Chicken Soup for You—
A Unique Publication Opportunity
Copyright 2004 by Patricia Anderson
The inspirational Chicken Soup books appeal to readers of all kinds—and offer new as well as seasoned authors a unique publication opportunity.
It's a rule of thumb that authors seeking agents or publishers for book-length manuscripts will be more likely to achieve their goal if they have already published shorter pieces, such as articles or stories. And for this purpose there are few options better than the Chicken Soup series, published by HCI—Health Communications, Inc.
Hugely successful, the books embrace people's most heartfelt concerns and reach an enormous readership all over the world. The wide distribution and long shelf life of the titles make the series an unusually high-profile means for diverse writers to publish for the first time, or to enhance their current publication credentials.
The original creators of Chicken Soup are Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, motivational speakers and writers. After several years of work putting together the first book in the series, Chicken Soup for the Soul, they ran into the stumbling blocks that are par for the course for emerging authors. Publisher after publisher declined on the project, and in the end, after more than one hundred rejections, their own agent concluded that the manuscript was unsaleable.
But—models of the kind of perseverance that leads to eventual success—Canfield and Hansen persisted. Finally, in 1993, HCI brought out the series' flagship volume—and the rest, of course, is publishing history. The first title and those that followed have sold in the millions worldwide, and Chicken Soup is now a staple on the major bestseller lists in the United States and Canada.
To read the entire story of the creation and progress of the series, go to ChickenSoup.com and click on About Chicken Soup.
By offering stories for virtually every type of reader and life experience, the Chicken Soup series also serves a wide variety of writers. Collectively, the several titles and themes provide an open route to publication that would otherwise be rare or nonexistent in today's book trade. In line with most anthologies, payment for published stories is modest. It is a plus, though, that unlike contributors to some anthologies, you can be published in a Chicken Soup volume, retain the rights to your own story, and thus rework it for another anthology, a magazine, or longer manuscript in progress.
As with any established publisher or publication, acceptance means that you and your work must meet the following requirements:
- Fit the publisher's list of planned books
- Satisfy general professional and specific editorial standards of style and content
- Conform to the submission guidelines set by the publisher and/or acquiring editor(s)
HCI and the Chicken Soup editors are more than usually forthcoming on all these points. For the particulars on writing and submitting a story, go to ChickenSoup.com and click on Submit Your Story.
You will certainly add to your general knowledge of the publishing business and come away with some food for thought. And, as an author, you might also discover that Chicken Soup has been cooked up just right for you.