Thursday, July 2, 2015

Aim For The Heart For This Anthology

I'm a big fan of Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I've submitted stories for many of the titles in this anthology series. And I've been very fortunate to have my work in 17 of these books. I've also had plenty of submissions there that have not made it. Competition is fierce with sometimes thousands of stories submitted for one book.

One reason I've had success is that I keep up with the latest book topics on the Chicken Soup website. Every now and then, I go to the Possible Book Topics page to see what new topics have been added and what others are gone because of the deadline being past.

Another reason is that I follow the guidelines. There are quite a few do's and don't's so I check the guidelines page before submitting a new story to make sure I've followed the guidelines and that there have been no changes made since my last submission.

I also revise and edit the story I send several times before hitting that Submit button on the submission page. I never write the story and submit it right away. I let it simmer for a few days before revising and editing. It helps me submit the best story I can write.

I try to make these creative nonfiction stories full of sensory details and attempt to bring emotion to the reader, whether it is a laugh or a tear. Aim for the heart might be a good motto when writing a Chicken Soup story. I know that the editors also like to see some dialogue in the stories so I include it in my submission.

Looking at the list of possible book topics today, I found a real variety and numerous titles. You can read more details for each by looking at the Possible Book Topics page. On some, there is a list of suggested topics for a particular theme. Even reading through the suggestions might give you an inspiration.

The main themes and deadlines for the present book topics are:

1. Alzheimer's and Dementias Family Caregiving   October 30, 2015

2. Angels and Miracles   September 30, 2015

3. Military Families November 30, 2015

4. My Very Good, Very Bad Cat  August 31, 2015

5. My Very Good, Very Bad Dog  August 31, 2015

6. Random Acts of Kindness  July 31, 2015

7. The Joy of Less October 30, 2015

8. The Spirit of America  November 30, 2015

Don't be afraid of submitting to this anthology series because of the competition. You might have the perfect story, one that touches the editor's heart. You won't know unless you try and if your first story doesn't make it, don't give up. Just remember to aim for the heart.


  1. I must be doing something wrong because they never pick my stories but I'm not a quitter because I'm foolish and stubborn, so I might try again!

    1. Please do keep submitting. Just when you least expect it, it could happne.

  2. Good advice, Nancy. I've had two stories published in Chicken Soup books, so I have a long way to go to catch up with you! I figure even the ones that don't make it are there for my children and grandchildren. Like you, I check the "possible books" list every now and then. I'm currently waiting with fingers crossed on the newest Christmas and Alzheimer's books. Good luck with your submisssions!

    1. You give some good advice yourself! In saying that, even if the stories dont' make it, you have them for your children and grandchildren. Besides that, the stories can often be submitted to some other publication. So a story written that gets one rejection is never a waste. Thanks for commenting.

  3. I'm on 22 stories and submit all the time, but haven't had much luck this year. The last three I sent, have all of the things CS wants. I can hope.

    1. 22? Wow, that's great. Some of the stories I think are shoe-is don't make it. I'd llove to know the workings of the CS editor's minds!