I finally decided to do it. I’ve had a few science fiction short stories written over the years sitting on my hard drive. So, I collected them into a file on Scriviner with the plan to publish them.. I only had eight so I got to work and wrote two more. Now, with ten short stories I was ready. One problem, though. I’ve never published a short story collection before. Which means I went to work researching the ins and outs of short story collections. Here’s what I found so far:
• The title should reflect the overall theme of the collection. But, mine has no overall theme other than each story being a sub-genre of science fiction. A little more checking and I had the solution. The next best idea for a title is the title of one of the stories. Something catchy, something intriging. The one that was always kind of catchy to me was: The Alien Artifact Department. I had my title.
• Length. Was there an acceptable minimum and maximum word count? What if my collection didn’t muster up? You’ve probably seen those paperbacks so thin that there’s no room for the title on the spine. The consensus from my research for a minimal word count was around 40,000. A quick bit of arithmetic told me I was in. I had about 56,000 words.
• The next problem was arrangement of the stories. Which one went where? This struck me a magazine editor territory. But, a little more searching and I had a few ideas. The best story should be first. The worst can be buried somewherre in the middle. Vary the length of the stories. In other words don’t have a series of 7,000 word stories back to back. And, put the longest one at the end.
• I was concerned about needing an introduction. I solved that one by going to Amazon and checking out a few short story collections. You know the “Look Inside” feature that allows you to preview the books. May just had the front matter followed by a table of contents followed by the first story. Guess those intros are for the Stephen King’s of the world.
Well, there you have it. This is what I’ve learned thus far. Still have a long way to go. There’s editing, creating a cover, marketing, etc. As I learn more, I’ll pass it along. So, stay tuned.
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