Writing Short Fiction for Anthologies

anthology short fiction

Anthologies are collections of short stories based around a central theme. Readers around the world love to read short fiction stories based on their favorite theme or genre.

For writers, one of the best ways to get your creative ideas flowing is to search through calls for submissions into anthologies.

While the pay rate for short fiction published in anthologies is not always high, there are many advantages to writing for these compilation markets.

These include:

  • 1. Adding a new published credit to add to your portfolio
  • 2. Stimulating your own creativity by reading through the submission guidelines of anthologies that interest you
  • 3. Breaking out of writer’s block by writing something short on a topic or theme created by someone else
  • 4. Honing your writing skills by mastering the short story format
  • 5. Showing a future novel editor that you can really write
  • 6. Enjoying that unique warm-fuzzy-proud feeling of being able to hold the completed book in your hand once it’s published
  • 7. Increasing your readership by introducing your work to a new audience
  • 8. And… you might actually receive a check for a few extra dollars!

There are plenty more reasons why writing for anthologies can be hugely beneficial for all writers, but these are the main ones that came to mind. Now we’ve looked into why writing and submitting short fiction to these markets can be a good thing, what happens if the story you write isn’t accepted?

Potentially, any anthology editor is going to receive several hundred submissions for a book that can only hold 20 or 25 stories.

So, how can you increase your chances of getting your story accepted?

Let’s look into some things you should remember when you’re submitting short stories to anthology editors.


The object of most anthology collections is to compile several stories that revolve around a central theme or genre. Most editors are very thorough about telling writers exactly what kind of story they want to see. They also usually make a mention of the things they don’t like or things they won’t accept. Keep those limitations in mind when it comes time to write.

When you’re browsing through lists of anthology markets, try to stick to themes or genres that you enjoy or that you feel you could work for you.

Light a Spark

As you read through each set of guidelines, you’ll notice that some just won’t appeal to you. However, there will be others that light a bit of a spark within the creative part of your mind. Write down the first idea that comes to you surrounding those particular guidelines and then see if there’s room to expand on that idea.

Think Outside the Box

Always keep in mind that the most obvious idea that pops into your head is very likely to be similar to every other submission the editor will receive. Take a careful look at your original idea and see where you can add a unique twist or if you can approach the situation from a fresh angle.

The more unusual or unexpected your story line is, the more chance you have of making your tale stick in the editor’s mind.

Submit Early

Most anthology listings have a clear deadline by which your submission needs to reach the editor’s desk. Many writers tend to leave their submissions until the last possible moment. If you imagine several hundred submissions landing on that editor’s desk within a couple of days, how focused do you think that poor editor is going to be after reading through them all?

If you can get your story submitted early then you have a much bigger chance of the editor reading it with fresh eyes without the distraction of all those other submissions.


It’s surprising how many writers create beautiful stories and then can’t find the courage to submit them to a market. Be brave and send your story out the door!

Finding Anthology Markets

There are plenty of sites offering anthology listings, including Fiction Factor’s own anthology market listings. Do a simple search on any search engine and you’ll be sure to find plenty of places offering submission guidelines for these under-rated markets.

You can also join Fiction Factor’s Facebook page to receive regular updates when new anthology guidelines are released.

Good luck with your submissions!

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Author: Lee

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