1. writerdude11

    writerdude11 New Member

    Mar 10, 2013
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    Publishing advice

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by writerdude11, Mar 16, 2013.

    Hey guys, I was wondering if anybody could give me advice on what the publishing experience is like. Im a budding writer thinking about publishing a collection of short stories and am sort of scared as to what to expect and how to do it. Thanks and have a great day!
  2. chicagoliz

    chicagoliz Contributor Contributor

    May 30, 2012
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    Are you saying you want to self-publish a collection of short stories? Have you had any short stories published by magazines or short story journals? You might be better off going that route. But, if you really just want them out there, and want to publish them yourself, have you investigated amazon or smashwords?
  3. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Jul 11, 2010
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    Near Los Angeles
    It is possible to publish a collection of short stories as a first book, but it is extremely difficult. Most agents and publishers won't even look at such a book from a new writer. You have to be damn good - and I mean major-literary-prize-good - to have a collection even considered.

    But it can be done. Junot Diaz's first book, Drown, is a short story collection. Jhumpa Lahiri's first book was a story collection as well and won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2000. George Saunders has only published collections of short stories (along with one novella), and was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. If you're as good as these writers, go for it. If not, you'd probably have more luck starting with a novel.
  4. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

    Mar 9, 2010
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    You may already know the below, but just in case:

    - Traditional publishing usually involves trying to persuade an agent to represent your book, who will try to persuade a publisher to publish your book. In traditional publishing, the author doesn't pay a penny to anyone - the publisher pays him money. (And he gives a percentage to the agent.) This is the usual and most generally respected way to publish.

    - Self publishing involves printing your book yourself (you may hire someone, but you retain all rights and control) at your own expense. This is non-traditional, and few self-published authors sell more than a few copies. Once a book is self-published, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to get it traditionally published.

    - Vanity publishing is the worst of both worlds. You pay someone, they print your book, and they have rights to your book. So you essentially pay someone to make your book forever unsalable.

    People will debate this and tell you that self-publishing can be a great choice. I'm not getting into that debate; my primary concern is to make sure that you are aware that there are issues, so that you're prepared to research them and make your own decision.
  5. Krishan

    Krishan Active Member

    Aug 17, 2012
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    Buying a copy of The Writers' And Artists' Yearbook is probably a good first move. The essays in there should be helpful to someone in your position, and the listings will be useful if you decide to go ahead.
  6. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

    Nov 30, 2006
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    Ohio, USA

    You might have better luck attempting to sell each story individually, to magazines, ezines and anthologies.

    I have a collection of my previously published short stories recently released. I am fortunate my publisher did this, even though my publisher knew that the short story collection was unlikely to sell as well as the novels I've published through them. Although the collection is selling okay, and will probably turn a profit for the publisher, it's not selling as well as my fantasy novels. I really doubt my publisher would have accepted my short story collection if I hadn't had a decent sales record already. Plus, the stories had already found a home once--or more as several had been reprinted.

    I would say my case is an exception to the rule. Even well known authors sometimes struggle to find a publisher for a collection fo their short stories, and even when they do, the collection's sales tend to be weaker than a novel's by the same author. Such as Stephen King or Orson Scott Card, or even Roger Zelazny.

    If you do go the route of publishing through other markets first, however, make sure you have the rights back to republish them before you attempt it--usually in the form of a clause in the contract indicating non-exclusive rights are held by the market after a certain time (usually a year) after publication with that magazine/ezine/anthology.

    There are some small publishers that do publish short story collections, but as an unknown author it'll be especially difficult. If the stories are similar/written around a central theme, that may help attract interest with a publisher, but it'd still be a long shot.

    Good luck in whatever course you decide to take.
  7. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
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    Coquille, Oregon
    paying publishers don't take on collections of short stories by new and unkown writers because there's only a narrow market for short story collections even if by famous authors, thus no market at all for an unknown's never-seen stories...

    which is why you'd have to get at least some of those stories published in reputable magazines/literary journals and make a name for yourself in literary circles, before your collection would interest an agent or traditional publisher...

    the only exception might be small niche indies, if your stories all have a gay/horror/erotica/whatever-niche theme and are well written enough to meet their standards...

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