies that might be looking for stories. Throwing general questions at Google doesn’t always get me anything useful, either, so again, thanks!!