The Market for Short Story Collections - Are They Worth It?
Some thoughts on why I create short story collections.
The Market for Short Story Collections - Are they worth it?
Due to past experiences and a careful study of the market, I know short story collections by individual authors don’t typically market well. In fact, even the super-famous authors don’t typically sell many copies of their short story collections.
However, this doesn’t deter me from writing short stories because I love them, and I like sending them out into the world individually.
Plus, I love collecting them into book-sized collections and sharing them with readers that way. So, on a personal level these books are worthwhile to me.
I have four collections of short works out now. One which is all poetry, two which house a combination of poems and short stories, and my latest collection, which is all short, speculative fiction stories.
Short Story Collections Sales and Evergreen Content
My latest collection is actually doing slightly better than I expected in the marketplace. Of course, I had tiny, tiny expectations, so any sales beyond that are a bonus. In fact, having sales in February felt like a huge bonus.
In the past, I’ve typically sold a dozen or so copies of collections in the first month, and then had a lingering number of “live” sales at book events and author talks. These lingering sales are continuous. For example, my first collection on Amazon, Dragonfold and Other Adventures only sold a few dozen copies the first year it was out, but I still have a handful of sales each year even though it’s been out for nearly ten years. Most of these sales are in person at live events, but again, I have them on hand and they sell.
Again, is it worth it?
So, is it worth it to publish short story collections?
It all depends on your expectations and what you hope to have happen with them. I am happy to have readers. I am happy that most of these stories make it first into the marketplace individually and these collections offer me a bonus way of marketing them. I am glad to have something smaller to put into a reader’s hands at a book event and watch them flip through the pages. If they like one story idea they glimpse, they usually buy the book.
Plus, any evergreen, continuous sale content is good, even if those sales are small.
My lates short story collection:
25 Impossible Tales of Survivors, Flawed Heroes, and Annoyed Villains: A Science Fiction and Fantasy Collection is a book of stories I collected over almost ten years, with unique worlds, interesting characters, and tough dilemmas.
Some of these stories are new to 2022, written during a Clarion West Flash Fiction Workshop in the summer.
Some of these stories were previously published by professional and literary publications like Creative Colloquy, Aurora Wolf, the Insecure Writers' Support Group Fantasy Contest Anthology from the 2016 contest, Book Dreams 1, and more. It was fun to work with these stories again in this collection.
This collection, unlike previous collections, is focused all on speculative fiction genres, from science fiction, paranormal, fantasy, and science fantasy.
The stories are a mixture of Noble Bright and Dark, with some sweet stories that could fit in the YA genre, but also with some heavier stories which mention abuse and trafficking. I tried my best to keep the graphic nature of those themes off the page, but I did give a content warning for tough subject matter.
If you are interested, you can find it at: Amazon
Due to the knowledge (forearmed) that short story collections are not big sellers, I don’t pay for cover art. I created this one with the Pro-level of Canva.
If you are interested in seeing a paid tier of content with short stories here, let me know in the comments. :)
I know short stories don't sell as well, but since I enjoy reading them myself, I figure others will as well. I just have to find those people.