Anthologies, collections of various authors’ stories, are an attractive prospect for many new or not so new, but still aspiring authors. The chance to have your writing in print, your story chosen by strangers is an affirmation and you have something to show your relatives. Your story will be surely be read by all the friends and relatives of each writer who features in the anthology and perhaps one of them will be a publisher, head of BBC Drama or a film producer… The route to these exciting possibilities is often via a competition, you might also win some money and impress your family.
Back in 2009 I was browsing in Borders, a heavenly mix of music, books and magazines; lurking on a bottom shelf under writing and history magazines was a colourful monthly publication called First Edition. Get Yourself Published For Free it proclaimed. Of course that meant they would not be paying YOU for your stories, but that didn’t seem to matter and one of my stories, Reality, was accepted, my brief biography sent off and in due course my free November copy arrived in the post. I immediately rushed off to check the shelves of Borders and WH Smith to buy another copy to send to my mother. I then e-mailed friends and family who hunted in their local branches; I could say I was in print nationwide. Alas, that edition, only the ninth issue, was the last and by the end of that year Borders had suffered a similar demise in the UK. I wonder what happened to the second story I sent them?
The first time I won a prize was second place in Wrekin Writers’ competition, the cheque for £70 impressed Cyberspouse. The story, Darren’s Day Out, was the first I wrote for the writers’ group I still belong to. The subject was the door, I later added the second part. You can read that story and others at my website.
Dorset Voices was compiled by Poundbury Voices and published by Roving Press, foreword by Prince Charles. Poundbury is an experimental new town on the outskirts of Dorchester in the county of Dorset, England. The development is built on land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall.
Writers were invited to submit short stories, articles and poems, paying £6 to ‘encourage’ them to send their best work; they didn’t have to write specifically about Dorset, but I figured it would increase my chances. Photographers were invited to submit black and white photographs. My story ‘Four Days In June’ was accepted and the book was launched at Bournemouth Library. Those writers able to attend each read an excerpt from their work. By happy coincidence my sister was on holiday from Australia – Cyberspouse was happy as he didn’t have to come to the launch and my sister could take a copy back for my mother, thus saving on postage. I did get a free copy, but also bought several as gift ideas. Prince Charles did not come to the launch.
My favourite covers are those of the first two volumes of An Eclectic Mix. I have two stories in each.
Thanet Writers publish articles, stories and poems daily on their website and a dozen of mine have featured. This year my story ‘Thanephant an Elephantasy’ was included in Shoal, their first anthology, published as a paperback and on Amazon Kindle. It was launched at Turner Contemporary Gallery, Margate in May.
You can read Darren’s Day Out, Four Days In June and stories from Eclectic Mix in the third collection of my own stories, Times and Tides.