Publishing an Anthology - Part One - A Guest Post

Today, I am delighted to have as our guest blogger, Barbara Barth, author, blogger, sometimes antique dealer, dog hoarder, bedazzled by life. 

Widowed eleven years ago, she writes about finding a creative path back to happiness. Her recent move to a 1906 historic cottage brought many surprises, including discovering the Monroe–Walton Center for the Arts where she started the monthly Walton Writers group and is on the MWCA Board as Literary Arts Chair. Barbara is a contributor to Walton Living Magazine and a former blogger for The Balancing Act, Lifetime Television’s morning show for women. Currently, she lives with six dogs, rescue dogs that rescued her. 

Barbara is sharing with us the ins and outs of publishing an anthology.

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“Let’s publish an anthology!” The thought crossed my mind the minute I saw a premade cover for sale in late 2014. I was bored, the holidays were approaching, and the cover made me dream of possibilities. Since I know many writers and have started writing groups in several communities, the idea seemed brilliant. I immediately send out e-mails to writers I knew, posted on Facebook to writing groups, and hooked up with friends who liked the idea, too. Within a few days, I had thirty authors ready to join A Cup of Christmas, our eBook for charity. 

I had no idea what I was doing, or how to edit and make this work. We had approximately six-weeks to get in the holiday book sales rush. I found it amazing that these folks trusted me and sent their stories, expecting everything to go smoothly and to have a professional book to market. I was determined to produce an excellent product in a short timeframe. 

Here’s what I quickly learned. No one followed instructions. The stories came in in various formats, fonts, and some with that lovely Oxford comma, some not. And the old haunting two spaces after every period. Yikes. Authors also sent more first drafts than finished work. All easy to fix with e-mails back with suggestions on how to polish and return. Every author understood and edited their stories. 

The range of participants was another factor. I wanted to include published authors, first-time writers, and those who had never been published. The combination made for interesting reading. I loved that a Christmas book reached out to include all levels of storytellers. 

These folks came on board during the most hectic time of the year never questioning my capabilities. They retained the rights to their stories and their ‘payment’ for being in the anthology was a short bio and link to each website at the end of their story. I chose First Book (https://firstbook.org/ ) an amazing group that puts learning materials in the hands of children in low-income communities to receive profits from our sales. 

While I’m not a publisher for others, I publish under my company Gilbert Street Press. My sister does the design work and layout (https://www/pdkingdesign.com ) and A Cup of Christmas turned out beautifully, a visual delight with illustrations chosen to highlight each story. 

All the authors did an incredible job of marketing the anthology on Facebook and Twitter. In the days leading up to its release, I flooded Facebook with graphics that drew folks in. We also set up a Facebook page for the anthology and asked our friends to like our page. 

The experience was amazing for me. My life came to a halt while I frantically worked to meet our deadline. The great news, we did it, had an amazing product, and gave back to others during the holiday season. I’m sure there are still errors to be found, but the purpose of our anthology was to raise a bit of money for an amazing charity with an awesome group of writers. 

Our profits, including donations from some of the participants, were paid online to First Book on December 31st to take advantage of an offer from Disney to triple all contributions made by midnight on the 31st. While we didn’t make a huge amount of money our donation grew larger through the holiday spirit of others. 

We did this again in February 2018 with a Valentine’s book for the same charity, A Cup of Love. 

I’m now working with our Walton Writers for an anthology to be released early 2020 with The Monroe-Walton Center for the Arts as our non-profit. My new writing group and my new home with the art center. This time will be a little different. But more on that later. 

Learn more about Barbara on her website:
https://www.barbarabarthwriter.com/ 

Her books are available on Amazon and Kindle. Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Barbara-Barth/e/B0049M0IXO

Comments

Barbara Barth said…
Thanks so much for having me on your blog today. Excited to share some thoughts on anthologies, a learning experience for me, but a great one. Also, I made a mistake in my dates here. I can't keep myself straight with timeframes some days. A Cup of Love was published in 2018, not in 2017. It came out the year after I moved into my sweet new town in Social Circle, Georgia.
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