Monday, August 25, 2008

By Elissa Gabrielle

Greetings Family, my name is Elissa Gabrielle, I am a multi-genre writer and contributor to several anthologies, including The Triumph of My Soul, which is the first in a series of inspirational anthologies which are scheduled to release in 2009.
So, how are you doing today? Blessed? Amen? I hope so. I’m really excited about being a guest blogger today. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Linda Beed, who is one of the kindest, most intelligent women I have had the pleasure of knowing, for the invite.

Okay, so let’s get started. Today, we are discussing anthologies.

Is participating in an anthology right for you?

Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on many things.

If you’re a new writer, an anthology is a great way to reach new readers and get your name out there. You can possibly develop a following just from your participation in an anthology. In 2007, I was blessed with the opportunity to participate in an anthology published by author and publisher, Jessica Tilles. And membership does have its privileges. Because of my contributions in her anthology, two under my name and one under my pseudonym, I developed a pretty sizeable fan base. I received a ton of emails upon the book’s publication, and still receive emails to this day. Those readers keep in touch and have purchased my other books and eagerly anticipate the release of future works.

Have you truly read the call for submissions?

I’ve read on several boards, the disappointment by some new authors about their participation in an anthology. Their major gripe is that they haven’t made a dime. But, was a dime offered in the call for submissions? You must be very careful, and read thoroughly, the call for submissions prior to submitting to an anthology. If the call for submissions indicates monetary compensation, then that represents your “dime.” If the call indicates a certain amount of books as compensation, then that’s your “dime.” I cannot stress how important it is to read and understand the call for submissions prior to submitting.

Taking advantage of your participation?

When you are accepted into an anthology, consider it a blessing. Your short story should put your name in front of a whole new set of readers, which may turn into your readers. Anytime you have the opportunity to reach a new audience, run with it, and ride it till the wheels fall off. Remember, every time you’re published, you’re adding a new entry on to your writer’s resume. You can also take a bold step and see if the publisher is looking for manuscripts. Trust me, this has happened and contributors have received publishing offers because of their participation and also their tenacity.

Can participating in an anthology be a bad thing?

Sure. It is important to look at the track record of the publishing company who is compiling and publishing the anthology. As with anything in life, you should do your research.

*Have they done an anthology before?
*Have you heard horror stories about them?
*Have you seen any of their work?

Marketing and Promotions

When I decided to create the Triumph series, I knew I would have to come in with a bang. A relative newcomer with a huge idea is usually dismissed by most until proven otherwise. In order for me to make noise with the first in the series, I knew that I had to step outside of my comfort zone, by trying something different and thinking outside of the box. Sure, I had some heavyweights in the book like Jessica Tilles, who is a best selling author and incredibly gifted writer, and Cheryl Lacey Donovan who is a phenomenon in the making, but with many new authors in the book, it became even more important to create a buzz. In my heart, I knew that all of the contributors were special and truly talented, but my knowing this didn’t mean a thing. I had to show and prove.

How do you step outside of the box?

Well, for Triumph, I decided to dedicate a website to the book itself, for several reasons. The first reason being that I was so grateful for all of the wonderful people I was working with on the anthology. Because I was it was important to me as a publisher to do everything possible to ensure that the contributors were seen and heard. I also wanted the site, to be a one stop shop, where a potential reader could learn more about the authors, read excerpts, view the contributors’ itineraries, and view photos of the various signings. The site also links to the various contributors websites, thus allowing them more exposure.

Also developing a media kit for the book was a great idea. The media kit consisted of a press release, and more information about each author. The kit also contained blurbs from various authors who read advanced review copies and endorsed the book.

Creating a Myspace page for the book allowed garnered more exposure for the book and more potential readers.

You really have to treat your book like a product and market your product to your potential consumer.

How does your product reach the consumer?

The same way that bottle of Pepsi reaches your kitchen table. Well, sort of. In order to get this product to you I had to create the brand, research and implement brand marketing and strategy, by way of radio interviews, print and online media outlets and word of mouth.

Authors do benefit from participation

Authors Cheryl Lacey Donovan, Lorraine Elzia and Linda R. Herman, contributors to The Triumph of My Soul, share their experience:

“Being a part of the triumph experience has been more than I could ever imagine. Elissa Gabrielle is a godsend. I am truly thankful to her for the opportunity she has afforded me.”
~Cheryl Lacey Donovan, author of the forthcoming The Ministry of Motherhood

“Upon submitting to The Triumph of My Soul, I thought I was just submitting to another anthology, another avenue to add a publication to my writer's resume. That was my goal...little did I know that inclusion in this anthology would be a turning point in my life and my career as an author.
~Lorraine Elzia, author of the forthcoming Mistress Memoirs

“As a contributor to The Triumph of My Soul, I gained more writing experience as well as exposure. It was quite the experience working with Elissa and the other talented contributors, connecting through our yahoo group, website, and MySpace. We're a family!”
~Linda R. Herman, author of Consequences

Gee whiz, I’ve been told that I’m long-winded, and after reading through this, I’d have to agree. I’m here to answer any questions you may have. And I look forward to communicating with you all.

So, ask away, I’m all ears!

