Developing an Anthology
Have you written a nonfiction article you’d like to share in book form? If so, you have probably hesitated since you realize the difference – in sheer labor - between writing a chapter and writing a book. Further, when you survey your proposed content you are likely to realize that your ideas are fine, but many others have other – perhaps even better -ideas and the book would be far more worthwhile if other articles were included.
Ergo, you decide to prepare an anthology. You will be the editor or compiler. It will contain your chapter as well as chapters from others. That way the book won’t restrict the reader to one point of view.
First you would write to those who have other ideas within the book’s planned scope and request them to provide their own chapters.
Thus approach has two advantages. First, it is likely to provide a wider context for your work, and this will help readers realize where your thoughts fit in within the larger picture. Second, and often more important, it can open windows to a myriad of concepts which can expand your concepts and make them far more useful. (The last time I did this I realized how narrow my perspective actually was.)
Editing an anthology includes other responsibilities, though. First, you need to assign topics and give deadlines, deciding what to do when writers fail to meet your deadlines. When they delay, you need to evaluate whether their content is important enough to justify a wait. (Or, perhaps, you had a “soft” deadline in the first place.)
Further, you would consider whether to include biographical data on the authors to help readers evaluate their work. This would be in the back if the book (“About the Author Section) or contained just after each article.
Further, you would face formatting decisions and, of course, need to edit their writing for grammar and style, and even accuracy/integrity of content. If you use the formats the authors provided in their submissions your book would have a distracting mx of styles.
Early in editing I’d recommend that you prepare and update a Table of Contents linked to chapter titles in the book. With a bit of formatting, the chapter titles can become the headings on pages within each chapter. Then, when done, it would be good to prepare an index so readers can examine concepts in the various contexts where they occur.
Thus, editing or compiling a nonfiction anthology can be a large chunk of work, but chances are these methods will make the book more useful. Not only that, it will help you see our ideas in context and expand your knowledge of the subject matter.