Anthology, Collection, Omnibus, Compilation, Box Set, Derivative Works, Compendium – Differences?

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Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days is designed to shape a not-yet submitted, rejected, or self-published manuscript with low ratings into a book that shines. The method can also be a guiding resource for writers starting a manuscript. See details below.

I’ve been a member of two “collections.” Were they really box sets? I led a workshop for a writers’ group whose members want to create a “compilation.” What’s a compilation?

I researched the following terms and include the commonalities and fresh thoughts about these terms.

Anthology

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  • A single book.
  • Collection of writings in similar form, from the same period, possibly based on story length (flash fiction), or about the same subject or shared theme.
  • Written by a number of different authors or poets.
  • Sometimes called a collection, but should be classified as an anthology.
  • Examples for book publishing: poems, short stories, plays, songs, or excerpts by different people.
  • Examples for genre fiction: short stories, novelettes, novellas by different authors.
  • Some research included: TV programs and movies.
  • One resource said works in an anthology are expected to be by current (living) authors.
  • Marketing advantage: all contributors promote the book.

Collection

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  • Selected short writings.
  • Written by one author.
  • Pieces can have a common theme.
  • Examples: excerpts from books, short stories, letters, or poems.
  • Often from a deceased writer.
  • Advantage: Good for readers who don’t have a lot of time or who want to sample a writer’s work.

Omnibus

  • Book of reprinted complete works.
  • Written by one author.
  • Example: includes complete novels previously published separately.

Compilation

  • Result of bringing together, organizing, and arranging existing works whether related in some way or not.
  • Works written by several authors.
  • Examples: interviews, essays, chapters, answers to a posed question.

Box Set

  • Collection of full-length, usually existing, books sold together, forming a new book.
  • Written by one or several authors.
  • Usually ebooks.
  • Often sold at a savings compared to buying all the included books separately.
  • Often sold for a limited time.
  • Encourages readers to buy a series all at one time.
  • Marketing advantage: all contributing authors promote the book to their followers and others.
  • Can generate good income.

Derivative Works

  • Reworked, transformed, or adapted existing works. New, original works that have features of already copyrighted works.
  • Authors can create derivative works of their own copyrighted works or give permission to others.
  • Fair use would allow, say, a book reviewer to include some content from the book.
  • Be careful in using another’s work in your adaptation to avoid legal issues.
  • Examples: translations, musical arrangements, film versions, condensations, parodies, and abridgments.

Compendiums

  • A list of items, especially one whose items have been systematically collected. Or a detailed but concise summary of a larger work or broad field.
  • Examples: encyclopedia, gathered anecdotes, or collected folk tales.

Have you participated in an anthology, collection, or box set and could share your experience? 

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Zoe McCarthy’s book, Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days, is a fresh and innovative refocusing of your novel or novella. Through a few simple—and fun—steps, Zoe helps writers take their not-ready-for-publication and/or rejected manuscripts to a spit-polish finish. Writing is hard work, yes, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. —Eva Marie Everson, best-selling and multiple award-winning author, conference director, president of Word Weavers International, Inc.

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