Tomorrow is the official release day for The Box Under The Bed, the scary anthology I am honored to say my work is a part of. Months ago, when Dan first announced the idea of creating an anthology, I was on the fence. I was working on my own book, running my own social media, blah blah blah. It felt like an extra thing to do. But as Dan wanted a short piece I’d already written in the collection, I figured, why not? As the project moved along, I ended up writing a new story for it.
On this side of the project, I can honestly say that contributing to the anthology was one of the best decisions I’ve made, both professionally and creatively.
And in case you’re also considering whether or not to be in an anthology, here are five reasons why you should.
Reason 1: Writing short stories improves your novel-writing skills.
I addressed this idea in this post, and I’m an even bigger believer in it now. Short stories require a lot of plot to be crammed into a short space, and that takes a different skill than novel writing. But that skill translates to novel writing because you learn to write powerfully and concisely.
When writing for an anthology, one or two of your short stories gets the full “publishing” treatment – editing, beta reading, and going up for sale. So not only are you honing your storytelling ability, you’re getting experience (or more experience) with the publishing process – and you didn’t have to write an entire book to get it!
Reason 2: You have a team of other authors working on a professional product.
After Dan finished the initial editing of the stories, he distributed them to the authors for a final edit/proofread – each author proofed one or two stories that wasn’t theirs. Reading the ones assigned to me got me excited for the anthology as a whole because they were so good. I caught a few typos or missing commas, as other authors found in my work. The collaborative effort both ensured a top-shelf product and had the unexpected side effect of getting us all jazzed for sharing the book.
Reason 3: You have a team of other authors working to market the book.
What’s better than one author marketing a book?
Twenty authors marketing a book.
We are all motivated to make sure the book launches well. It has more pre-orders than any of my novels had, including The Fourth Descendant, which went on to be a runaway bestseller. That gives me a lot of hope for TBUTB.
All twenty of us have our own audiences, and when we share our excitement about the book, it carries and spreads. Figuring out how many potential readers we have just from existing audiences requires math I can’t do. And that’s not including any new readers who will find us by word of mouth or other marketing outlets, like email newsletter advertising.
We’re all doing a small part, but collectively, the impact is huge.
Reason 4: For some authors, anthologies are the first step to publication.
The Box Under The Bed is the first officially published work for a few of its contributing authors. They went from unpublished to published because they participated in this project. They now have author pics and Amazon pages.
I can’t overstate how special an author’s first published work is. The day before Descendant came out is a day I’ll never forget, and I hope the experience is as meaningful for the first-time published authors with this one. Because it is a big deal. And even for those of us who have books out already, the potential that people will want to spend money on something we created is always a little mind-blowing.
Reason 5: You meet several new writing friends, building your professional community.
We writers don’t have the luxury of a common building where we work with our colleagues. However, an anthology kind of acts like one. We’re all invested in the same product, and because of that, we make new connections. We can (and have already!) arrange to beta read for each other, write blurbs, and help each other market our non-anthology works. There isn’t a downside to being in a strong community of authors.
I hope you check out the amazing work in the anthology, and if you’re a writer and get the chance, I hope you participate in creating one. It’s a great experience.