By Jennifer S. Wilkov, host of the “Your Book Is Your Hook!” Show on WomensRadio
As authors and writers, we’re always learning about resources and industry tools that we can use to improve our book project performance and the enjoyment of our writing and marketing experiences. Today let’s talk about why co-authoring a collaborative book could be a quick way of getting published
Many writers are searching for opportunities to get their work seen by literary agents and editors at publishing houses. It is very competitive these days to get the attention of these industry professionals – but it’s not impossible!
One strategy that can be easily used in fiction, nonfiction and even children’s books is to join forces with other writers and submit a chapter or short story for a collection of writings in a book edited and published by someone other than you.
This is often done in the fiction and poetry genres through contests. Simply seek out these opportunities to submit your writing for consideration and be aware of the deadlines so you get your work in on time.
A quick search on Amazon reveals that there are 58,095 short story anthologies and collections listed in their book section alone. For you poetry writers, there are 136,875 poetry anthologies listed.
Think short stories aren’t the way to get discovered? Here is a short list of some who were discovered as a result of their short story submissions to magazines, collections and anthologies:
F.X. Toole, the pen name for boxing trainer Jerry Boyd, who at age 69 wrote the stories that inspired the Oscar-winning film Million Dollar Baby, directed by Clint Eastwood. He was published in the literary journal in San Francisco entitled ZYZZYVA.
Annie Proulx, author of the short story Brokeback Mountain which originally appeared in the collection Close Range: Wyoming Stories. She also went on to win the Pulitzer for her novel Shipping News. And The New Yorker won the National Magazine Award for Fiction for its publication of “Brokeback Mountain,” and the story was included in Prize Stories 1998: The O. Henry Awards.
A great resource where you can find opportunities to submit your short story are the hundreds of smaller journals listed from A-Z that can be found in the NewPages Big List of Literary Magazines.
In the nonfiction categories, this is a strategy often used with great success to launch the writing careers of those authors who may not have the time to write a whole book themselves, yet still have much to offer in a chapter they can provide for a collaborative book being compiled by someone other than them.
A great example of this is The Big Book of Social Media Case Studies, Stories, Perspectives where Bob Fine, the creator of the Cool Twitter Conferences World Tour decided to solicit chapters from select speakers who appeared during his conferences. He then edited the book together and even got a foreword for the book provided by Sam Feist, CNN Political Director. While the speakers were off doing what they do professionally, that is – speaking, Bob was cobbling together their chapter submissions into a great book that provides a lot of value to the reader while offering greater exposure to the speakers from his tour. This is a good example of an opportunity that arose serendipitously for the speakers to simply write a chapter and be included in a book that is serving so many that they want to reach with their insights and wisdom.
There are also collaborations of poetry, short story collections for children, anthologies of mysteries and more.
Still not sure this is a viable way to go? Even Disney uses this strategy to bring its stories together in the paperback entitled Princess Story Collection (Disney Princess) (Step into Reading).
There are even collections of the classics on audio CD available that include the best short stories from National Public Radio’s Selected Shorts, an award-winning series of classic and contemporary short fiction read by distinguished stage and screen actors and recorded live at the Peter Norton Symphony Space in New York City entitled Selected Shorts: Timeless Classics (Selected Shorts: A Celebration of the Short Story). They also have several other collections like this on audio including Selected Shorts: Whodunit?, Selected Shorts: Baseball and Selected Shorts: Lots of Laughs! – just to name a few.
Short stories, individual chapter contributions and poems still have a place in the literary world. You don’t have do it all yourself to get published.
However until you submit your story, poem or chapter, you won’t be able to use your book as your hook.
So get started and write yours today!
Jennifer’s show can be heard every week on Tuesday mornings at 9am when it is broadcast on WomensRadio.com and syndicated on Live365.com. Each show is archived for replay listeners in different time zones and countries.
For more information on this Education Corner topic and others, please refer to www.YourBookIsYourHook.com/blog for more articles and resources to help you with your books.