Anthologies are a wonderful source of alternate perspectives. They bring the unique voices of different authors together into a single, theme-inspired collection. Writers brings their own past experiences and personalities into their stories, breathing life into their characters that readers can feel for as they are immersed in their lives.
Since many authors share in writing the anthology, they also bring their reading fans to the party. Anthologies also sell well at book events. Readers can discover new talents and styles, encouraging them to search for more from the authors with whom they click.
Anthologies give authors the opportunity to stretch their writing muscles. Authors can explore a story they've been holding on the back burner or flesh out a shiny, new idea. They can use the prompt to break a block or take a break from their current WIP then come back refreshed and ready to work on it with more enthusiasm. And there's always those who want to try their hand at an unfamiliar genre--a great way to step outside the box without committing to a full novel.
I myself enjoy reading anthologies. The short stories can be read in one sitting. And I love finding new authors to expand my library. Not to mention, learning new ways I can improve my own writing. I highly recommend checking them out when you are searching for something to read!
If you've never been a part of anthology, I suggest you give one a try. Many small publishers have regular submission requests for anthologies. Just find the theme that inspires you!
Tara Tyler - Reset (in Tick Tock) & Sentient (in Dark Matter)
Tara Tyler has had a hand in everything from waitressing to rocket engineering. After moving all over the US, she now writes and teaches math in Ohio with her husband, though they still love to travel and visit their three boys. She has two novel series, Pop Travel (sci-fi detective thrillers) and Beast World (fantasy adventures), plus her UnPrincess novella series where the maidens save themselves. She's a commended blogger, contributed to several anthologies, and to fit in all these projects, she economizes her time, aka the Lazy Housewife—someday she might write a book on that... Make every day an adventure!
Short stories are great for both writer and reader for the reasons you've listed. The authors have a chance to gain new readers and the readers to gain new authors.
Anthologies are a win-win for everybody. We've enjoyed the seven the IWSG produced.
I totally agree with you. Just reading the different stories written with one theme is so revealing and interesting.
I've had stories published in a couple of anthologies and Lee is right, the variety of stories around one theme is very entertaining.
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