Value of Being Part of an Anthology or a themed collection.

This weekend I'm attending the Melbourne (Australian) launch of 'Short & Twisted', I have a crime short story 'Playing Possum' in this mixed anthology. ( I've attended other launches where there have been multiple contributors to a book, and the added benefit is that they bring all their colleagues, friends and family and often reach markets which are outside the normal literary circles. All are working on behalf of the one title.

Anyone else with positive ( or negative) experiences of being in an anthology?

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Umm, it was an honor, of course, to be part of 50 years of detective fiction, but otherwise it didn't do anything for my career or my bank account. I should say that the story was republished and not written to a specific subject.
Correction: I just had a fan letter from someone who loved the story in the Hitchcock Anthology and is now buying all the novels. How wrong I was!
Ha-HA! That was sure a quick reversal, I.J.
Yes, coincidence. It was the first time this has happened for that anthology, but I will now always believe that there are others out there doing the same thing. Not everybody writes me. Alas!
First of all, it's a lot of fun, especially if you have some contributors nearby and can do joint signings. I've gotten to know some wonderful writers, including Susan Straight, who won the Edgar for best short story last year, through involvement with anthologies.

Two of my short stories were picked up by local alternative weeklies. I received more money from the weekly than the anthology publisher itself paid me!

You also get a chance to expand your fan base. My short stories are more noir, so my existing readers don't seem to like them too much. The stories, however, have served to peak the interest of more hard-boiled readers to my series.
I loved your story in the Hell of A Woman anthology Naomi, so, speaking as a hard-boiled reader - it definitely did!

Anthologies give me the chance to discover new to me authors, and see old favourites doing something different.
I just had a story published as part of a "shared universe" anthology, and since it's being officially released tomorrow, it's a little early to tell how it will affect my life and work.

Of course we were each given a premise and a title to work with so that all the stories put together would form a larger over-arching story. Sort of an anthology-novel hybrid. It was fun to work on though, and there can't be any harm getting my work out there.
I participated in a fund raiser for Toys For Tots. The stories all had to be crime related and circle around a winter holiday. It placed me in the company of some really fine writers and also created the two best characters I have run into so far. They have become prominent in the second book of my series and also I have a request from some folks they appear in a play promoting drug prevention in schools.
To sum up, the anthology was all good for me and we also made some kids happy at christmas time.
Been in one anthology, CHESAPEAKE CRIMES, which I consider my big fiction writing break. It led me to another big break--getting my first novel, IDENTITY CRISIS, published. Unfortunately, the publisher essentially went belly up and the book went out of print less than a year after its release (but I got my rights back, so all was not lost).

Now, I've had a short story accepted for publication in CHESAPEAKE CRIMES IV, which is supposed to be issued by Wildside Press in March 2010. Frankly, I'm thrilled about it. I consider it yet another major break.

Where this leads next . . . remains to be seen . . .
You've hit one of my hot buttons! I love participating in anthologies.

I've been in a lot of of them: two New England ones, one of the MWA anthologies, a couple of Southern ones, a pet detective anthology, and a food-related one. Plus I co-edit urban fantasy anthologies, and each of them include one of my stories. I've got two more anthology stories in the pipeline: one in a Mississippi blues noir anthology and one in a different MWA anthology. So obviously, I think they're worth the time and effort.

In fact, I think that participating in anthologies has been a terrific career booster. I'm a big proponent of short stories in general, whether in anthologies or magazines.

For one, I get a lot of attention with my short stories. I've had two Agatha nods, one Agatha win, three Anthony nods, and two Macavity nods for short stories. That's definitely helped my visibility.

Speaking of visibility, every time I'm in an anthology with more famous folks, their readers get exposed to me, too. For instance, the "front cover" contributors on the urban fantasy anthologies have readers who buy the books solely because the famous authors have a story inside. Those readers now know my name, and some pick up my books. (Not all, but hey, if a fraction of Jim Butcher's readers buy my book, I'll be in great shape.)

I also get attention from editors. A Dutch editor wants to reprint a story from one of the urban fantasy anthologies, and an Italian editor saw one of my stories in ALFRED HITCHCOCK and is now bringing out a translation of my newest novel.

The group signing events have been good. For MANY BLOODY RETURNS, the publisher set up "birthday parties" for the book all over the country, each with one or more contributors signing. I don't know about book sales, but we got lots of industry attention because it was a different kind of promotion. For the blues/noir anthology, Bleak House is holding a debut event in Clarksdale, MS, and the contributors are putting together a blues band for the night. Really. (I'm singing back up. Far, far, far in the back.)

Now in terms of money, it varies widely. The small New England anthologies paid next to nothing, but the money from my urban fantasy anthologies has been great. (I'm just referring to my contributor's share, not my pay for being a co-editor.)

So if you like writing short stories and you're good at it, I would advise you to accept every anthology invite you get.


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