07-21-18 Patricia Sargeant

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Special Guest Judith Ashley - Reading Anthologies to Find New Authors

by Judith Ashley

A rather self-explanatory title but I’ve a little more to say on the subject.
There are two kinds of Anthologies. In one, an author puts several short stories or a couple of novellas into a book. Everything between the covers was written by the same person.

The type of Anthology I’m exploring in this post is a collection of stories written by different people.
What first draws me to an Anthology is that one of my auto-buy authors is a contributor. I’m particularly happy when at least one of the authors is someone I’ve never heard of or at least never read. Since one of my auto-buy authors is a contributor there is a high likelihood I’ll enjoy at least one of the stories and for the price of one book I can see if another author fits my reading criteria.

But what if one of my auto-buy authors is not a contributor? Why then would I purchase an Anthology?
The days of my easily and fairly effortlessly finding a debut author or unknown-to-me author by wandering down the aisles of the romance section in book stores is gone. Yes, we have Barnes and Noble Book Stores where I live but they are located in large shopping malls which means dealing with that nightmare, parking, etc. (I know I’m picky and most likely still not totally over Border’s closing because the parking was easy and free, there were many aisles in the romance section, and the employees knew their romance authors). However, I digress.

Why would I buy an Anthology when I don’t know any of the authors? Here are my top three:
          I like the theme. Anthologies often have a theme that the contributing authors follow. The theme could be an event, place, situation and all of the stories have at their core the same theme. Sometimes the theme draws me in. Holiday-themed anthologies, what happens when people are trapped in a road-side inn when a storm comes up, three or four (depends on how many authors are involved) men or women are at a dance, picnic, party, etc. I have my favorites that I look for when browsing for an Anthology.

I like the title and cover. Titles and covers are centered more on the theme but it is important to convey something about the tone of the stories. Since I love to read historical romance, a snowy scene with a large mansion with candles flickering in every window, and wreathes and garlands around the front door, with a title like “After the ball…” and the names of six authors tells me that there will be six stories about what happens to people (most likely women if it is a historical but maybe not) after the Christmas Ball being held in this house.
I am committed to supporting debut authors and romance authors in general. I’m well aware of the work that goes into becoming a published author. It can take years to learn the craft, finish the book, find a publisher, or learn another level of skills to self-publish. By buying an Anthology, I can support more authors and experience their story-telling style as well as the added bonus of finding another author to add to my auto-buy list.
Would love to hear why you read Anthologies as well as how you find authors who are new to you.
Judith Ashley, along with Diana McCollum and Sarah Raplee are polishing their contributions to Love and Magick: Mystical Stories of Romance from Judith Ashley, Diana McCollum and Sarah Raplee due out the end of this year.


B. A. Binns said...

I just got a copy of a 2012 anthology, Diverse Energies, a collection about dystopian futures, and I have fallen in love with half the authors in it. Some are old favorites, Ursula K. LeGuin and Paolo Bacigalupi, but there are new ones I like such as Cindy Pon and Malinda Lo. I will have to pick up more of their works.

Judith Ashley said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting, B.A. So glad you found some new-to-you authors!

Shobhan Bantwal said...

I've never been attracted to anthologies for some reason, but you are right in saying it's a great way to discover talented new authors. I should give serious thought to buying some anthologies this year.

Paty Jager said...

This is a dear to me topic at the moment since in a month or so, I'll have a Christmas story in an Anthology with 9 other authors. I'm hoping that my readers will buy the anthology and then discover new to them authors and I hope the other authors' readers will buy the anthology and then discover me.

I have to admit, I've never been one to buy anthologies unless they were full books. I've always been a reader who likes a story to take up several days, so I can be part of the story as long as possible, so I've not been a short story reader until recently. And I find I like those too.

Judith Ashley said...

I've enjoyed the 'new to me' authors, Shobhan - hope you find some that appeal to you too.

Judith Ashley said...

Fingers crossed the 'cross-pollination' works for your Christmas Anthology. We're looking forward to your sharing more about it here at RTG next month.

Diana Mcc. said...

Great post Judith!