Or, how to be an author without writing an entire book

Anthology books aren’t my genre of choice, but they have advantages for aspiring authors. A couple of good vegan ones I’ve read include Sistah Vegan, Sister Species, and Aphro-ism.

In 2021, when I was collecting stories for Vegan Marketing Success Stories, two contributors thought they were contributing to an anthology-style book. Meaning, they thought their story was going to form an entire chapter.

I could have published my book in that way, but I didn’t. I wanted to write a practical guide that talked about different tactics, using stories and other examples as case studies and show how a company used the marketing tactic, and what it got.

People have asked me what my next book is going to be about. It’s my experience that most people would rather sit and watch a two-hour documentary (or docuseries) than read a book for two hours. So I’d like to take a stab at helping to produce a documentary, then turn the stories of the subjects into a book. This is similar to what Brian Kateman did with Meat Me Halfway.

Last month, I got to take part in an anthology-style book called Career Journeys From the Ground Up and this has given me further insight into what it’s like to publish an anthology-style book. I’m going to break down the pros and cons for you.



Creating an anthology book is an easy way to become an author for the first time. Jennifer Stojkovic (of Vegan Women Summit)’s debut non-fiction, The Future of Food is Female, reached Amazon bestseller status in at least six categories within months of its launch.

I should point out there are different ways to structure an anthology book. You can collect essays/stories, or you can do interviews. Stojkovic did the latter, so most of her book is in her own voice, with quotes from the 15 female leaders she interviewed.

If you collect essays/stories, you really only probably need to write an Introduction. Then you’re taking on the role of a developmental editor, figuring out the order the stories are going to be in the book. The minimum length for a book is 30,000 words, so if you want 10 chapters, each needs to be 3000 words (roughly 7 pages single-spaced using 11-point font). The more chapters, the shorter each needs to be.

My Introduction for Vegan Marketing Success Stories is pretty long, but it includes a lot of my career background so people understand where I’m coming from.

You could turn your podcast into an anthology book. The beauty about the audio form is that many people like talking (or they’re better at it than writing). Rich Roll’s already published two books based on guests he’s interviewed on The Rich Roll Podcast. 

Depending on the length of your episodes, you might make a book out of six one-hour episodes. Ten is always a good number in terms of chapters in a book.

Having more contributors means more marketing potential. If your contributors are keen to market themselves or the businesses they run, they’ll be more likely to spread the word about the book when it’s published and attend its launch (I’ve been doing this with Career Journeys.)

I always say the easy part about publishing a book is the writing. The real work is marketing your book, so people know about it. You may have already seen this, but I’m going to share my book trailer from 2022 as an example.

I was hoping to get enough footage from Vancouver-based contributors to make my book trailer. I didn’t get enough, so I reached out to the other Canadian contributors. I landed permission from Jo-Anne McArthur at We Animals Media to use their YouTube videos, which automatically improved the quality of mine! (Involving photographers and videographers is always a good idea.)


Are you really an author if you didn’t write the book? This is one perspective I don’t necessarily completely agree with. I’m sure most people aren’t seeing your name on a book cover and scouring the book to see how much of it you wrote.

With Career Journeys From the Ground Up, author Lisa Strahs-Lorenc interviewed me, made her own notes, and then wrote the chapter about me. This isn’t the way I would have done it, but that was her strategy. I proofed the entry for errors before it got published.

If you’re collecting essays/stories and plan to publish them verbatim (after they’re copyedited of course), you’re really more of an editor. So if I published the book I talked about earlier in which the documentary subjects each covered a chapter, I’d be credited as the Editor of the book since I didn’t write any of the chapters.

A contributor isn’t guaranteed to buy or market the book. This is a big lesson I learned from my book. Most contributors shared about it and a handful bought either the paperback or ebook, but not everyone did. If my book price was lower, I’d have shipped a copy to everyone in Canada, and give ebooks out to everyone else.

If I make an anthology book, I would put in the agreement that the person/company agrees to market the book—at the very least in a social media post.

On top of the 47 contributors to my book, I used another 44 companies as examples, with permission. That’s 91 companies. Add to that the 60 company names I dropped, that’s 150 total. And most of those didn’t mention they were in a book either. You’d think that’s worth at least a social post, but as I’ve alluded to before, I think people are more excited to be in a movie vs. a book. It’s just not the same.

If you’re a contributor to a book, make sure your story’s accurate. AND DON’T PAY FOR IT. There are many companies that create books with contributors, and they use the magazine ad model. I paid $500 to be featured in the Vancouver edition of the (US-produced) CRAVE books, which were like a local directory of women-owned businesses. I don’t remember getting any business from it.

A lot of these folks offer space to contributors for thousands of dollars. So THEY earn $$ from YOUR story. And they will guarantee the book will be shared widely and covered in media, and so on. This isn’t an ethical model IMO because if you’re putting in work, that’s already payment for exposure.

In my perfect world, I would pay every contributor for their time and contribution. This can be difficult to administer (but not impossible). For example, if the book sold $110 in a month, that’s only $10 to each contributor (in a book with 10 contributors) plus myself as the editor.

I have yet to see a man offer the contributor-pays model. It’s very popular among women collecting women’s stories…so contributor beware!


Need a book coach, ghostwriter, editor, or formatter to help you write and publish your book so you can make an impact? Learn more on my Author Services page and contact me if you’re ready to begin.

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