You know…I hear an awful lot that the major publishers don’t do anthologies because there is no money in them. Well, if I’ve said before I’m saying it again, I’m not in this business for the money (saves on a lot of disappointment. For me, the value in anthologies is their promotional opportunity. In this age of the growing list of extinct genre magazines there are not as many ready sources for print publication of short stories. Okay…let me amend that, there weren’t as many ready sources for print publication of short stories. That is rapidly changing to the extent that even the major publishers are scrambling on to the anthologist’s wagon.
But back to why I’m doing this. From a promotional standpoint, for the amount of time it takes me to key a short story I have the opportunity to group my work (assuming it will be accepted) alongside a variety of other authors, each of which have their own dedicated fan base. That means all of my fans that pick up the book because I haven’t finished the next novel yet, and all of their fans that pick it up for their various reasons all get to read—I hope—my story. Now, let’s ramp that up a bit. Let’s assume that at least one of those authors is a “name”. All of a sudden the scope of the exposure is exponentially increased.
Now, given that anthologies are these days generally themed in addition to all those theoretically amassed fans of specific authors, we also have all the fans of whatever particular genre or theme the anthology in question is targeting. For example, my story In the Runes was accepted for the anthology Rum and Runestones, a collection of pirate-and-magic stories. Pirates are very popular. So is magic…with the fantasy crowd, anyway. This means that a story that might have been hit-or-miss in a general fantasy anthology will be more likely to find its target audience because the readership already knows what to expect when they pick up the book.
So you see, anthologies hold quite a bit of benefit to those that write short fiction.
For me, however, there is even more to it. I am also an editor of anthologies, or in probably more accurate terms: an anthologist and packager of anthologies. The difference? I do all the work and simply turn in print-ready files to the publisher. The reason I embrace the stress and strain of this when I could be writing quietly in my own little world? I LOVE to create books from concept to completion. I get ideas…lots of ideas…and then I run with them! Anthologies let me do that a lot quicker because others have to do most of the writing. Currently I am senior editor of both the Bad-Ass Faeries anthologies (Mundania Press) and the new Legends of a New Age anthology series (Dark Quest Books).
But the best reason of all for my particular insanity? I want to help those who are where I used to be; those just getting started, those not quite sure how to go about climbing that ladder to stand beside me. If I can help other aspiring authors get their start and avoid some of the pitfalls I encountered along the way, then I have done a good thing and I can be more than happy about all the effort I put into creating and promoting these anthologies.
Award-winning author Danielle Ackley-McPhail has worked both sides of the publishing industry for over fifteen years. Her works include the urban fantasies, Yesterday’s Dreams, Tomorrow’s Memories, and The Halfling’s Court: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale. She has edited the Bad-Ass Faeries anthology series, and No Longer Dreams, and has contributed to numerous other anthologies and collections, including Dark Furies, Breach the Hull, So It Begins, Space Pirates, Barbarians at the Jumpgate, and New Blood.
She is a member of The Garden State Horror Writers, the New Jersey Authors Network, and Broad Universe, a writer’s organization focusing on promoting the works of women authors in the speculative genres.
Danielle lives somewhere in New Jersey with husband and fellow writer, Mike McPhail, mother-in-law Teresa, and three extremely spoiled cats. She can be found on LiveJournal (damcphail, badassfaeries, darkquestbooks), Facebook (Danielle Ackley-McPhail), and Twitter (DMcPhail). To learn more about her work, visit www.sidhenadaire.com or www.badassfairies.com
You can listen to the audio from when Danielle was a guest of Blog Host, Gail Z. Martin’s Ghost in the Machine podcast here: http://www.audioacrobat.com/play/WZW7hSbx