Anthologies, Gateways and Portals By Gail Z. Martin
Anthologies are wonderfully fun for me as a reader because they’re sampler plates, where I can get a taste of different authors’ writing styles and glimpse the worlds they create. They’re also exciting for me as an author because I have a chance to draw readers into my worlds, offering them a gateway to my other series and a portal to new stories to lose themselves in and explore.
I’ve been in 45 or so US/UK anthologies over the last decade or so. All of them have had a theme, which made it fun because it posed a challenge for me to write something that fit, often pushing me outside my comfort zone. A theme unifies an anthology, regardless of the differing stories, or the range of authorial voice, tone, or worldbuilding. Sometimes, a themed anthology is a chance to play with other authors whose work is in a similar vein. In other cases, the theme draws together an unlikely group of authors, and that’s even more fun, because there’s an element that unites us when our overall bodies of work may have little in common.
As an author, anthologies have also been satisfying for me because they presented a chance to be in a collection with some of my favorite authors. Even if we haven’t met in person, our names share the same table of contents, which is enough to satisfy my inner fangirl. I’ve agreed to participate in some anthologies even when the theme gave me pause, because I didn’t want to turn down the chance to share a cover with one of my author idols.
As a reader, I’ve discovered new authors through anthologies and followed their trail of bread crumbs back to explore their novels and other works. I’ve also sometimes found myself in strange, wondrous and sometimes uncomfortable places, in stories that headed in unexpected and disquieting directions.
From the writing side, anthologies have also opened doors for me as an author. My short story, Buttons, first appeared in an urban fantasy anthology, and the editor extended an offer to write a book in the same world as that story, which became my Deadly Curiosities series. Since most of the stories I write for anthologies are grounded in one or another of my book series, they provide a great way for readers to get a taste for my style and then step through the gateway and experience the rest of the stories in that world.
More than once, the anthologies I’ve been in have also helped support worthy causes, raising money for charity, or rallying support for an author struggling with illness. Those have been some of the most eclectic collections, because the authors were brought together to help out, so the stories and subjects vary widely.
Publishing mavens may declare that anthologies are in or out, popular or dying, trendy or has- been. They’re welcome to their opinions, but from my experience, I’m pretty darn sure that anthologies are here to stay, and I’m excited to be a part of them.
About the author:
Gail Z. Martin writes epic fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books, Orbit Books, SOL Publishing, Darkwind Press, Worldbuilders Press and Falstaff Books. Recent books include Convicts and Exiles, Sellsword’s Oath, Inheritance, and Night Moves. With Larry N. Martin, she is the co-author of the Spells Salt & Steel, Wasteland Marshals, Joe Mack and Jake Desmet series. As Morgan Brice, she writes urban fantasy MM paranormal romance including the Witchbane, Badlands and Treasure Trail series. Recent books include The Rising, Flame and Ash.
Find her at www.GailZMartin.com
And get a free complete short story, Catspaw, here: https://claims.prolificworks.com/free/UAjd6