The big thing these days is for authors to collaborate, hoping to garner new readers from other authors. It’s a smart way to find readers who might not have heard of you or were unsure if they might like your writing.
There are box sets where authors put their first of a series in one set and price it low to hopefully capture new readers for their series.
And there are anthologies. A book with short stories or novellas from different authors. These are usually in the same genre or heat level. This is a good way for a reader to sample an author’s writing and decide if they want to try a book or a series by that writer.
I’ve been in both box sets and anthologies. Box sets are easier because you send the person putting the set together one of your books that is already written and there is very little to do.
Anthologies, on the other hand, usually require you write a story to fit within the bounds of the anthology. Some are marketed for holidays, others for a heat level, or some for a specific genre. Some are even put together as a marketing tool to raise money for a cause.
I’ve participated in a multi-genre anthology, one where I wrote a story for another author’s world, one where I wrote for a specific genre, and I have one coming out in June that is a western contemporary romance.
There are somethings to take into consideration when you agree to be part of an anthology.
- Know the writing of the others involved. Nothing will turn a reader off than to read two or three poorly written stories before they get to yours and not finish the book.
- If you are writing in a genre you usually write in, make sure to write it as you would any book in that genre. Use the same heat level, the same language. Make sure it sounds like your writing to give the reader a taste of your voice and style. Don’t style it to the tone of the anthology. You are trying to garner readers who will keep reading your work. If you misrepresent your writing, they may not come back for book two.
- If you are writing in someone else’s world still stay true to your voice. But if that person doesn’t write the same heat level as you, it would be a good idea to turn the chance down rather than keep that story either hot or sweet and have the reader have the wrong expectations when they read your books.
- Don’t let peers talk you into joining an anthology you know isn’t a fit for your writing. I had this happen. “It’s an excellent opportunity. You’ll get so much exposure.” It would have been an excellent opportunity, if I could have written the story to my standards. But I had to write to the standards of a sweet which misrepresented my writing to the readers of that anthology and garnered me some not so “sweet” reviews after they read my books.
The best way to get the most out of an anthology is to find a group of like-minded authors who write the same heat level, who have a proven track record with following through on commitments, and are willing to work to promote the project once it is released. And who you’ve vetted, so you know every reader who picks up the anthology will love every story in it.
The anthology releasing in June has 6 contemporary western authors involved. Many have been in other anthologies and box sets and have had success with those. I was honored to be asked to join this group. One of the request came this way: “We are looking for western writers who know the difference between chaps and shaps.”
My novella in the anthology is Catch the Rain.
Running from her past, Kitty Baxter catches a glimpse of her future—if she’s brave enough to believe in herself and the kindhearted stranger who claims she deserves love.
Focused on setting up his new veterinarian practice, Zach MacDonald becomes sidetracked by a karaoke singing beauty with a secret. He sees what others ignore, and becomes determined to make Kitty see that anyone can learn to catch the rain.
Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 30+ novels, dozen novellas, and short stories of murder mystery, western romance, and action adventure. She has a RomCon Reader’s Choice Award, EPPIE, Lorie, and RONE Award. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters.