Last week was the much-anticipated release of Our Silent Voice. It’s an anthology of stories from around the country by survivors of sexual assault, harassment, and domestic violence, including two of our published authors. Co-founders Janet Pfeifer and Marie Posthumus felt moved to give a collective voice to those ready to step forward and share their stories out loud.
While I didn’t have a hand in publishing the project, I encouraged my authors to submit their fierce and relevant poetry and micro-essays. The anthology is a powerful tool to help others heal.
Anthologies are powerful for other reasons, too. When writers partner together and round up their best content, they maximize results. A famous example is the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, a collection of inspirational stories that target various markets.
Anthologies are win-win-wins for all involved:
They’re appealing to readers who want a quick way to engage in a subject. They’re highly readable because entries are usually brief. And the wide variety of contributions means readers can enjoy many perspectives and experience a greater impact.
Anthologies are a great way to become a best-selling author when you don’t have the capacity to write a whole book yourself. You do less work, but you get to be part of something bigger. And you get to let someone else do all the work when it comes to publishing.
Many times, you’ll attract a larger audience because all the authors in the book are promoting it to their audiences. And because you’re but one name among many, people might buy the book to read one author’s story but discover yours as well.
The Primary Author
Anthologies are a fantastic solution if you want to publish a compelling book in a short amount of time. As the primary author, you reap all of the rewards of writing a book without having to write the entire manuscript.
Of course, it means you do the heavy lifting. Janet said, “Much of the process was about structure, curating, and questioning.”
You’ll need to define your theme, the number of contributions you want, and parameters for submissions. You’ll need to learn about copyright laws, gain permissions, and handle the publishing process. And you’ll need to engage your contributors and audience throughout the journey.
But the rewards are worth the effort, especially for Marie and Janet.
“What we have learned is that nothing like this can be done alone,” said Janet. “Any one person, no matter how dedicated, could not withstand the self-doubt and critique.”
Marie concurs. She said, “Curating the brave and sensitive work from other writers strengthened our resolve to keep going, to move forward with care and mindfulness. We did our best; we became better people in the process.”
Congratulations on your release, Marie and Janet. And congratulations to our two authors for their published submissions!