Short Story Collections

Q: I have quite a collection of short stories and noticed some publishers ask for these short stories as a collection. Is there really a market out there for this type of work? -Tyler


A:
Absolutely! The market for short story collections is undergoing a mini-renaissance, and publishers regard them as much more marketable now than five or ten years ago. Witness the mainstream success of Melissa Banks Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing (Viking) and more recently Alice Monro’s Hateship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage: Stories (Knopf), among many other literary collections.

You dont mention whether any of the stories in your collection have been published individually yet. Having one or more stories in the collection previously published is to your advantage – it shows the publisher there is already an audience for your work. Be sure youre selling, or granting, only first North American serial rights to the journal youre published in, and you retain all rights to contract with a publishing house for the collection.

If you havent had your stories published individually and are considering sending them out, one place to start looking for markets is the June issue of Writers Digest. In it youll find the annual “Fiction 30” feature, which identifies the best markets for writers to approach based on criteria such as pay, frequency, the number of manuscripts they receive versus the number they actually publish, and so on. Youll also find a list of top-selling recent short story collections to familiarize yourself with whats doing well now.

Anne Bowling
Editor of 2001-2005 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Markets
Writer’s Digest Books