This week, I invited my writing colleague Cathy MacKenzie to write about the appeal of anthologies. One of my short stories was recently featured in an anthology she published, Out of the Cave. I enjoyed learning a bit of history about the book’s cover (of course, I enjoy all things spooky!). I was excited to write “The Grip” for the anthology because I love creepy stories. I read Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark so many times as a kid that I had the tales memorized. I hope in this anthology, young readers of dark tales will find new favorites to keep them up at night!
Give Anthologies a Chance
I’ll be honest: anthologies aren’t a great sell, perhaps rated just above poetry collections, yet I think shorts are wonderful to read.
On August 1, 2016, I published (under my imprint, MacKenzie Publishing) my first anthology, a book of 21 short stories by 21 authors, titled OUT OF THE CAVE.
OUT OF THE CAVE is packed to the brim with horror-themed stories suitable for teens and youth. And, despite anthologies not being the rage, I plan to publish another anthology next year, titled TWO EYES OPEN, this time for adults.
People don’t have long attention spans anymore, so readers should be clamouring for short stories. I love shorts—both to read and to write. I’ve published several collections of my own stories and am always on the lookout for anthologies to purchase and read.
On August 2, Hope Clark, a successful author, was gracious enough to write a guest post on my blog that she titled “The Short Reality of Shorts.” She stated:
As a writer, short pieces scare me. As a six-time novelist and one-time nonfiction book author, I find comfort in longer prose. But I have to admit . . . there’s no writing more profound than a short that snaps in its delivery. Short fiction, flash fiction, memoir, and essays. It takes intense craft to make those pieces zing.
OUT OF THE CAVE is my “pride and joy” (to use a cliché). It’s my baby, and I don’t hesitate spamming and publicizing wherever and whenever (versus promoting my own writings). Sales have been “okay” though not as great as I had hoped. But, hey, I’m not dead yet; OUT OF THE CAVE can still be a best seller!
I created the cover for the book from a photo of one of the many caves on Phia Beach in New Zealand. Until I had completed the cover, I hadn’t realized a ghostly image peeked through the sunlight between the rocks. I first thought the “ghost” was Hubby and then, suddenly, recognized myself. Funny, because I have no recollection posing for that shot.
I lucked out when I snagged Steve Vernon, a prolific local (Nova Scotia, Canada) writer of ghost stories and such, to write the foreword to OUT OF THE CAVE. Part of his awesome foreword reads:
Kids of all ages CONSTANTLY live in the shadow of fear. Am I going to be good enough? Are my parents going to get divorced? Am I going to be popular enough? Will Dad lose his job? Can I pass that darned math test? Will those bullies leave me alone?
Fear—kids live in it constantly—and a good scary story teaches a kid how to deal with fear. And THAT, more than anything else, is why you ought to let your kids read all of the scary stories that they can get their hands on.
So let’s do that today.
Pick up this book and buy it and give it to your kid.
Let’s drag scary stories out of the darkness of the cave.
Several stories in OUT OF THE CAVE were written by local authors; others are from writers living in Japan, Mexico, the U.S. and other parts of Canada. The stories are a mix of horror, supernatural, suspense, mystery, and thriller—but totally PG13, suitable for teens 13 and up. Adults, too, would enjoy them, though those readers might want to wait for TWO EYES OPEN.
And speaking of my next anthology, TWO EYES OPEN, I need to snare a famous horror writer to write that foreword. I do have an individual in mind (perhaps another “Steve”?). We shall see….
Though I enjoyed the process of publishing OUT OF THE CAVE, the book was more work than I had anticipated. I gathered the stories, which resulted from a submissions call I widely publicized, and weeded the best from the bunch. I read each story several times, corresponded with the authors, edited the stories, formatted the book, and published it.
Whew! But all that effort pales in comparison to promotion and garnering sales.
Writers need sales. What’s the good of publishing a book if no one purchases and/or reads it?
My purpose for OUT OF THE CAVE was to encourage teens/youth to read. And who doesn’t enjoy an excellent ghost story?
Shirley, an adult reader/local purchaser, stated:
Good mix of disturbing stories. Some of the stories keep coming back to haunt my dreams. Not sure if I’d want to deal with kids in my house who might want Mommy reassurance after they experienced similar nightmares. All the stories are well-written and/or well-edited.
So, hey, give anthologies a chance—whether mine or another! OUT OF THE CAVE would make an excellent birthday, Christmas, or all-occasion gift for a son/daughter, grandchild, or other deserving youth. Purchase here!
Please leave a review, whether good or bad. Reviews help us indie authors capture sales.
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