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Self Publish High-School Creative-Writing Anthologies  

Read More about Creating Anthologies

Publish an Anthology: How it's done

A conversation with Anthology Editors

Read Publish a Poetry Anthology



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by Jeff McRitchie

As any parent or high school teacher already knows, high school students can be hard to motivate. While it is true that some teens love to write , it's fair to say that most of them would prefer not to. As educators, we know that the only way to become a better writer is to practice writing. The problem with most high school writing assignments is that they lack relevance for students. They are more concerned with getting the right answer than they are about developing their writing skills and pushing themselves to hone their verbal prowess. At the same time, they do seem to show more interest in the work of their peers than they do in the works of literature in their textbooks.

After spending months and months teaching your students the hallmarks of good writing, a great way to spark some interest in writing is to self-publish an anthology of creative writing at your school. As you approach this publication project, there are a few things you should consider.

Some teens love attention and thrive on competition. Others prefer to silently participate. If you structure the publication project correctly, both types of students will be interested in working on the publication. Let students know that everyone who submits their pieces by the early bird deadline will definitely have at least one piece selected for publication. In addition to including all writers who submit early, hold a competition for the best pieces. Offer simple prizes for first, second, and third places in different categories. You can select categories based on the anticipated scope of the publication project. For small schools, choose broad categories such as poetry, prose, etc. For larger schools, you can choose more specific categories such as sonnets, descriptive paragraphs, and the like. You may also want to expand the project to include art. In doing so, you can also likely get the art staff to help you lay out and design the final publication.

Set your deadlines for submission and decide on other critical dates. You should assemble a team of students who can help you type and edit the submissions as they come in. You will want to develop a style guide and train the students to follow it. Establish a directory and a procedure and rules for saving and accessing the typed submissions. The more thought you put into the process at the beginning, the more smoothly your publication will come together later.

As you and your team put together the files and make design decisions, you need to order the supplies required to physically assemble the anthology. Before you order supplies, think about the size of the final document and how many copies you plan to distribute. You should think about offering complimentary copies to winners and to your publications team. Others can buy the publication for a nominal fee. Once you've run the numbers, order the paper, ink or toner, and binding supplies. Depending on how you choose to bind the publication, you will need to order different supplies.

Once you have the document print-ready, it's time to assemble. Again, this is a chance to get students involved. They like to help with office tasks they are not accustomed to doing, so it shouldn't be too hard to get some help. Once the documents are assembled, work with your administration to recognize the winning students. You can put their names on a sign or bulletin board or even recognize them at a school assembly. Once the word gets out, other students and their families will be calling the school to purchase copies of the book.

It's not difficult to self-publish a school anthology if you are organized. Plan ahead and enjoy seeing your students develop a sense of pride in their writing as they share it with their classmates and their families. There is something magical about seeing one's own words preserved in a bound publication like a school anthology. It is an experience they will carry with them throughout their lives.

Jeff McRitchie is the designer and Director of Marketing for He has written over 100 articles on binding machines,binding covers, binding supplies,ring binders, index tabs, laminators, laminating supplies, shredders and paper handling equipments.

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