Is Anthology Creator the “Author”?

Dear Ms Hoy,

I love your newsletter and have learned a great deal. So I was wondering if I could ask a question. A (local) man decided to do an anthology with the proceeds going to a charity. I submitted a poem and it was accepted with a small, simple contract offered. Everything was fine until the anthology came out and the man had listed himself and his wife as the authors of the book. Now, individual poems were listed by author but the cover / title page and back of title page showed the couple as authors.

When the guy was questioned he claimed that the ISBN service, Bowker, had instructed him to list he and his wife as authors on the form and he said he did it on the book so it would match. He refuses to listen to reason and most of the local poets don’t want to rock the boat as it is a charity.

I believe that by putting himself as author he negated our contract. If so, can we threaten to withdraw our poems to at least get him to change the cover? Thank you in advance for your help in this matter.

He acknowledged all the contributors at the top of each story so he hasn’t violated anybody’s copyright. Just because he used other contributions (with permission) in the book does not mean he’s not the creator of the collection, nor that he didn’t write parts of the book himself. That’s how it works with anthologies. He can call himself author or editor or some other title. That does not mean he has “violated your copyright.”

There is no way he could put all the contributor’s names on the cover and in the bookstore systems, as well as Bowker’s system. Again, since he wrote parts of the book, he can call himself “author.” Nobody who sees another person’s name above a contribution in the book is going to assume he wrote that individual piece.

If every “author” who included material from other sources was not permitted to call themselves an “author”, then there would be very few “authors” in the world.

Have a question for Angela? Contact:


A practical resource outlining the self-syndication process, step-by-step. Packed with detailed information and useful tips for writers looking to gain readership, name recognition, publication and self-syndication for their column or articles.