Friday, January 04, 2008

Where do all these collections go?

(Cross-published with The Short Review blog)

I have spent hours and hours on a new feature on The Short Review site: a list of the short story collections that are scheduled to be published in 2008. I had never seen such a list and I thought it would be interesting, for me, for other short story writers, and for those who love to read them. You can find it here.

Frankly, I was astonished at what I found. It took a lot of work - I went through and with a fine tooth comb because when I did a search for “short stories” hundreds of results came up but I had to check each one and many of them were not actually short story collections. (Not sure how Amazon’s search algorithms work!) But it was wonderful because I found hundreds of collections of all flavours: in English, in translations, new collections, re-releases of classics, lots of Best of… everything, sci fi, erotica, gay stories, Bedouin women’s fiction… A treasure trove of reading material.

I am still working on it because I am finding new titles all the time - please let me know if you have a title to add - but it also makes me sad. I had no idea that this number of collections and anthologies was being published (presumably last year was similar) and I am a fan of the short story who is actively looking for collections to read. How many of them actually sell decent numbers? How many of them get decent reviews? What happens to all these collections?

I do know, of course, that of the thousands of novels published each year, only a small fraction of those get attention, that a novelist - whether new or with several books under her or his belt - faces quite a challenge getting a book into the review sections. It’s a very tough market.

If you are the author of a collection coming out this year, maybe you’d like to keep us abreast on The Short Review blog of what happens when your collection is published, and what you and your publishers have to do to get the word out. If 2007 was the year your collection came out, let us know how that went.

In the meantime, the list is growing and growing….

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