A writer’s world, which can often feel isolating and lonely, is enriched by fellowship. Some authors, like Kathi Macias, have learned to appreciate writing communities as more than sources of encouragement through their work in compilations and anthologies.
Kathi Macias currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Acquisitions for Elk Lake Publishing. She is celebrating the release of her latest compilation, The 12 Days of Christmas, a “unique Christmas collection” that includes “historical, contemporary, romantic, mysterious, and even Amish tales.”
Thank you for joining us as we celebrate the release of your newest compilation, The 12 Days of Christmas, Kathi.
Thank you so much, Xochi. I appreciate the chance to share with Inspire readers.
What first piqued your interest in organizing compilations?
Actually my very first published book—A Moment A Day—was a compilation of devotionals written by women from all around the country and from all walks of life. That was back in 1988, and it turned out to be a bestseller for my publisher, Regal Books. I’ve done a handful of compilations with various publishers since then, but none to equal the popularity of that one.
Why do you think writers can benefit from participating in compilations or anthologies?
It’s a wonderful foot-in-the-door for new or relatively new writers to help build their resumes and to make connections with other writers, as well as publishers and agents. That’s why I so appreciate the way Helping Hands Press extends that “helping hand” to new writers trying to establish/build a platform.
What are the challenges writers could face when participating in such projects?
New writers may struggle a bit with meeting deadlines and understanding the nuances of submitting for publication, but what better way to learn than in the safe, accepted environment of being part of a team?
I’ve been part of compilations—both stories within a book and books within a series—where all the authors had to work together to share settings and even some characters, so that was a bit more of a challenge, but a fun one that helps establish camaraderie.
What can writers do to find submission opportunities if they are interested in contributing to compilations or anthologies?
That’s a great question, and I don’t know of any one place. However, being active on writers loops (and there are many of them!) and/or Facebook writers’ pages is a great start. Let it be known that you’re interested in doing something like that, and watch posts for opportunities. Often, when some of us receive invitations to write for compilations and can’t accept for some reason, we often turn around and pass on the information to people we think might want to do it. Networking is the key. Stay in touch with other writers, and keep your ear to the ground. Something will come along.
Please share your top tip on writing for a compilation like The 12 Days of Christmas.
Though a compilation work like this offers opportunities to new writers, those of us putting the compilations together would like to receive as clean and well-written stories as possible. If you haven’t written fiction before and/or haven’t studied how to do it, please say so before accepting the assignment. Compilers are usually willing to polish a bit if needed, but we seldom have time to rewrite. Whether tackling a short story or a full-length novel, respect the type of work you’re doing and turn in your very best. It will no doubt make a difference when it comes to future assignments.
What is the most valuable lesson God has taught you through the process of working with multiple authors on these projects?
Different people have different personalities, and nearly all have busy schedules. When I set up writing schedules, I try to allow for a little flexibility because life happens, and we need to learn to roll with it. At the same time, professionals don’t take advantage of that. Meeting deadlines is vital to developing a successful writing career, so I stress that with those who come onboard with me. I also make a point to immediately connect all the writers on a project via an email loop so they can begin to talk back and forth and develop relationships, as well as pray for one another and for the project as a whole. It’s been a blessing to watch friendships blossom as a result.
What final word of encouragement would you like to share with writers who are interested in submitting their work to be considered for publication in a compilation or an anthology?
Don’t give up! Though compilations and anthologies aren’t as popular as they once were, they certainly aren’t extinct. Watch who’s publishing them and try to connect with them in one way or another. Let it be known that you’re interested—and then continue to pray for God to open doors while you faithfully continue learning to polish your craft. The right door will open at just the right time.
Thank you Kathi for sharing your knowledge and for demonstrating how writers can serve together as part of the Body of Christ through these unique publications.