Monday, January 23, 2017

Preparing Heart Songs: A guest post by Susan Elliott

If you recall last week, I reviewed an anthology of short fiction, essays and poetry edited by Susan Elliott.  Well, today I have a treat for you.  Susan wrote a post for MaidservantsofChrist all about the process.  Enjoy. 

Let me just say, wow! Putting together an anthology has been a huge learning curve. I had the idea for an anthology from Church of Christ Women Authors (COCWA) in 2015. I think I first mentioned it to Monica Mynk during a YouTube author interview a long time before I announced it on the website. She encouraged me to go for it, so I did. 

One cool thing about the Heart Songs Anthology is that it is full of material from all genres of writing.  It was an opportunity for any Christian woman writer to let her voice be heard. I love the variety of short stories, articles and poetry. It includes authors like Sandi Rog, Carol Shaw, Lynn Nodima, and of course Helene Smith. One thing I wanted to do with the anthology was to make sure that the writers retained their rights to their works. I want them to be able to enter contests, publish their own books, or share them in any way that they want. So, I didn’t garnish them in any way. 

I really can’t thank the ladies who contributed to the book enough. This past year has been extremely challenging for me on a personal level. My husband had a stroke January 1, 2016. It has left him permanently disabled, but functional. Our life has changed so much. He was a bi-vocational preacher and an IT professional. After his stroke, the company he worked for laid him off after 15 years. That was another huge shock at the beginning of the year. Also, we had to move from Roanoke, Virginia to Beeville, Texas in two weeks. That’s a two day trip each way. My kids were a huge help at this time, since my hub’s wasn’t able to help and had to stay at rehab. To say the least, the first few months of 2016 were an adventure. I had to learn to step it up, and to depend on God in ways I’d never imagined. All I can say, is that He sustained us, and has helped us through the worst times in our lives. If it hadn’t been for God, I don’t think I would have made it through. I knew my hub’s life was in God’s hands, and that no matter what, God would be there for us.

There have been many challenges putting the anthology together, but hands down the biggest challenge I’ve had for the anthology, has been my husband’s stroke. The original submission date was May the fourth, and I had to push it back a couple of times. I’ve also had some issues with getting all the author copies out. Since the stroke, our income has been cut in half, so I am still working on getting the free copies out. Each author (there are 17) received two free copies of the book, which runs about $18-$25 dollars, depending on where the author lives and shipping.  Fortunately, all the ladies are really understanding. So far, I’ve gotten about half of the copies sent out. 

For anyone planning to do an anthology, I would suggest doing a crowdfund or Kickstarter for it. That way you don’t run into the problem of financing. I definitely want to do an anthology a year. So, I am in the process of figuring out how to get the funding for it. I hate that I haven’t been able to get all the books out as fast as I’d have liked, and it would be awesome to be able to pay the writers who participate in the next anthology. So, if everything goes as planned, the next anthology will have better perks for the contributors, and books will be out much faster. I’m also thinking about choosing a topic, so all the stories, articles and poems center around one theme. 

I’d love to answer any questions you might have about the anthology or Church of Christ Women Authors. Just shoot me an email to
If you haven’t checked out the Heart Songs Anthology, it’s available in print and eBook from Amazon.

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