Friday, October 19, 2012

Anthologies - yes or no?

Hopefully you all recall when the Indelibles put out the In His Eyes anthology for Valentine's Day (the cover is on the right side of this page. Yep, right there -->  Remember now?)  All of the stories were short snippets about love from a guy's point of view.

Since then, I was lucky enough to be selected to write for another anthology.  TWO AND TWENTY DARK TALES, a charity anthology, came out on Tuesday.  In it, all the authors took a Mother Goose nursery rhyme and spun in into a dark YA short story.  The experience was awesome and really forced me to work outside of my comfort zone.  (I had Hey Diddle, Diddle, so my main characters were a laughing dog, fiddle-playing cat and moon-jumping cow.  Tell me that's not a challenge.)
I love that the proceeds from the first 5,000 copies will go to charity.  I also love that the anthology provides a way for an Indie like myself to appear along side YA greats like Nancy Holder, Sarwat Chadda, Michelle Zink and Gretchen McNeil (to name but a few).  I love that the anthology was put out by a brand new Indie press, Month 9 Books.

I confess, though, I do worry that readers will pick up the anthology to catch a glimpse of their favorite authors and my story will sit, unread, like yesterday's newspaper.  On the flip side, I also worry what will happen if my story is read.  My short story is COMPLETELY different from Destined.  You know how everyone always tells you to write within your genre?  The best I could do was build my short story around mythology (although it draws upon Egyptian lore whereas Destined is Greek mythology).  So I also worry that readers who might like my short story will pick up Destined and be expecting something different.

[Aside: if you're curious about my short story, "I Come Bearing Souls," you can catch a peek at some of my inspiration pictures on my Pinterest Board.]

I know it's normal to be fearful when you try something new.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained, and all of that.  And in the end, I love that I am a part of this amazing anthology.  But still I wonder ...

Readers:  Do you like anthologies? Do you ever discover new authors after reading an anthology?  When you read an anthology, do you read all of the stories?

Authors:  Have you found value in participating in an anthology (aside from the value that you improve as a writer every time you craft a story)?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Jessie Harrell is the author of Destined, a YA reimagining of the Greek myth of Eros and Psyche (on sale for $.99 for Kindle and Nook).  Her newest story, "I Come Bearing Souls," will appear in the TWO AND TWENTY DARK TALES anthology.  You might say she has a healthy obsession with mythology.
She lives in sunny Florida and is longing for some cooler weather and changing leaves. She's pretty sure she's out of luck.
Find Jessie online  Blog | Facebook | Twitter


  1. I've bought anthologies before--in fact, I bought In His Eyes, and I read the shorts of several authors that I'd never read before. So it did give me exposure to new authors.

    And I have to say that Two and Twenty Dark Tales sounds great. I love the theme of the anthology.

    I've written a short that going to be coming out in anthology that will be released in December. So I'm curious to see if that will boost readership of my books. (I'll be with some great writers.)

  2. I am too, Connie. I wonder if we're in the same one....

    Jessie, you're anthology looks great. I'm sure yours will get read, you're a terrific writer!

  3. I've personally never purchased an anthology. I don't read short stories ... just not my thing! But of course, if I was invited to write one - I'd jump on it :)

  4. Is it sad that I'm not a big anthology reader, but I do participate in them? I think I did get a few new readers from In His Eyes so I do believe in them, but personally, I love reading long stories (novels).

    I love the sound of this one though. Love the twist on nursery rhymes!