As an author who has been published in multiple anthologies, I have to say yes, but no.
Anthologies provide a reader with a chance to discover new authors without committing to a novel, if the author has one. Short stories, especially in this digital age, are making an amazing comeback, and anthologies are growing in popularity. Sometimes it’s nice to sit down for an hour or two and read an author’s complete work. It’s also fun to read different interpretations of a theme. I’m always amazed by the ideas sprouting up. It’s great to see so many talented authors writing on one theme. Anthologies are a lot of fun to read because of this. 🙂
For writers, anthologies are an important tool. First, it’s a great way to study voice. Since anthologies have a cohesive theme, someone studying the craft of writing can see how each voice varies on a theme.
ONE MORE DAY (coming in December from J. Taylor Publishing) has the theme of “What if tomorrow doesn’t happen?” Each author had to come up with an idea based on this theme. The mixture of ideas and voice in the anthology is amazing. I loved each of the stories and marveled at where these ideas came from.
UNCONVENTIONAL (available from Spencer Hill Press) has the theme of strange things at a con. The styles ranged from paranormal to science fiction, from an English convention to a comic con. Each story was unique within the theme .
DETRITUS (available from Omnium Gatherum Media) shared a theme of collections gone wrong. The stories ranged from dark fantasy to horror. Some made me shiver, others totally freaked me out.
Second, anthologies are a great way for authors to break into the publishing world. Publishing is hard. Even if you hear of a debut author hitting the literary library, chances are they’ve been slaving away just like the rest of the pre-published authors. Getting your toes wet with an anthology gives an author a peak at the editing process and how a book comes together.
If you’ve been hesitant to read an anthology or even write a story for one, give it a shot. Anthologies can open your eyes to several worlds at once.
And, like I said, they’re just a lot of fun. 🙂
Happy Reading and Writing.