Off the Shelf Anthology Photo

Doug Fairchild painted the picture used for the cover, and each contributor is listed in the title box. The format is a CreateSpace cover template.

This book is an anthology which I would like to submit as an example that can be emulated elsewhere by aspiring writers who have not yet broken into the traditional publishing world. A group of friends from Sacramento, Calif., decided to pull their old writing off the shelf and do something with it. Most of these poems and stories were written before publish-on-demand technology, when rejection letters from mainstream publishers stopped everything. Manuscripts went onto the shelf or in the wastebasket, and the aspiring writer moved on to other interests or even other careers.

In preparing this anthology, a parade of dusty manuscripts marched forth from shelves, boxes and filing cabinets. Old rejections, old critical remarks, old considerations that stopped many of these friends surfaced again. The purpose was not to reach the New York Times bestseller list, but to create something fun, and finish what was started, sometimes decades ago. And thus we called it “rekindling.”

Traditional publishers and critics may decry publish-on-demand as a “lowering of standards” but in a few decades the world will see a Renaissance of writers who have been freed from the gatekeepers, the critics and naysayers and have followed their own ideas into unexpected worlds. I have helped others assemble and publish their own writing, and would be happy to give advice. One major hurdle, for example, was reconciling the submissions. They arrived as PDFs, MS Word format, text files, WordPerfect, etc. In addition, formatting, punctuation, etc. varied widely and so everything had to be made the same, from “curly quotes” to using a tab for paragraph indents and using two hyphens in place of a dash. (I now have an understanding of why contests or publishers have such restrictive submission policies!) While there were some hurdles to jump, the book cost nothing except time to publish, the only expense was ordering and shipping for those who wanted copies, just like any other book.

I hope this will inspire you to try something similar. If you would like to give it a try, send me an email at and I’ll send you some advice sheets I made up for our own anthology.