Tuesday, September 26, 2006

On short story collections

Kathryn A. posted a question in the comment area of Sunday's blog on lengths. She wants to know about short story collections, what does "full length" collection mean.

I would think it means that the publisher is looking to publish book length collections of short stories. So if your stories are a page long, then you'd probably need at least 200 stories to make up a collection and if they were 50 pages long (too long!), then you'd need at least four.

What I hear over and over from agents and authors of short story collections is that unless most of the stories that make up your collection have been published in prominent literary journals and magazines, it will be almost impossible to find a publisher. Even well-known short story writers are encouraged (prodded) by their agents and editors to write novels.

Nothing's impossible, though. And if a short story writer is what you are, then that's what you have to do.

Work to get them placed in respected journals: Tin House, Granta, Glimmer Train, Zoetrope, Ploughshares, New Yorker, etcetera etcetera. A story in Pig Farmers Quarterly just won't impress.

Does this help, K.?

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