Monday, November 21, 2011

Have You Tried Writing For Charity?

Debra Purdy Kong wrote a great post yesterday about using writing contests to build your confidence, reputation and body of work.

I've also enjoyed writing for charity anthologies. In the past, I've had stories in two anthologies published by Wolfmont Press to benefit the Marines' Toys for Tots, DYING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND and THE GIFT OF MURDER.  I didn't make it into the latest, MURDER TO MIL-SPEC, which benefited Homes For Our Troops, but you can bet I bought a copy!

I do have two charity stories coming out this Christmas season: one in SPEC THE HALLS, speculative fiction set in the winter holidays, to benefit Heifer International; one in Black Car Publishing's DARK THINGS II: CAT CRIMES (no link yet), benefiting animal shelters.

Being accepted in charity anthologies means you donate your story and make no money (unless you buy copies at the author's price and sell them at the cover price). I've usually re-sold them at the price I paid OR, better yet, donated the difference between what I paid and the cover price to a local charity.

In addition to the benefits Debra listed for entering contests, donating stories to charity can extend your reach beyond the people who would ordinarily find you in their book browsing and give you new sales venues. The SPEC THE HALLS book will appeal to supporters of Heifer International, no matter what kind of fiction they usually read. The CAT CRIMES book will appeal to cat fanciers in addition to mystery readers. And that's icing on top of the cake of knowing you did A Good Thing.

I still have a few days to submit to Ethics Trading's anthology to benefit Doctors Without Borders. If I don't make it into that one, I can try for their next one.

Keep an eye out for charity anthologies. Do search for "charity anthology" or "stories for charity" or put the word out on your writer's grapevine that you're looking for those publications.

Oh, one more thing: If you're shy about plugging your own work, being part of a charity anthology is a great way to break that ice. I can push an anthology I'm not making a nickle from like crazy (see above).

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

5 comments:

CPatLarge said...

I didn't really consider it writing for charity when I took on my first full-length non-fiction book, but that's what it was. Proceeds from my 2009 Historic Warren County: An Illustrated History support local preservation efforts while adding a great writing credit to my list of publications.

I did it again this year with a personal essay in the Reflections from Women anthology, The Moment I Knew. Three charities serving women and children are supported by this wonderful group. I'm proud to be included, and as you mentioned, it's much easier to promote a book I'm not earning a cent on myself.

Cyndi

Marian Allen said...

Excellent, Cyndi! And thank you so much for leaving a link to that anthology. It feels great to use a talent to benefit people, isn't it?

Marian Allen

Marian Allen said...

By the way, any visitors who know of anthologies benefiting charities and especially if you're in any, drop some links on us.

Marian Allen

CPatLarge said...

It does indeed, Marian. I don't have the resources to give money, so my time and talents are my contribution.

Cyndi

Debra Purdy Kong said...

Thanks for your kind comments, Marian, and great post!