You may have heard about it or experienced it. Editors won’t consider publishing your book without an agent, and agents won’t consider representing you if you haven’t been published. While that’s not always true, it does happen. What’s a writer to do?
One thing you can do is build a portfolio of publishing credits by writing short stories for anthologies or compilations. Inspirational series such as Chicken Soup for the Soul and God Allows U-Turns are always looking for terrific, true stories that will touch the hearts of their readers.
I speak from personal experience. Five years ago, I attended my first Florida Christian Writers Conference with several book proposals. The proposals were not accepted, but I was encouraged to pursue writing magazine articles to hone my craft and develop credibility as an author. At that time I’d already had one story published in a volume of Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Over the next several years, twenty additional anthologies published my stories, including 15 different volumes of Chicken Soup for the Soul. I also wrote articles for a variety of magazines, including The Lookout, Evangel, and Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse.
Last year, Revell Books published my first book, One Year Alone with God: 366 Devotions on the Names of God. This year, Standard Publishing published two children’s books, Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today?, co-authored with Crystal Bowman.
If you are interested in learning how to write for anthologies, I’ll be teaching two workshops on Saturday, March 5th, at 2:45 and 4:00. In the first session, we’ll talk about the components of a winning story. We’ll spend the second session in a hands-on exercise as we turn a mediocre story into a winner, using the principles learned in the first workshop.
I’ll also be facilitating an “After Hours” session on Saturday evening where participants will have the opportunity to have their true stories critiqued, so bring something you’re working on!