Tuesday, June 21, 2022

4 Reasons to Become a Contributing Author

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

How many of us published authors began our publishing career by contributing to anthologies organized by others?

I see those hands. And mine is raised as well.

This month I had the privilege of curating an anthology of devotions which encourage writers and speakers. My co-director of “reNEW – spiritual retreat for writers & speakers” Rachel Britton, and I invited 60 alumni from our community to each be a contributing author to “The Courage to Write” which is now available on Amazon.

Everyone had a different story. Everyone wrote from a different level of expertise. And all contributions are, if I may say so myself, remarkable.

Today I would like to encourage you to consider being part of such an endeavor. 

4 Benefits of Being a Contributing Author


Our first responsibility in both writing and speaking is to seek God’s clear calling, vision, and gifting in our lives. As you pursue writing, may I encourage you to intentionally fill up spiritually so that you have quality teaching to pour out through your words. With such discipline will come many stories as you begin to recognize the intersection of God’s Truth with everyday life. This is what you will write and one of those stories could be tailored for an anthology. You might hear about it from a conference contest, a connection with an author you met, or even a call-out for submissions you read online. Yes, be diligent to research all the details, but consider this as a potential opportunity to fulfill your purpose.


Perhaps the best part of being a contributing author is the company you keep. Not only your chance to work with compilers of the project, but all your fellow contributors have a bond of a common pursuit – the book and how it will minister to others. Some anthologies have even established their own private Facebook groups for support or held in-person gatherings like our annual “reNEW – spiritual retreat for writers & speakers” which brings together people of a common interest to grow and network and seek God’s guidance for further endeavors. Where do you find such an opportunity? 

Talk to people at that writer/speaker event this summer. Keep your eyes out as you listen to podcasts or read news in the Christian publishing industry. Faculty and writing coaches also can be a great resource. When I offer one-hour consulting sessions on writing/speaking/spiritual growth, I often direct my clients to key people who are putting together compilation projects.


Perhaps one of our biggest thrills at curating “The Courage to Write” was the opportunity to continue to mentor emerging writers in their first publishing endeavor. All of us love to see our words actually in print in a book! And being a contributing author is a credit you can list in your bio and credentials as you continue to pursue further writing and speaking.


Finally, not the most important perk but not the least either, you now have another product to offer your tribe either online or when you speak. That book you contributed to makes an excellent gift to new contacts in the publishing world, and also for blog giveaways and online incentives. Most compilation projects offer you a contributing author discount which probably won’t make you rich, but will help launch you as a paid author. 

In conclusion, friend, may I just encourage you to keep writing. Keep speaking. Keep discovering and putting together all those words that God gives you. Share them in a wide variety of ways, even sometimes when there is no money involved. For God promises that His Word (upon which we base all our words) will never return void. Nothing is wasted when offered back to Him.

And, if you don’t mind my ending with a “proud mama” plug: I think you would really enjoy our book The Courage to Write offered HERE.


Lucinda Secrest McDowell, M.T.S., is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, McDowell is the author of 17 books and contributing author to 36+ books. Her award-winning books include Soul Strong, Life-Giving Choices, Dwelling Places, and The Courage to Write. Lucinda, a member of the Redbud Writers Guild and AWSA, received Mt. Hermon “Writer of the Year” award and guest blogs monthly for ‘The Write Conversation.’ 

Whether pouring into young mamas, leading a restorative day of prayer, or coaching writers and speakers through “Encouraging Words Consulting,” she is energized by investing in people of all ages. As a communications teacher, she co-directs “reNEW – spiritual retreat for writers & speakers” and has served on the faculty of Speak Up Conference, Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, Florida Christian Writers Conference, Asheville Christian Writers Conference, and She Writes for Him. Known for her ability to convey deep truth in practical and winsome ways, McDowell shares words from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and blogs weekly at WWW.LUCINDASECRESTMCDOWELL.COM


  1. Thank you for your post, Lucinda. I have contributed to several anthologies, including a Chicken Soup for the Soul anthology. Being a contributor to a compilation is a rewarding way to bless others and to grow as a writer.

  2. Great advice, Lucinda. Our writing group is preparing an anthology entitled "Stories From the Attic." My husband and I both contributed to it, and we'll be excited to read all the entries submitted to this wide-open topic.

  3. Such wise words, Lucinda. Not only have I had the joy of contributing to anthologies, but compiling The Courage to Write has encouraged me and fed my soul. So, I would add, make sure you read the entries of other contributors. Although our fear might be that we think they are better writers than ourselves, you too will find enrichment.

  4. Excellent article, Cindy and Edie. I shared this with our local writers group today. Thank you!