When we read, see or hear something that grabs our attention and makes us feel something deep within our core, we are most likely driven tell others about it. How do you want to pull people in? What’s the lasting message you want to leave people with? You do not have to be a writer, to write a short story for this book. The whole point of this book is to feature real stories from real people affected by arthritis directly or indirectly. To achieve the authenticity and voice of the book, stories must come from the individuals themselves.

When writing your short story think about how you would answer a question if a stranger asked you something about arthritis. Consider how you would tell a story in relation to arthritis to one of your closest friends and loved ones? I know those of us affected by arthritis have a lot to say. After all, as this book will show, it affects all aspects of our lives. But what’s that one thing you want to focus on in your short story if you had to choose?

The best examples of other books out there in the same vein as this are Humans of New York and Chicken Soup for the Soul. These books feature people sharing stories about something specific in their lives, a moment in time, are reflective, true, inspirational, provide words of wisdom and share from the heart.

You can write about a bad experience and have a positive twist to it. Example: You couldn’t walk well due to joint damage in your knee caused by arthritis and needed a total knee replacement. But after learning to re-walk again, you can now walk miles and miles. Another example is arthritis may have stopped you from being able to work in a career you love but now you found something even better to do and are happy.

Feel free to use any of these!

o   a specific day 
o   moment in your arthritis journey that was pivotal 
o   an aha! or light bulb moment 
o   words of wisdom or advice 
o   what you wish you knew/what you wish others knew 
o   something that inspired, motivated, encouraged, empowered you
o   something that gave you strength, hope
o   something that helped you persevere, cope, accept or adapt


Let that be your guide when you write your short story.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can submit?

Everyone and anyone. Any age, gender, race, ethnicities, and those who identify as disabled, BIPOC, LGBTQ, etcetera. People living with any type of arthritis, in all parts of the world are eligible to submit. So are those who support someone with arthritis and are affected by it indirectly.

Do I have to live in the USA to submit?

Absolutely not. Anyone from all over the world is eligible to submit a short story and photo. The goal is to make this book as diverse and inclusive as possible.

What is the HealtheVoices Impact Fund?

The Keeping It Real with Arthritis: A Photoblog and Book was one of the 2021 HealtheVoices Impact Fund Recipients.

The HealtheVoices Impact Fund is a grant program that supports innovative efforts by health advocates to serve and assist patient communities. The Fund was established at the Community Foundation of New Jersey (CFNJ) and awards projects that align with the Janssen charitable giving mission to advance healing for patients. With guidance from an Advisory Committee of
experienced advocates and past HealtheVoices attendees, CFNJ awards grants to projects that propose innovative ways to engage, inform and empower patients, with special preference to efforts targeting underserved populations, healthcare disparities, high unmet areas of need or those with a large scope of impact.

Learn about all the 2021 recipients here, including the Keeping It Real with Arthritis book project.

When will the book be officially published?

We anticipate the book to be published by October/November 2022. Those who send in a submission will be the first to know all the updates. If you’re interested in receiving the latest news about the book, please subscribe to the newsletter by providing your information in that area on this website! *We promise not to spam you. 

Who will be publishing the book?

Effie Koliopoulos will be working with ImagineWe Publishers to bring this book into the world. To learn more about their mission, purpose, and other mission and specialty book projects in the same vein visit:

Where can I access the book once published?

It will be on Amazon, my website, and books will be donated to all major rheumatology hospitals across the USA. Also, the project aims to donate to more general hospitals, medically underserved areas/populations, schools, and libraries. Books made from a flash sale event, and any other purchases will be donated to arthritis research. People will have access to eBooks to make it more widely accessible. More TBA about this.

When is the deadline?

We are no longer accepting story submissions as of Sunday, August 7th. To follow along on the book release and other updates, make sure to subscribe to the newsletter below or check back here as this will be the book website once published. Thank you to all who submitted and those who have supported this project in any way so far.


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{Instagram @RisingAboveRA and @Keepingitrealwitharthritis, Twitter @RisingAboveRA, my YouTube channel, and book newsletter}

What does the first-come, first-served basis mean when submitting my story and photo?

Those who submit a short story and photo for the book by and/or on the deadline date will be considered for the book. Once the deadline has passed, you will not be able to submit and won’t be in the book, unfortunately. 

Why is the broken down into themes? Can I just share my whole story?

No. Please choose one theme. There is a reason for this to allow for the book to have proper rhythm, pacing, flow and direction.

How long should my story be?

Story word counts can range anywhere from 50-100 words minimum to 1,500 maximum. (Nothing longer than that.)

What file format should I submit my photo in?

PNG is preferred but you can submit jpg. Just make sure the photo you submit is high quality to transfer well in print.

Can I send in a selfie photo?

Only if it’s high quality.

Is there any compensation for those who submit?

Unfortunately, no. While we would love to compensate people who submit to the book, and understand the importance of being paid for your time- this book is essentially being funded by a grant to help bring it to life. However, those who submit will be sent a free book. It will be available in both print and eBook formats. Others not in the book, will need to purchase it and any profit made will be donated directly to arthritis research and scientists (which is an unmet need). This is a mission driven book, and also part fundraiser to raise awareness. Effie Koliopoulos will not be making a profit, and any money received for her author royalties will be sent to organizations/charities of her choosing. There has been instances where ImagineWe Publishers, for book projects they have put together on their own, allowed writers to buy the books at wholesale to sell for profit. But for The Keeping it Real with Arthritis Stories photoblog and book, this will not be occurring. Though those in the book will be personally contacted about all of this. If anything else comes up that changes certain aspects of this in the future, everyone will be notified and included.

Are these stories to be fiction or non-fiction?

Stories that are submitted are to be non-fiction; based on fact and your real-life experiences. No fiction stories, please.


Do stories submitted become the property of the book and/or publisher (ImagineWe Publishers LLC)?

The company (ImagineWe Publishers) owns the book and rights to the published book. The book can’t be republished. However, those who submitted a story though are allowed to keep using their story anywhere or anyway they see fit.