Saturday, October 2, 2021

5 Ways to Solicit Stories for an Anthology

Edie here. Today I'm super excited to introduce you to a woman I admire as a Bible teaching, writer and friend! Her newest book, Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith is up for preorder and I asked her to share a post about how this book came about and what she learned while writing it. Please give her a warm TWC welcome!

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

I had not planned to write this particular book. But God brought me the opportunity. 

It all began with a century-old letter. I found the treasure at my parents’ house, tucked under an ancient pair of spectacles in a dented metal box. I carefully unfolded the yellowed, brittle paper and struggled to read the faded ink. The letter was dated March 26, 1914. Addressed to Howell Adam Shouse, my great-grandfather on my mother’s side, it was written by his mother, Mary Dozier Shouse, more than a century ago.

Much of the news was what you’d expect—who’d been sick, who’d gotten married, who’d been to visit, and how she longed to see her “dear son.” But one particular paragraph brought me to tears:

“Oh, how much I do pray for you every single morning and night. I pray mightily to the Lord that you Howell and your children may be convicted and converted and sanctified. Never a day do I miss. May God hear and answer my prayers.”

This letter both challenged and inspired me. First, it challenged me to faithfully intercede for the spiritual well-being of my loved ones and to be purposeful about the faith legacy I leave behind. Second, the discovery inspired me to search for more evidence of my ancestors’ faith. But God had a slightly different search in mind.

The letter turned into a book

An editor from Tyndale contacted me the very morning that an article I wrote appeared on the Proverbs31 ministry site. In the piece, “Prayers from My Great-Great-Grandmother,” I described the treasure I found, how my great-great-grandmother’s prayer impacted me, and how I long for my faith to inspire my own descendants. 

The Tyndale editor thought I might be a good fit for a book project she had in mind. She wanted to produce a devotional book that reflected her avid hobby—genealogy research. Although I have dabbled in it, I am a total novice. Thankfully, she would supply the ancestry research tips for the book. She needed a writer who could find and write the stories of faith. Yep, I could do that. 

So, I honed the idea with the editor, submitted the proposal, and waited. During the wait I began to think about the stories. I needed fifty-two stories of faith—stories that demonstrate how the faith of our ancestors still impact us today. And I wanted stories that would inspire the reader to be intentional about their own spiritual legacy. As soon as I signed the contract with Tyndale for “Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith,” I began the hunt. 

5 Ways I Solicited Stories

I knew that not every offered story would be a good fit. And many stories would be similar to each other. As wonderful as they are, I could only use so many stories about praying grandmothers. I needed a wide variety of stories with each one exemplifying a solid spiritual principle. So, I needed to mine as many stories as possible, then search through them to find the jewels. I used all my sources and enlisted help from others.
  1. My Email List: I started my search with the thousands of readers on my email list. Many are faithful readers and invested in my ministry. First, I sent an initial request explaining the project and the stories I needed. Then as the submission deadline drew nearer, I sent two more quick reminder emails. 
  2. My Blog: The post described the project and what kind of stories I needed. It also included a link to a contact form to submit their information and the basics of their story. This kept the submissions in one place and out of my inbox.
  3. Social Media: I shared the blog and other posts. I also did a few Facebook lives asking for stories.
  4. Friends and Family: I’m afraid I got to be a little obnoxious. I talked about the project everywhere I went and mentioned it to just about everyone I came into contact with. Then I asked them if they knew of anyone else who might have stories. 
  5. The Publisher: I got plenty of submissions, but lacked a few solid stories. So, Tyndale jumped in to help by sending out a request to employees. And that put us over the top!
I also asked readers and followers to share the email, blog, and posts with anyone they thought might have a story. I tried to respond to every submission right away, but clearly stated that not all the stories would be included. I rejected some due to overlap and others because the stories lacked meat. But the fifty-two stories included in “Heirloom” tell great stories of faith and give solid examples of what it means to build and leave a spiritual legacy. And it was all God’s idea.


Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith” tells stories of the past that will impact our faith today. These 52 heart-felt reflections reveal the seeds of our faith―seeds that sprouted and took root, growing through the centuries to today. Heirloom weaves these stories of faith and family history with Scripture, beautiful artwork, and ancestry research tips and techniques. Through these stories of persevering faith you’ll discover the potential your story has to impact future generations. (See “Heirloom” on Amazon.)

Kathy Howard is a treasure hunter. She hunts for the creamiest chocolate and richest coffee. She searches for cherished stories of faith that still impact hearts. And, she digs deep into God’s Word, mining His eternal truths for herself and to share with others. With more than 30 years of experience, Kathy has taught in dozens of states, internationally, and in a wide range of venues including multi-church conferences and large online events. She has a Masters of Christian Education from the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary. Kathy is the author of 11 books, including “Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith” and the new “meaty” devotional series “Deep Rooted.” She writes for multiple online magazines and devotional sites. Kathy and her husband live in the Dallas/Ft Worth area near family. They have three married children, six grandchildren, and two accidental dogs. Kathy provides free discipleship resources and blogs regularly at


  1. Kathy, I am so excited for the release of Heirloom. I love your great-great-grandmother’s conviction to pray for future generations of her family. You can just hear it in her voice! How inspiring. I also love the origin story of Heirloom - how God tapped on you the shoulder for this project through an editor who read an article you wrote. Wow. That’s a divine assignment!

  2. I love the theme of this collection! Encouraging others to leave their stories of faith is my passion. What a treasure! Will definitely grab this book. Thanks for leaving biblical bread crumbs for generations.

  3. Yes! Even the process of study and collecting stories challenged me to be more purposeful