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Finding Anthologies For Your Writing

Dragon Soul Press offers a rolling selection of anthologies you can submit to

Writer’s never finish working. You have to sit down and start edits as soon as you finish your story. (Then repeat them) Once you’re satisfied the story’s as polished as it will get, you start submitting. And submitting. And again. The cycle continues until it finds a home in a publication or you decide to rewrite the piece. (Or give up – not something I recommend) But there are frustrations along the way. Publications close. Or submissions shut down while they cope with backlogs. Response windows get longer and longer as editors go out on medical leave. Or some publications never bother to say anything, leaving you in limbo. It’s frustrating. But it’s a writer’s life. If you’re tired of the cycle of magazines, you need to set your sights on a different prospect. Because anthologies offer plenty of positives, and they still count as publications!


An anthology is a collection of stories or essays with a common theme or concept. Some are broader than others. They pool the talents of multiple authors, introducing readers to potential new talent. At the very least, there are one or two people in the mix they haven’t seen before. And it’s a great way to get someone interested in a person’s work. It also provides a variety of lenses for that single topic – something that encourages diversity and exploration.

And there are anthologies for EVERYTHING:

  • Essays
  • Memoirs
  • Fantasy
  • Science Fiction
  • Horror
  • Poetry

All you have to do is watch for the submission call and see what you have on hand (or what your brain can come up with) that suits the specs. The submission process itself isn’t any different than what you’re used to already.

And some pretty sweet pros come with this route of publication.

Pros of Anthologies

The editors signed on to specific anthologies have already gained approval with a publisher. This means there’s a confirmed date for publication. So you’ll know precisely when the submission deadline is (always helpful), but, more importantly, you’ll see when you can expect a response.

Which beats all of those other times of sitting in limbo for months (years).

And unlike magazines with rolling submissions, you’ll know how many entries they’ll accept. It gives you an idea of how big the competition will likely be. (That may be a good or bad thing, depending on your point of view and how big your imposter syndrome has grown)

Most anthologies adhere to the expected rule of accepting simultaneous submissions. So you’re free to send your story elsewhere while keeping your fingers crossed that it gets picked up for the book. (Just do the editors a solid and let them know if you sell it in the meantime)

Once you hear back and share the good news across your social media channels, you’ll likely connect with the other authors in the book. That provides an immediate source of additional writer friends for your circle. (You do, after all, have something in common!) You’ll have the chance to share information on other anthologies, new open markets, workshop opportunities, etc. It’s a networking opportunity you don’t really get with magazines.

Cons of Anthologies

With everything, you have to read all of the details. (You should already know that) Because not every anthology out there works the same way.

Some are strictly online publications. Nothing inherently wrong with that, but if you’re looking for a physical presence on a shelf somewhere, you’re going to be disappointed.

Others may only pay royalties versus a flat fee for your story. And those royalties are split across ALL of the authors. So you won’t know how much you’ll pull in upfront.

If you’re submitting a previously published piece, you have to expect you won’t receive the same fees as a new piece. (And you’d better make sure the rights have reverted to you before you make an attempt!)

And, of course, you need to read your contract closely when it arrives. How long will the publisher have the rights to your story? The average one year or longer? Do they have the right to reprint your story in future anthologies, or do they need your permission? (Yes, that can happen – and you won’t see any money from the reprints!)

You have to go into the process with your eyes open, as you do with any other submission. Otherwise, you may find yourself complaining down the road – without a leg to stand on.

Reaping Rewards

When I was a wee baby writer, I assumed you needed an invitation to be part of an anthology. (You can laugh) I thought editors went around cherry-picking authors to submit stories – not the other way around. So I always wondered how a writer called enough attention to themselves to get their writing into one of those collections. (I had every Catfantastic volume ever published)

I didn’t start realizing ANYONE could submit to an anthology until the past couple of years. And even then, I was convinced they didn’t mean ME. (Even after reading the submission guidelines) It took rolling the dice last year to shed those scales from my eyes.

And now? I have two stories coming out in two separate anthologies this year! One dark fantasy and one science fiction. I received the responses within a week of each other.

“Sea Foam and Fire” will be released in Dragon Soul Press’s Song of the Siren on May 30th. (I actually recommend checking them out; they publish a new themed anthology every few months)

“Pains of Glass” will be released in Starry Eyed Press’s Existential Hologram, with a pending release date. (They have themed anthology calls, as well!)

Incidentally, those are my first two speculative fiction publications. But my first official print publication? It was my essay in Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Clever, Curious, Caring Cat. (You got it: another anthology!)

Anthologies are a fantastic opportunity to get your work out there, surrounded by other astounding writers. And if you’ve overlooked them until now, you need to start paying attention. Because odds are you have something that will fit at least ONE of those themes SOMEWHERE.

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