Elissa Gabrielle is an author, publisher and founder of the greeting card line – Greetings from the Soul: The Elissa Gabrielle Collection.

The Triumph series was birthed out of a need I saw in those around me. I heard and witnessed their heartaches. It seemed that the weight of the world had fallen on their shoulders in such a way that many were succumbing to the problem. They had forgotten that God still loves them. Many of these people don’t read the types of books that would lead them to God. However, many of them would read a book by their favorite author, and even one that their favorite has contributed to. With this series, these readers are introduced to stories and circumstances that have encouraged, inspired and enlightened them. Its goal is to encourage and to inspire, and the first book in the series has done just that.

Elissa has been nominated for Self-Published Author of the Year for The Triumph of My Soul for the 2008 African American Literary Awards Show. If you like you may cast your vote at:

You can learn more about Elissa and the Triumph Series at: http://


Ty said...

Good information Elissa. I have the guidelines to a few anthologies that I'm thinking about submitting to by the end of the year. Just hard to find the time to write in between editing my manuscripts. LOL!

Linda Beed said...

Elissa I am so pleased with the information given on antholgies. Your clear and concise presentation of what to expect and how to effectively promote the individual contribution is very insightful.

Thank you - Linda!

Lorraine Elzia said...


As someone that has been in a few anthologies, I thought the information you presented was very informative, especially the part about compensation and watching what anthologies you submit to. Most authors don't pay attention to those sorts of things which are extremely important.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, Ladies. I'm glad the information is helpful.


Elissa Gabrielle

Livetalkradio said...

Thanks for shining the light on anthologies. That is so true Elissa about you have to read and do your homework before commit.

LaShaunda said...


You are so right. You do need to know what you want from the anthology.

I participated in one, How I Met My Sweetheart. To me it was a tribute to my wonderful husband. I wanted to leave something behind to represent my writing and my love for him.

I didn't expect to make big bucks. I sold one book and I was thrilled with that.

I did my first booksigning with my family and you would have thought I was a bestseller, that's how I felt.

Would I do another anthology. I don't know depends on the content. However I do believe you get what you put into it.

Thanks for the great post.

Elissa Gabrielle said...


It is so very endearing to read your post and the reason why you chose to participate in an anthology. I love it.

I get the newsletters, and I love them and love what you're doing.

When Triumph won Sormag's award, everyone, and I mean everyone was informed.

Keep up the wonderful work, Sister.



Anonymous said...

Is the contributor able to use their story for other purposes without promoting the entire book?

Kreshanna Hunter

Yasmin said...

Excellent interview thanks for inviting me over!

Jackie Moore said...

As one of the contributing authors to the "Triumph" anthology, I can't say enough about how the experience has changed my life as a writer. Never in my wildest dreams, did I expect the type of media blitz that Elissa created with this anthology. Her level of commitment to this project AND her other ensuing projects has been phenomenal. To work with a publisher of her caliber has truly been a blessing. Thank you, Elissa!

Elissa Gabrielle said...

Dear Kreshanna,

That depends on the contract you sign. Again, before submitting to an anthology, if you can, find out all of the details regarding your rights as the owner of the story. And if your story is accepted, read the fine print and make sure you are able to use the story in another venue. Personally, I haven't seen the same story by an author in more than one anthology.

As far as promoting, again, discuss that with the publisher of the anthology.

Elissa Gabrielle

Elissa Gabrielle said...

Dear Yasmin,

Thanks for stopping through. And thanks for giving Triumph 5 stars!



Who Is Tifany Jones? said...

Hi Elissa,

Your blog was very informative. What advice would you give to a new author being feautred in an anthology? What should be the first thing they do?

Elissa Gabrielle said...

Dear Jackie,

Your comment means the world to me. I'm very happy to know you. You are truly a woman of virtue.

If you didn't know, Jacqueline Moore has daily devotionals that are more than phenomenal. I signed up for them, and these devotionals truly lift my spirit on a daily basis. I highly suggest you send an email to to get your daily does of love and encouragement.


Elissa Gabrielle

Elissa Gabrielle said...

Hi Tifany!

How are you? Add the anthology to your literary resume and ride the opportunity until the wheels fall off! Inquire with the publisher to see if there are any signing opportunities, or any promotional/media related opportunities.


Anonymous said...

What is your opinion on anthologies that require the contributor to pay for submission and to buy a certain amount of books as part of their contract?

Kreshanna Hunter

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this. I recently agreed to be in an anthology and I feel much better knowing that I made the right choices.

Elissa Gabrielle said...

Dear Kreshanna,

Tough question. Personally, for the Triumph series, I do not charge a fee for inclusion nor do I require that the contributors purchase a certain amount of books.

I want to be extremely careful with my response as to not discourage anyone or to discredit another publisher's guidelines.

A publisher has a right to set the guidelines they choose for inclusion in their anthology. It is up to the author to accept the publisher's guidelines and requirements or not.


Elissa Gabrielle

Author Jessica "Lyric" Robinson said...

This blog was very informational. Participating in an anthology is such a valuable thing. It can actually be the launch of your literary career. I feel it is a great way to get your name out there as a writer. It has definitely given me a start. Great blog Elissa