Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dogs, Cats and Chicken Soup

Chicken Soup for the Soul publishers are marketing two new books. One is My Dog's Life and the other one is My Cat's Life. One of the editors of these two books appeared on Fox News this morning. She brought her dog with her---a cute little beagle.

She summarized one funny story from each book, and the show's host commented that the stories in the Chicken Soup books are great reads because they make you feel good. He asked the editor if they had many stories sent in for each book. She replied that they receive thousands for each book but can only select around a hundred.

With odds like that, it makes writers wonder why they'd ever even try to write for such a popular anthology series. But I say--Why  not? Yes, the competition is fierce, but you'll never have a story accepted at Chicken Soup if you don't submit. I'm in eleven of their books but I have a whole lot of stories I submitted to them that never made it. It's alright because many of them ended up being published somewhere else.

I submitted stories for several of the Cup of Comfort anthologies, but I never had even one accepted. It proved to be a challenge that I set for myself. I kept sending work to them until they stopped publishing the books. I asked myself why my stories never made it at Cup of Comfort. I think part of the reason was that I'd never actually read one of their books, and in retrospect, I should have done so. I'd have learned more about the type of story they selected. I often urge writers to read the guidelines carefully and follow them exactly. That much I did.

Another thing that is paramount is that what appeals to one editor might not to another. Thats one reason Chicken Soup has a panel of readers as well as their own editors. I am not sure if Cup of Comfort books followed the same method or if Colleen Sell, the editor did all the reading and selecting. From some things she wrote in her newsletters, I got the impression that she was a panel of one.

Here's a list of the books Chicken  Soup is accepting submissions for and their deadlines::

Brides and Weddings    6-30-11
Christmas Stories          6-30-11
Family Caregiver          7-30-11
Food and Love            6-15-11  
Home Sweet Home      8-30-11
Married Life                 7-31-11
Think Positive For Kids           12-31-11

Go to http://www.chickensoup.com/form.asp?cid=possible_books to read about each of the titles.

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