A book of short stories

esart

esart.com
Founding member
What do you guys think the purpose of publishing a small book of short stories is? Am I high, or is it a waste of time? I mean, I know it probably is. I have no fantasies of getting rich off such a thing, but what are the reasons we would do this? Is it all ego? Whether we do it ourselves or find an indie, or even a major traditional publisher to do it, these are not the kinds of publications that make writers careers. I have been working on a collection and have been wondering why I'm even proceeding. At first I was just wondering how long it needed to be, then wondering if they all needed to be previously published, and now I don't know why I'd do it at all. I swear, I'm such a neurotic spaz. Help?
 

PhillyDave

“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
Do you need to know why? If you are capable & can, then I say go for it. You are a great writer. Many of us, myself included, are neurotic spazzes. Actually, I was made fun of and called spazz when I was a kid. Bullies. Haven't thought of that in a long time. Made it about me. Whoops. I think of the saying "Don't try." It, I think also means. "Do." so... do.
 

hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
Moderator
Founding member
You don't need a reason. If you're compelled to sit down and write stories, that's all the reason you need.

No, no one will read it, they certainly won't buy it, maybe some critics will give glowing reviews and your friends will say "oh! impressive" but still not buy your book, and.... sorry, I seem to be projecting. 😏

Put together a book. The stories don't have to be previously published. I actually wrote a story on a deadline for my book because the publisher didn't think the book was long enough. That being said, don't worry about length.

And neurotic spazzes make the best writers.
 

esart

esart.com
Founding member
Thanks guys. You always know how to make me feel better. I did get one story published in a university pub. It's not out yet, but I'll let ya'll know when it's up. That was after submitting to about 50 places though. I can always keep trying and even keep trying before, after, and during publishing the short story book. I mean, if I can get the confidence in place. You guys seem to be my source for it. Seriously.
 

Hosh

hoshomccreesh.com
I say the reason for most artistic projects is this: It's as good a way to pass our time as anything else...and maybe somewhere someone else gets something out of it. I say go for it...damn the torpedoes!
 
Firstly, I really don't think you should tie what your writing into "making a career." A writer writes what she/he needs to write. Period. That is, if you're a real writer. I'm not saying to forego thinking about your career, only that if a short story needs to come out of you then why stop it?

And I disagree about the short story form not being able to propel one into greater recognition. Amy Hempel, who I believe writes SSs exclusively, was just long-listed for the Pen Faulkner. Deborah Eisenberg, also writing only in that form I believe, has won great acclaim, including a Macarthur, for her work. A.M. Homes continues to publish books of SSs as does TC Boyle and other well known authors. Whether you like them or not, they are successful and recognized.

I myself have a MS of short fiction ready for publication. I put a lot of sweat and blood into it. Oddly, my fiction pieces seem to fall into the "novelette" length, between 7500--20,000 words. I'm hoping that's one of the reasons I'm finding them hard to place in the lit journals. (I also refuse to PAY to have my work considered but that's another "story.")

Don't forget also--whatever we write with our heart makes us a better writer.
 

esart

esart.com
Founding member
I myself have a MS of short fiction ready for publication. I put a lot of sweat and blood into it. Oddly, my fiction pieces seem to fall into the "novelette" length, between 7500--20,000 words. I'm hoping that's one of the reasons I'm finding them hard to place in the lit journals. (I also refuse to PAY to have my work considered but that's another "story.")

Don't forget also--whatever we write with our heart makes us a better writer.
That's interesting that you say that. I did not know what a novelette was, but I have a piece that is about 25,000 words and can't for the life of me figure out how to lengthen it just to make it a novel, which was why I went back to working on the short stories. I thought about bundling it with the short story collection, but I kind of want it to be on its own. I'm undecided. What is the difference between a novella and a novelette? I guess I should use Google for that.

I also wanted to ask about your name. It reminds me of how Italians say "animal." I'm interested in your stories as well. What are they about? Are they straight lit fiction? I also hate having to pay to have the work read at various pubs. When I do submit, I go for the freebies or anything under five dollars. Even that can add up!
 
What is the difference between a novella and a novelette?
Whether there is or isn't a difference, there shouldn't be. We have too many subgenres in the literary world, IMO (we don't need to be spoon-fed so those who only read novellas aren't put off of their game). In the music world, I can see it, but in terms of publications, just go with poem, short story, novella, novel. And toss in biography, et alia. Woof.
 
That's interesting that you say that. I did not know what a novelette was, but I have a piece that is about 25,000 words and can't for the life of me figure out how to lengthen it just to make it a novel, which was why I went back to working on the short stories. I thought about bundling it with the short story collection, but I kind of want it to be on its own. I'm undecided. What is the difference between a novella and a novelette? I guess I should use Google for that.

I also wanted to ask about your name. It reminds me of how Italians say "animal." I'm interested in your stories as well. What are they about? Are they straight lit fiction? I also hate having to pay to have the work read at various pubs. When I do submit, I go for the freebies or anything under five dollars. Even that can add up!
In terms of word count, what I've seen generally is that anything between 8,000 and 20,000 words is considered a novellete and between 20,000 and 40,000, a novella. I suppose it's arbitrary but I've noticed journals usually don't want pieces over five or six thousand words.

About your novella -- you could either combine it with shorter pieces to make a whole MS or write another novella and make the two a book. I still see lots of story collections being published, like Ottessa Mosfegh for example, who seems to be the latest darling of the New Yorker and Penguin and that world. I don't pay to submit my work, I did it once and then vowed to myself to never do it again (contests have always charged but I don't usually bother with them). I never heard of paying to read. Is that in LA? An open mic kind of thing? Hmm, very strange. I guess it would depend on the situation but usually the venues hope to make a few bucks in drinks, etc.

My username is just an "anomalous" spelling of anomaly. I wish I could claim I was doing something magical with the Italian language ;)

Yes, my stories would be considered "literary," character driven, definitely not page turner stuff. I'll try to follow up with you on that.
 

esart

esart.com
Founding member
Thanks for the info. What I meant in reference to reading costs are really submission fees. I use Submittible (submittable.com) for the most part, which can be searched by genre (sort of), or deadline. You can also order the listings by "no fee." It mostly works well as a place to store your submissions and what exactly you submitted to where/when.

I prefer Duotrope, but there's a monthly subscription. If I had the money, it would be worth it because it gives you all the statistics on every publication: what they publish, how often, who they've already published, like publications, and it's all highly searchable by genre and subgenre. I don't have a subscription because it's something like five dollars a month. I had an extended free trial for a bit.

I decided to go ahead with the book of short stories and not care about how long it is/isn't. I won't be looking for a publisher for it because I already know I'd never find one. I'll have to self-publish it.

As for my novella, or whatever it turns out to be (pretty sure it will be about 25K-30K words), I may try to find a publisher and have one in mind--though--it's a real longshot. I'll probably end up self-publishing that one too. I'm no one's darling, especially not anywhere in the NY scene.

I've never done an open mic thing and never would. I've never heard of anyone charging for it either. It would indeed be strange, eh? Some desperate poets I guess.
 
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