I've been reading lots of anthologies of non-fiction essays, including Twentysomething Essays, Death by Pad Thai, and Expat. Some of the essays are by established writers and some are from unknowns, but they're all great to read. Do you think you need to be agented to find these kinds of opportunities? How do other writers do it? Do they have an unpublished essay lying around or do they get asked to write one specifically for the anthology?
Funny, I just bought The Bitch In the House, so your question was timely. That said, I don't have the slightest idea. So...I turned to my fabulous and wise agent, who had this to say.
"A lot of times, the 'editor' of the anthology will send out a mass email, asking authors, usually published as it helps the chances for the book to be sold, for a commitment, a paragraph idea for how they would spin the anthology’s topic, and a bio. So, it certainly helps to be published in that topic and to be enmeshed in that world of writers.
I often have editors come to me and ask me if I have any authors who might be right for a story on X…and then I forward it on…but it’s not something I commission. It’s little money but a great way to build your platform.
I guess if the author is unpublished, a way to throw her hat in the ring would be to contact the editor of a previous anthology, via a fan letter (for example, Sally Wofford Girand has now worked on two) and get her name on editor's radar."
Oh, my agent, she's so brilliant!
Anyone out there ever contributed to an anthology? If so, how did it happen?