I mentioned last week that I'm giving a presentation at my writers conference on anthologies. The one I know best, and have had most success with, is Chicken Soup for the Soul. While doing some research on this well-known anthology, I learned some interesting things which I'd like to share with you today.
Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield were inspirational speakers. Time and again, the people in their audiences requested a book filled with the kind of motivating, uplifting stories they told. In 1993, they published the very first Chicken Soup for the Soul book. It found success quickly through word of mouth and then was picked up by the media which sang its praises. Before long, the book received awards and other recognitions.
Ten years later, they had $2 million in branded merchandise. The books are now distributed by Simon and Schuster. Over 112 million books have been sold with 200 titles in print and books now in 40 languages. These are some awesome stats.
There are other anthologies that used the pattern Chicken Soup had perfected. Some have come and gone, others are still around and new ones pop up on the scene periodically. One that I like a lot is the Thin Threads series. I've been most impressed by the quality of stories they have published. Cup of Comfort antholgies had some real success but they have ceased publsihing. Silver Boomer Books has published several anthologies, which even though nicely done, have never reached the popularity that Chicken Soup achieved. One of my favorite anthology series is published by Guideposts. They are, as you would expect, Christian stories. The books are smaller than Chicken Soup, but they are hardback and beautifully done with appealing covers.
The two men who started the Chicken Soup books were given an idea by everyday people, but they ran with it and grabbed the gold ring as they did so. I think one of the best things they did was to select Chicken Soup for the Soul as the title of the series. It reached the hearts of millions of everyday people.
I'm proud to be a part of the Chicken Soup for the Soul family. My stories have appeared in twelve of their books, and I hope there will be more in my future.