Thursday, June 23, 2011

Guest Post: J.C. Martin

I'm so excited to be hosting J.C. Martin today as she begins her blog tour to promote Stories for Sendai. Stories for Sendai is a collection of 20 uplifting and inspirational short stories and poems about the strength of the human spirit. All proceeds from sales will be donated to charity in aid of victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami. Today J.C. will be discussing a subject I know absolutely nothing about: compiling an anotholgy. Take it away, J.C...

Thank you, Susan, for hosting us! :)

When I first decided to put together this anthology for charity, I knew there would be a lot of work involved--what I hadn't realised was just how much that was! Luckily for me, the wonderful
Michelle Davidson Argyle graciously stepped in as co-editor, and with her wealth of experience and expertise, we managed to get the project off the ground much sooner than I would have fumbling about on my own!

In the course of compiling the anthology, I’ve learned a lot about the process of publishing a collection of written work from contributing authors. Hopefully the information will be helpful to anyone considering doing the same.

Step 1: Decide on a Theme

This one was easy. I intended to compile the charity anthology in aid of victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami, so I’m looking for uplifting stories of hope and survival, of the strength of the human spirit, stories that will offer a silver lining in the dark clouds.

At the same time, I also decided on the charity the anthology would benefit. I settled on
Global Giving because the charity disburses funds to relief efforts at ground zero that need it most, including International Medical Corps and Save the Children.

Step 2: Call for Submissions, Deciding on a Time Frame

Our next step is to get the word out to as many writers as possible that we’re open to submissions. For this purpose, I set up a website for the anthology at, and Michelle and I directed everyone we knew to the site via our own blogs, Twitter and Facebook. The website contains information about the project, as well as our submission guidelines, which includes details like word limit, font, layout, etc. I also set up a listing on Duotrope Digest, which is free to do. I know we received at least one submission from the site, so it was worth doing it!

We also needed to impose a submissions deadline. As we wanted to release the anthology as soon as possible, before the plight of Japan got overshadowed by other news, we decided on a short turnaround time: a two-month period for submissions, from mid-March to May 15th, with the anthology being published on June 30th.

Step 3: Publicise, Publicise, Publicise!

We continued to publicise our call for submissions through different online channels. I was in a mild state of panic in the first few weeks, as we got few submissions for the anthology, but Michelle assured me that people will tend to submit closer to the deadline, and sure enough, she was right! Panic over!

Step 4: The Selection Process

This was my chance to feel like an agent/editor for a few days! After the deadline, it was time to read through all the entries we received and to pick our favourites to be included in the anthology. One small problem: the standard of entries were so high, we were forced to be mega-picky! In a nutshell, we looked for stories that reflected our chosen theme, were well written, and that touched our heart in some way.

I felt bad having to decline some really good submissions—I wonder if real agents feel that way when they reject a manuscript?

Once we announced the final list of accepted entries, the real work truly began!

Part 2 of compiling an anthology will deal with the publication process, and will be hosted tomorrow by Charity Bradford @
My Writing Journey! See ya there! And do follow the rest of the Blog Tour de Force: check out the schedule here!

Oh, and don’t forget to buy your copy of Stories for Sendai when it releases on June 30th! If everybody buys a copy on the same day, it’ll help boost the book’s rankings on the Amazon charts, and further increase our exposure! Apart from the obvious fact that the more copies we sell, the more we can help Japan, we’re also running a prize draw! Visit the
Stories for Sendai site for more details!

Thanks so much for visiting today, J.C.! And I hope you'll all check out J.C.'s blog and Stories for Sendai!


Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

I've alway been curious about how anthologies are put together. Thanks for shedding light on the subject. Stories for Sendai sounds like a worthwhile read :)

DEZMOND said...

oooh, I love anything that is uplifting :)
And I agree with my Sammy above!

Old Kitty said...

Thank you so much JC Martin and co for all your hard working in putting together this amazing anthology!! I wish you all the best with it!!

Thanks lovely Susan for hosting! Take care

Rebecca Kiel said...

What a great idea! I will definitely hope over.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

A lot of work, but well worth it!

Joanne said...

What an amazing journey the process seems to be ... and for a great cause, too. Kudos to you!

Deniz Bevan said...

Wow, this sounds like a great project. Thanks for sharing the nuts n bolts of it with us!

Tony Van Helsing said...

Interesting stuff.

Brian said...

That is such an inspiring project, bravo to J.C. and Michelle!

Madeleine said...

Looks like a great project, though the post colour scheme is rather difficult for my eyes I'm afraid. Sorry :O0

Cinders said...

That's so nice you're donating the sales to charity.

Misha said...

I found this post rather intriguing, as I'm also thinking about putting together an anthology one day.

But I don't think I'd be able to stand the suspense.


Maeve Frazier said...

Hi Susan - I have an award for you on my blog! Please stop by.

Lydia K said...

I've always been curious about the process too, great post!

The Golden Eagle said...

Thanks for the information on compiling an anthology--I had been curious about how it was done. :)

Great post!

J.C. Martin said...

Hi guys, thanks for all your comments! I hope some of you will find the information useful! Really appreciate everyone's support in this project! :)

Lynda R Young said...

Great info. It's good to know how anthologies are put together.

Nas Dean said...

Thanks for sharing the processes of putting together an anthology! Great information and all the best for Stories for Sendai!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

You had the power of an agent - how fun!

Jai Joshi said...

What a beautiful project and how interesting that you learned so much about the process of putting together an anthology, especially regarding the whole query and submissions process. And the publicity. The experience will hold you in good stead with other projects too.