Tags:
  1. Aceldama

    Aceldama Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2019
    Messages:
    252
    Likes Received:
    142

    Short Stories

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Aceldama, May 28, 2020.

    Can someone fill me in a bit on the market for the short story genre? Perhaps some insight if you have published a collection, or the differences (if any) with presenting a collection of short stories to be published.

    Any sort of nuance or information regarding the genre as a whole or in terms of publication and marketing would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Lemex

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    10,535
    Likes Received:
    3,231
    Location:
    Northeast England
    Sorry to sound negative, but there isn't really much of one left.

    Most writers are still getting a decent start getting short stories out there, but it's increasingly online and for little to no money. There are still traditional magazines that buy and publish short stories but they are dwindling away. It's still a good place to start, just to get your name out there and a portfolio started, but don't expect the kind of money Raymond Carver was making back in the 80s or anything.

    Short story collections? Unless you are already established it would be a huge amount harder than just getting your stuff in a magazine, the form is becoming more and more niche, and so you aren't likely to get it printed just because it is more and more a risk for a publisher. Not to say it does not happen, it does, but it's very rare. For publishers it's still more profitable to collect anthologies with some new names and some old hats together, that lets them have a good number of writers on hand for commissions. This is happening less and less though.

    The short story market is being strangled by a large number of often good short story writers, falling profits for traditional publishers, and frankly an increasingly uninterested public. A lot of the time people who read short stories in printed or pay to see online magazines are fellow writers.
     
    Aceldama and Cave Troll like this.
  3. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    4,144
    Likes Received:
    3,537
    I have to disagree with just about everything said here. I'm not sure if you are writing and selling short stories, but you seem to have a very different understanding of the market than I do. I have been writing short stories for years, and in recent years have sold some to really great publication that I don't see going anywhere anytime soon. Print is not dead. And writers are not alone in reading these publications.

    However, I will say selling a short story to these publications is extremely hard, but not impossible. It took me years and hundreds of rejections. I still get a ridiculous amount of rejections (see the rejection thread), but I also do publish. If you publish in the right places, agents and book publishers take notice and it's not unheard of for them to reach out to a writer after reading a story. When it comes to short story credits where you publish matters. And if you are a short story writer, it's good to have a sense of different publications and what's out there. I will say it again. Breaking in is hard. But if your stories aren't selling to the magazines and journals, chances are you're not ready for a collection. Unless, of course, you want to self publish, but that's not something I think the OP was asking about.

    Also, many places do pay pretty well for short stories. And getting a story published means your story could be nominated for things like The Pushcart Prize, which is another example that the short form is still thriving.

    I think a lot of people think of short stories as some sort of stepping stone for writer. Maybe for practice writing that's true. But to be a successful short story writer takes a lot of work and persistence. What's harder -- selling a novel or selling a short story? I think it's a tossup since so much depends on your abilities and your goals. But don't think for a moment that the short story game is any easier. There's a lot of competition, but I always suggest trying to run with the big dogs.

    I wouldn't approach any agents or publishers about a collection without having some sort of writing credits under your belt. And I also think it's extremely important to read contemporary short stories, both collections and in the magazines and journals. You have to know what's out there to know how your own work stacks up. When reading collections pay attention to the publishers and the authors' special thanks section. You always thank your agent and your editor. This sort of thing will let you know what sort of thing agents are looking for as well as the publishers.
     
    Aceldama and Lemex like this.
  4. Lemex

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    10,535
    Likes Received:
    3,231
    Location:
    Northeast England
    That's all actually great to know! I guess my experience has been different, but it sounds like you have more knowledge than I do.
     
    Aceldama likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice