1. Shuvam Das
    Offline

    Shuvam Das Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2015
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Somewhere But Not Here

    Traditional Short Story Publication

    Discussion in 'Publisher Discussion' started by Shuvam Das, Jul 3, 2015.

    The title was useless. I agree.
    Now, the thing is, that I'm writing a collection of short stories, based on which I'll write a novel each, but that comes way later. I've started with the first short story now. The question I have is, that if I want a short story collection to be published, should I finish writing all of the stories and then send it to an agent? Or can I have all of the short stories published individually BEFORE the collection is done?
    I'd prefer if the latter was possible. I don't have any experience in the traditional publishing market, so I'm clueless. Please help me out.

    P.S.: All the short stories will be Science Fiction or Fantasy, aimed at a YA audience
     
  2. TWErvin2
    Offline

    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,529
    Likes Received:
    561
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    First, short story collections generally sell poorly. Even well-established authors who have them published sell less well than they do their novels. With that in mind, attempting to attract an agent to represent the short story collection you're preparing to write will be an extremely uphill struggle, I think.

    Often short stories are published prior to being put in a collection (magazines, ezines, anthologies). The thing is, you want to be sure in the contracts about the reversion of rights to the author. Sometimes the rights (first electronic and/or print) are maintained for a year, and then the publishing market retains nonexclusive rights to the story. Sometimes the rights to republish return to the author upon publication. There are some markets whose contracts do not contain a clause for reversion of rights or it is for two or more years...avoid those unless they're willing to pay handsomely for those rights.

    Consisting of previously published stories, it will be harder to sell the short story collection to a publisher, but it would appear that the purpose of the stories are for each to tie into a novel. That would mean that this is a very long term project, as you'd need a sizeable number of stories to make up a collection. And that would mean a sizeable number of novels to follow. Even if you're able to write and complete, including editing and revision, a novel every 4 months...that would mean several years before you'd have say eight stories to match with the eight novels. A lot can happen in publishing in several years, and finding an agent/publisher can take a while...and then once a contract is negotiated and signed it takes at least 9 months to a year or more for a novel to reach publication.

    That said, each story will have to be a complete tale in itself, and not resemble part of a larger work, for it to be readily accepted for publication by most markets. I will point out that stories, once published and the rights returned, some markets publish reprints. Nothing wrong with getting paid for a story more than once.

    I think that there are a few options, based upon my experience reading and writing.

    My path: I wrote and sold several novels. I also wrote and sold a number of short stories during that time (many of them as reprints as well). Then, when the rights to all the stories had reverted to me, my publisher was willing to put them together in a collection. Of all my works, it has sold the least, but it does sell, at least well enough that my publisher didn't lose money on the effort (editing costs, cover, ISBN, etc.). My publisher did this because I'd had success with novels that'd been published. I don't think if I'd've submitted a proposal/manuscript for a short story collection via slush, I'd've been offered a contract.

    Another method is something akin to what Kevin Hearne is doing with his Iron Druid Chronicles. He has a major publisher (Random House/Del Rey) that puts out his novels and a couple novellas. He is self-publishing short stories related to/filling in between the novels, and having them produced into audiobooks as well, (which is certain to have been negotiated into his contract). Two have gone into small ebook anthologies. So, that might be an avenue to take. Get your novels published and supplement, through your publisher or yourself, the related short stories.

    Those are just a couple thoughts and ideas. I'm sure there are others out there.

    Good luck whichever path you take and hope you're able to sell your novels in short order once they're completed! :)

    Terry
     
    BayView, Shuvam Das and thirdwind like this.
  3. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    That was a great post by Terry, and I agree with everything he said. In my opinion, you should sell each story individually to a paying market. It's much easier, and this way you aren't under pressure to finish an entire short story collection.
     
  4. Shuvam Das
    Offline

    Shuvam Das Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2015
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Somewhere But Not Here
    Thanks a lot for your advice. It helped a lot. :)
    I think I'll do it in something closer to your method. I've had some experience in self-publication with Amazon, and I certainly didn't like it. Thanks again.
     
