Writing an Anthology & Saving Independent Bookstores

Victoria Zackheim gave an outstanding talk at the California Writers Club on Saturday.  Although she spoke on creating anthologies, much of  what she said applies to all writing. 

Which is why it’s so wonderful to attend many genres of authors speak.  Their advice and vision help all writers in ways we don’t realize until we hear them.

Regarding nonfiction books:  “Write the proposal first.  This is a clear idea of what the book is about.  It becomes an outline for you.” 

About any kind of writing:  “Dig deeper.  There’s more to the story.  There’s something  you don’t want to talk about.” 

“Describe your book in thirty words or less. Brevity works.”

Regarding anthologies:  “A community of writers is formed around each book. Now they’re creating their own communities of friends.” 

And when she wrote her introduction for the proposal of the book, 90% became the introduction of the book itself. 

What are editors looking for in an anthology? 

*originality in concept

*new ideas for fiction

*established and up-in coming authors (Not widely published so they can create a platform for them.  This gives hope for everyone!)

*provocative subjects

*ensemble that sparks interest and inspires

Writing Prompt:

1.  Write thirty words on about your book. 

2.  Come up with an idea for an anthology.  You can even do one for fun within your writing group or writing community. 

3.  Read a good anthology, such as He Said What? Women Write About Moments When Everything Changed, edited by Victoria Zackheim.


There’s an article in The New Yorker about saving independent bookstores.  The question is this:  should we?  The point has been made that video stores have disappeared.  There’s no longer a need. Why should there be one for the small  bookstore? 

I’ve had this theory since Amazon and the big chain stores popped up in our towns, closing independent bookstores.  The prices on Amazon (and their unfair no-tax system) can’t be beat.  And today’s society likes to press buttons.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out they’d win over the brick and mortar chain stores.


You know what people thrive on?

A sense of belonging.  Community. 

I sense the time of independent bookstores will be right around the corner.  A few have started popping up here and there.   And many cities have never let theirs die off in the first place.  They still have author readings, book clubs and great book selections. 

So hope, pray, and visit your nearest independent bookstore. 


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