Charity Anthologies

March 24, 2012 at 3:23 am (writing)

If you do a quick scan of the writer and publisher blogs out there, you’ll find a vast number of complaints about authors giving work away for “exposure” and how it devalues the work of authors in general. Of course, this usually comes from established writers who already have name recognition and don’t understand just how much the publishing industry has changed recently and how hard it is to create a name for yourself. And it does make a difference. There are plenty of publishers out there that won’t even consider your work unless you already have a name they recognize. Also, sampling is supposed to be one of the most effective means of marketing for writers.

That being said, while I might post the occasional story for free on a few sites out there so people can sample my work, ignoring the naysayers, and I gladly agree to the freebie weekends for my ebooks that my publishers have used for promotional purposes, I’m not keen on contributing my work to for-profit anthologies where I don’t even get a contributor copy. In fact, I have said “no” to specific requests of this type that have come my way. I’ll willingly, however, contribute to charity anthologies. I have two stories now in these types of books and a third submitted and waiting for a response. I don’t see a problem with donating my work for a good cause. I do it all the time in other ways. I donate money regularly to charity, I’m O negative, so I make a point of donating blood, and I donate artwork and baked goods and books for raffles and the like – so why not simply donate my words?

Surprisingly, you’ll find folks criticizing this choice out there as well, although it is less common and usually limited to the more abrasive types who just like to rant and be negative. I witnessed one small press publisher go on a tirade while attacking his peers who were not paying contributors and he included charity anthologies in his rant. But in general, these anthologies are well received. They are also a potential opportunity to have your work in the same book as established writers whom you respect. I’ve enjoyed that experience as well.

If you want to check out the charity anthologies to which I have contributed they include:

Waking the Witch- from May December Publications – all proceeds go to the Red Cross

Slices of Flesh – from Dark Moon Books – Net proceeds from this book will go to several charities including literacy programs, the Horror Writers of America hardship fund and the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation


  1. theleagueofelder said,

    Here’s a link to a short clip on YouTube where Harlan Ellison discusses this very same thing.

  2. chantellyb said,

    Typical industry intolerence of those who want to be read but hit brick walls at every turn in a very elitist industry. It’s like trying to get your first job in a bad economy where everyone has been downsized around you – you can’t get a job without experience, and you can’t get experience without a job, so you do volunteer work to get something on your resume and get trashed talked by those earning an income: “get a real job!” It’s no different in writing. You can’t get an acceptance from an agent/publishing house/pro-rate paying venue unless you have a fanbase, but you can’t get a fanbase without having people read your work. Those who are in the business have no clue what it’s like (or have forgotten) because they already have that recognized name and fanbase. But finding ways to get your work out there then puts a target square on your forehead – blame the amateurs for your woes. If they aren’t complaining about self-publishing, they are calling you a media whore for giving things away. If their writing is so much better than yours, meriting their celebrity, then it shouldn’t be an issue, right?

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