    TWErvin2 likes this.
  5. Wayfarer33
    Offline

    Wayfarer33 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2015
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have four (unrelated) short stories. Any ideas? I don't know the first thing about how, or where, to submit them. I assume an agent isn't necessary for short stories.
     
  6. izzybot
    Offline

    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    865
    Likes Received:
    956
    Location:
    SC, USA
    Depends on your genre. It's honestly easiest to just google '[genre] magazines' or something like that. If you do sci-fi, fantasy, or horror, I could point you towards a few. You'll want to make sure they're formatted properly, but most zines will have instructions to that end listed, and you'll want to do up some cover letters and possibly a short bio. The submission process itself is usually pretty straightforward - it'll be either through email, submittable, or their own online form. It's not as hard as it seems once you get into it :)
     
    Wayfarer33 likes this.
  7. Wayfarer33
    Offline

    Wayfarer33 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2015
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks. One of them is sci-fi -- about a kidnapped child soldier. I have less than a clue about cover letters for this sort of thing, though. Do they tell you on their site what they're looking for? Or are they more generic...? I've never written anything like a pitch or synopsis, so I'm kind of lost.
     
  8. TWErvin2
    Offline

    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,529
    Likes Received:
    561
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    Agents generally don't represent short stories. You have fantasy/SF/horror, Ralan.com would be a place to look. It has varying markets, including short story categorized by rate of pay (pro, semi-pro, pay, token payment, anthologies, etc.) with a basic description of what each market is looking for and a link to the market's guidelines.

    For a cover letter, it is pretty basic (a google search will show you articles that discuss it). Often it's included as part of the uploading process (very few markets still take submissions via mail or via mail exclusively).

    Person (usually editor--Ms. Julie Smith)
    Title (ie Managing Editor)
    Market name (Magazine, ezine, etc. title)


    Salutation (avoid 'who whom it may concern' if at all possible, or something generic. Research via the website for the appropriate editor/name).

    First paragraph contents: Introduce your story including : Several line synopsis, genre, title and word count.

    Next paragraph, any relevant sales. If it's a token paying market and/or not in the same genre for example, definitely no reason to mention it. If you have no relevant writing credits, then skip this paragraph. Not a problem or a concern.

    Last paragraph, a line thanking them for considering your story and looking forward to their reply and such.

    Sincerely,

    Your Name
    Contact info (email address)


    Note: Your name and email and story title and even genre may be requested in various fields in the submission page (I've not submitted a short story in a while so it may have changed some) when you upload the story file (in the format requested), but I always included them in the cover letter, of which there is usually a spot for this type of content to be included.


    Finally keep a spread sheet listing where you sent a story, when, expected reply and results. Often it takes more than once to sell a story, and making the chart to keep track of vital info will help you keep organized and not have to keep going to look up the information (wait time). Note that if a response time is listed at 6 weeks, expect twice as long, especially if your story gets further consideration and isn't rejected right off, for whatever reason. If it is rejected, and you get a form rejection, it's just part of the business. I guess there are some markets that say they only reply if they're interested in offering a contract, and that if x number of weeks has passed, they are not interested.

    There are concerns of simultaneous submissions being accepted--where you're sending a story to more than one market at a time--usually mentioned in the market's guidelines.

    Then there is the contract, if offered, which is a whole different topic/post, which probably already has a thread.

    That's my two cents (or more).Good luck!

    Terry
     
    Wayfarer33 likes this.
  9. criticalsexualmass
    Offline

    criticalsexualmass Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2013
    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    60
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Frankly, you can google "short story submissions" and get some starting point ideas. Asimov is sort of the top of the heap in scifi short story publishing, but you may want to start with daily science fiction or another smaller market first. The pitch doesn't mean as much in these markets, they generally read the work anyway. YMMV
     
    Wayfarer33 likes this.
  10. Shadowfax
    Offline

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,527
    Likes Received:
    1,347
    Or put it out to slush readers to sort the chaff from the wheat.
     
