Freelance Writing: Book Compilations

By Jennifer Hallmark

Book compilations. Freelance writing. Can the two be combined? Isn’t a compilation a bunch of novellas yoked together?

Sometimes.

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.”

Find Elizabeth’s book at Amazon.
Linda Yezak: I love being in a compilation because it affords me the opportunity to write in genres other than my brand. I get a kick out of it. In November this year, my novella Ice Melts in Spring will be released from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolina’s Firefly imprint. This is my first purely Christian Women’s Fiction novella, meaning that if you take the Christian theme out, the story will crumble. In August of 2018, my first historical romance novella, Loving a Harvey Girl, will be released through LPC’s Smitten imprint. Ordinarily, I write contemporary “cowboy” romance, so going off track is fun!
Find Linda’s compilation book at Amazon.

Anthology: From the Lake to the River by JPC Allen and Various Authors

Happy Saturday! It is my pleasure to welcome author JPC Allen to the Inspired Prompt.  Allen has taken part in a new anthology by the Buckeye Christian Fiction Authors.

Good morning, JPC.

Do you have any interesting writing rituals?

 JPC: I have to write all first drafts and any major revisions in longhand. I can easily make minor changes on a computer. But trying to write straight out of my imagination onto a stark white, digital page somehow squashes my creativity. The computer acts like a barrier, as if I was sculpting with oven mitts.

What is the book about?

 JPC: From the Lake to the River is an anthology of nine stories all set in Ohio. My short story “Debt to Pay” concerns a teenager and his older brother who live in Wayne National Forest. While out cutting wood, they stumble across a dying millionaire, who claims his private plane was rigged to crash. Do the brothers seek justice or cash in?

What is your favorite part of the book?

 JPC: Since it’s a short story, I don’t want to give away too much of the plot. But I like that this story fits in the crime fiction subgenre “country noir”, combining a rural setting with elements from classic film noir.

Is there a message in your book you hope readers will grasp? 

 JPC: I wouldn’t call it a message. More like a concept for readers to consider. As I wrote my story, I was struck by the paradox that often the people we owe the most are ones who least expect, or even want, to be repaid.

Where can readers find you online?

 JPC: I offer writing tips and inspiration to beginning writers on my website “JPCAllenWrites” and on my Facebook page. You can also find me on Instagram.

Website: https://jpcallenwrites.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JPCAllenWrites/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jpcallenwrites/

Click to Tweet: JPC Allen talks about a new anthology from Buckeye Christian Fiction Authors on Inspired Prompt @InspiredPrompt #shortstory #giveaway


From the Lake to the River: Buckeye Christion Fiction Authors 2018 Anthology

Whether you like romance, young adult, women’s fiction, a touch of mystery or danger, some humor, some holiday cheer, or a second chance at love, set in Ohio’s colorful history or the present – there’s something for nearly everyone in this collection.


JPC Allen began her writing career in second grade with a homage to Scooby Doo. She is a 2016 semi-finalist for her YA crime novel The Truth and Other Strangers in the ACFW’s Genesis contest. A former children’s librarian, she loves to introduce tweens and teens to the adventure of writing through her workshops. She is also a lifelong Buckeye with deep roots in the Mountain State. “Debt to Pay” is her first published short story.