In publishing, an anthology can be defined simply as a collection of written work. It usually consists of smaller pieces–poems or short stories–that tend to come from several different authors. So now that you know what they are, why should you give a fig about reading one? Welp, I’m gonna try to unpack that a bit.
Don’t get me wrong, I love novels. Everything about a story clicking together in about 80, 000 words is magic to me. But there is something to be said for shorter works as well. It’s exponentially more difficult to write a short story; because while every word in a novel-length work is necessary, every word in a short story is dire. The whole beginning, middle, and end must be seamlessly forced into something an eighth of the size of a novel. That means every element of the short story carries a heavier share of the weight, but it also means, there’s the potential to pack a mightier punch.
Take it or Leave it
I actually remember buying whole albums via cassette tape or CD. There’d always be a lot of songs I loved and maybe one or two that just weren’t for me. Did I throw the whole CD away or abandon it completely? No, I pressed fast-forward. And because an anthology is a compilation of sorts, readers have the option to skip entire portions too. Come across a writer whose style you’re not all that into? Skip it. Is one story a little trigger-y for you? Pass. With a collection of short stories or poems or whatever, readers can still get their money’s worth even if one story isn’t their favorite thing.
I will read anything by Rainbow Rowell. If she scribbled a grocery list on the back of a CVS receipt, I’d read it. It’s fun to be a fan, but it’s also really, really fun to explore new things to be excited about. The other day I randomly picked up Shaun David Hutchinson’s memoir, Brave Face, and will now commence reading every other thing he’s ever written. It’s called branching out and anthologies serve up the perfect opportunity to do just that. Purchasing an anthology offers readers the chance to sample different writing styles. Maybe readers will find that new author who writes in a way that connects with their fluttery insides, who knows?
Perfect. Yay! There are lots of options out there for you to choose from. Many small presses publish anthologies throughout the year. Indie authors do too, and so does the “Big 5.” Goodreads maintains a list for “Popular Anthology Books” if you’re on the hunt.
But here’s where I will take a sec to shamelessly plug a new anthology from Filles Vertes Publishing, where I work as an editor. Only this time, I left my editing hat on the rack and ventured into writing a short romance alongside this extremely talented group of writers that I’m happy to be sharing space with. I was super excited to have the chance to develop a new cast of characters falling in and out of love along the shops and cobblestones of historic (and fictional) Goldbug, California. It’s release is slated as just in time for Valentine’s Day. You can check it out and add it to your TBR over on Goodreads today: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48760852-love-on-main