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.


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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.


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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.


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


  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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.

If you want to increase your chance of hearing yes instead of sorry or not a fit for our list at this time, this book is for you. If you want to develop stronger story plots with characters that are hard to put down, this book is for you. Through McCarthy’s checklists and helpful exercises and corresponding examples, you will learn how to raise the tension, hone your voice, and polish your manuscript. I need this book for my clients and the many conferees I meet at writer’s conferences around the country. Thank you, Zoe. A huge, #thumbsup, for Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days.  —Diana L. Flegal, literary agent, and freelance editor

Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript is a self-editing encyclopedia! Each chapter sets up the targeted technique, examples show what to look for in your manuscript, then proven actions are provided to take your writing to the next level. Whether you are a seasoned writer or a newbie, you need this book! —Sally Shupe, freelance editor, aspiring author

McCarthy crafted an amazing self-help book that will strengthen any writer, whether new or seasoned, with guidance and self-evaluation tools. —Erin Unger, author of Practicing Murder, releasing in 2019

Need to rework your book? Zoe M. McCarthy’s step-by-step reference guide leads you through the process, helping you fight feeling overwhelmed and wrangle your manuscript and into publishable shape in 30 days. Tailor Your Manuscript delivers a clear and comprehensive action plan. —Elizabeth Spann Craig, Twitteriffic owner, bestselling author of the Myrtle Clover Mysteries, the Southern Quilting Mysteries, and the Memphis Barbeque Mysteries

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American Christian Fiction Writers

American Christian Fiction Writers

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