    Wayfarer33 likes this.
  11. Wayfarer33
    Offline

    Wayfarer33 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2015
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks. Sounds like it's a pretty simple business when it comes to short stories. I looked into shopping around a novel-in-progress years ago, and got overwhelmed. This sounds much more manageable. I looked at Asimov, only I think I might get filtered out by their violence policy. There actually isn't excessive gore, but it's disturbing because the story builds up to a kid witnessing another kid's murder. Both of them are child soldiers forcibly drafted onto a psycho's ship. Any suggestions on other markets where I can expect to get a similar level of exposure, or that have similarly respected reputations? I'm trying to think ahead to when I do want to publish something bigger, and can hopefully draw upon having been published before.
     
  12. Mattiemae
    Offline

    Mattiemae Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2015
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Netherlands
    hmm...I know a lot of people writing short reads on Amazon, and I don't think if short stories are not selling, the businessmen wouldn't be outsourcing to writers on fivver, odesk, and elance. And pretty much they go by the philosophy of more e-books the better. They pay 50 bucks a book and make money off them, and I suppose that's where I figured out it's not all fair in love and war in the writing community. They study the niches, market, and outsource. And there objective is the best seller. And using copy writing in their stories. At the same time Amazon just changed being paid by page. You need at least 128 pages in an e-book for short stories or Novella at the moment.

    I think this is the thing, you can limit yourself by being worried about what route to take, but if you hone your writing skills and write good stories, the readers will buy them either way you publish. The market doesn't care how you get there, just that you have a good story and quality writing. Usually if your book is selling big, even if it was a collection of short stories, the publishers will pick it up.

    It's a competitive world and it really comes down to how bad you want to get there. Getting past your fears, doing things in a legit way, not cheating the system, gaining a fan base, staying off the bad behavior author list, and not allowing reviews to affect you and staying neutral about it.

    There are many paths to the same place using different platforms. Since you can use pen names it gives you the opportunity to experiment in self-publishing and traditional publishing. The only thing holding one back is self.

    What made someone a best seller two years ago won't make you one today. The system is always changing the rules and upgrading. It's important to keep up to date, and know who is your competition, what are they writing, how are they marketing, how are they advertising and what platforms they're using. How are they getting traffic.

    It's my understanding even if you do have a traditional publisher, they only market and advertise your book to a certain degree and you still have to show them you know how the market works etc and push your books. Your website or blog needs to grow that fan base and following over time before your book comes out. You need the fan base to do the talking for you by what they know about you and your writing, and use the haters as leverage to promote your book. Even if they're bad mouthing you, they're still spreading the word. Which is basically what happen with 50 Shades of Grey.

    Word of mouth is what sells your book. I believe we get caught up in these different paths, but each author will get there differently, and in not in the same exact method.

    The thing is even experimenting with short stories, you get a reaction from readers, you know whether they like your work or don't, and what needs to be fixed and redone. You can't do that with traditional publishing. Once it's picked up by a publisher your stuck with it, and if people hate it, it's too late you can't fix it.

    Self-publishing you have the option of fixing it and reworking it and testing out what works and doesn't work. In self-publishing you can pull it and use a pen name and still have learned what you needed to know for your novel. I think on bigger platforms it's quite different then in writing communities. They're not your friends and best buddies and reviewers and readers don't care about your feelings and emotions. They get straight to the point why they hate or love your book. You have the answer. And at the same time learn not to take things personally.

    I had a millionaire challenge me last year. I wanted to be the Babe Ruth and go traditional. He said he'd bet on the one throwing out 50 books versus the one Babe Ruth. I didn't understand the lesson in it, until I took the challenge and wrote short reads. There are many lessons to be learned from it, and whether I go the traditional publishing route with my novel I'm far more prepared then I would be if I just went with the Novel and traditional publishing. While I haven't enjoyed every moment with these business writers, and more of an authentic writer, I understand it still correlates with becoming a best seller author.

    I suppose both ways has it's pro's and con's, but I suppose I learned to just test both Self Publishing & Traditional Publishing.
     
  13. Ryan M Pelton
    Offline

    Ryan M Pelton Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2015
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    USA
    No don't wait for the other project to complete. You can sent for publication the collection of short stories.
     

Share This Page