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How To Pitch A Collection Of Short Stories To Agents And Editors
The short story is one of the literary art forms that countless authors have mastered. However, very few writers know how to get their short story collection published. To make a short story work, you have to be talented and experienced. Many people who write novels started by writing poetry and short stories and then gradually worked their way up to writing longer pieces. Sometimes authors prefer to stick with short pieces and after a while they find themselves with a number of short stories. Most decide to turn their short stories into collections.
Short stories are becoming more and more popular, not only because they are quick reads but because busy people have little time to read. At any time there are hundreds of magazines looking to publish individual short stories. It is more difficult to find a home for your short story collections.
Big publishers want novels because they are more economically viable. They rarely consider short story collections. These collections are more difficult to pitch because agents and editors are not willing to risk signing unknown authors. Only the most skilled writers get preferential treatment from agents and editors.
Anthologies are short story collections from different authors. These do well because they are categorized according to their themes. However, anthologies from single authors who are not well known do not do well. Many writers of short story collections eventually get frustrated and decide to publish their own collections. However, there are several things they can try before giving up.
Publish selected stories: As an author of short stories, you should select some of your stories and publish them individually in quality magazines and literary journals. Make this a regular thing and eventually you will get the attention of agents.
Theme: It goes without saying that every piece of writing should have a theme. If you are an author of short stories, you should make sure that they all have a similar theme. It is much easier to sell collections with a cohesive theme.
Turn them into a novel: Sometimes an agent will tell you to tear the short stories apart and write them as a novel instead of making a collection of short stories. Other agents will tell you to leave some short stories as a collection in order to sell them to generate interest for the ones you have turned into a novel. You should also participate in all the short story writing competitions you can enter.
Give small presses a chance: There are many more small publishing houses than big ones. Smaller presses specialize in niche marketing. They usually publish out of love for the genre and may be persuaded to take your collection.
Use literary agents: Any writer of short stories has a better chance of getting published than other writers as long as he/she has an agent. In order to get an agent, you should have a strong bio. It might also help if you say in your query letter that a novel is in the pipeline.
Get schooled: It is much easier to sell your collection if you have top-notch credentials. Make sure you have publication credits from top magazines, grants, and awards.