It’s amazing to me that compiled books are still being published. Even what is most likely the longest running series, the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, is still taking submssions and printing books. Years ago, a publisher invited me to start a compiled series called God’s Vitamin "C" for the Spirit and I caught the fever. I ended up compiling and editing about a dozen books in the series. Every once in a while someone contacts me with an idea for a compiled book and I still contribute to those as I can. Because of the successful books in my series, I could call myself "a best-selling author" and those books helped put my two children through college.
Maybe you’ve toyed with the idea for a compiled book. Here is the "Guidelines" list that gives the information you may want to include in the letter/email inviting writers to contribute.
- Deadline date for submitting submissions.
- Word Count: Give the parameters for the least and most number of words you’ll consider. Indicate whether the word count includes any biographical information (if you do include a bio).
- Are you willing to take previously published material or not?
- What rights are you giving: exclusive or non-exclusive?
- Give an example of what you’re looking for.
- Style and format: For example, should there be included a quote and/or Scripture? Do you want it instructional and/or anecdotal, or only one of those?
- Any payment? If no payment, be sure to include that.
- Will they receive complimentary copy(ies) of the book? Can they buy the book at a discount?
- Will you return their manuscript? Will you notify them whether or not you’ll use their submission? Some projects only notify the writers if the submission will be used.
- How should submissions be submitted? Email or hard copy? If email, should they include it within the body of the email or as an attachment?
- Will you include a bio? If so, how many words? Should they send it with their submission or after being notified their material will be used?
- Can they send more than one submission?
Once you’ve decided these guidelines, how will you alert writers of your project? Of course, social media is your first choice, but you can also send printed copies of your invitation to writers conferences and ask them to place them on the freebie table. It would be best if you can contact them first to find out if they’ll do that.
You could also send a noticce to the different writers groups listed in The Christian Writers Market Guide.
One of the joys of working on the Vitamin "C" for the Spirit series was giving many writers their first opportunity of being published. I hear from some of them every once in a while. They tell me how encouraging it was to receive that first acceptance and many of them are active writers today. That always blesses my heart.
Maybe you’ll be the next successful compiled series originator. If you are planning one, let me know. I’d love to contribute!
Kathy Collard Miller is the author of 49 published books. Her 50th (which will be co-authored with her husband, Larry) will be published in January, 2015, and is entitled Never Ever Be the Same: A New You Starts Today (Leafwood Publishers). She is also a popular women’s conference speaker and has spoken in 31 states and 7 foreign countries. Next month (Sept. 2014), she’ll head to China to speak there for the first time. Kathy lives in Southern California and blogs at www.KathyCollardMiller.com