By Jennifer Hallmark
Book compilations. Freelance writing. Can the two be combined? Isn’t a compilation a bunch of novellas yoked together?
A compilation is, in simpliest terms, a gathering or compiling of different items to produce a finished product. So, yes, a book compilation can be several novellas that fit together. Christmas and romance compilations are very popular.
But I’ve been part of four compilations that did not fit the novella template. The first I was part of, gathered by Tracy Ruckman, then of Write Integrity Press, was a novella called A Dozen Apologies. I was asked to contribute a chapter to the work which consisted of one novella. Later, Tracy asked me to contribute a chapter to another novella, Unlikely Merger.
I also took part in a short story compilation, Sweet Freedom A La Mode, compiled by Jennifer Slattery. She added two of my short stories to the compilation which centered around the Fourth of July.
Lastly, I contributed an essay to the non-fiction book, Not Alone: A Literary & Spiritual Companion for Those Confronted with Infertility & Miscarriage, edited by Jessica Snell. I shared my difficult journey of a miscarriage that I hoped would help others dealing with this type of tragedy.
Four compilations. Four different works that had different contracts, expectations, and three different editors and publishers. But since a freelance writer is a writer who is self-employed, writing for book compilations is a good way to supplement your income. If you are prolific, you can make a living at it. Or at least make a little money while you write the next Great American Novel.
I love being part of a book compilation because the writing was fun and I enjoyed working with different editors and people who also took part in the work. It was a great learning experience for me and proved to be helpful as I prepare to launch my first novel next June.
I asked some of my friends the same question and they said:
I love being part of a book compilation because…
Julie Arduini: “I love being part of a book compilation because it allows the opportunity to work with some of my favorite authors. Before I started writing to publish, I was a voracious reader. The authors are talented and writing with them made me want to stretch and grow in my craft. Readers also are able to enjoy the creativity that evolves when the compilation has a theme, like A Christmas to Remember. The authors take that one premise and write. Not one story is the same, and yet they are sewn together by the theme. Mixing the authors and theme together creates a beautiful tapestry that I pray is a gift to readers when they open our compilation.”
Find Julie’s book at Amazon.
Eva Marie Everson: There is the challenge–and as an author I love challenges–to writer tighter than usual. I cannot tell my story in 100,000 words. Or even 85,000. I have 20-25,000 words to draw readers in, keep them in, and take them to a satisfying conclusion. A Southern Season was my first attempt at this. Much harder than I thought, but incredibly satisfying when I was done. And I got to work with great authors like Claire Fullerton, Ane Mulligan, and Linda W. Yezak!
Find Eva Marie’s book at Amazon.
Claire Fullerton: Being a contributor to a book compilation gives the great gift of camaraderie to a writer. There is supportive resonance in group association, and I find the act of being a team-player rife with motivation. I was recently invited to be a contributor to a compilation of four novellas, in a book titled A Southern Season (Firefly Southern Fiction.) Four authors contributed to this book, with the only guidelines being that each novella was to be set in the South, during one of the four seasons. I chose the autumn, and felt as I wrote my novella that I was upholding my end of what would be a book comprised of a year’s full cycle. Because autumn is a month I associate with decline, I chose to set my novella at a Memphis funeral, replete with bouts of nostalgia, Southern customs, and social mores. Though I have been given the proof, intentionally I have not read the contributions of the three other authors who contributed to the book. I am waiting until the November 1st release of A Southern Season, and am looking forward to reading its entirety, with the satisfaction that will come from being a part of this compilation.
Find Claire’s book at Amazon.
Ginger Solomon: “I feel blessed to join with other authors in group sets because we all write with similar goals in mind, glorifying God in our writing and blessing our readers with clean stories. And it’s a great opportunity for readers to find out if they like what I write while getting other great books to read at the same time.”
Find Ginger’s book at Amazon.
Elizabeth Maddrey: “I love being part of a book compilation because it’s a great chance to be introduced to new readers who are fans of author friends but who are new to me.”