Typically, how long is a short story collection?

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Thread: Typically, how long is a short story collection?

  1. #1

    Typically, how long is a short story collection?

    I've been looking through some of my old writings and found three short stories that share a common thread. Is this enough for a "collection"?

  2. #2
    Maybe. Although if you're self publishing, I suppose it doesn't matter. People sell individual stories, as far as I know. I've decided to self-publish a collection and I'm at 10 stories. Seems like most are at about that or a dozen or so. Amazingly, Salinger's collection Nine Stories has nine stories in it -- if you can believe it.

    My problem is I'm always working on something that I'm excited about -- and I'm thinking I'll just add this one more, maybe drop something else etc. etc. I need to fish or cut bait, as my mom used to say.
    Last edited by JosephB; March 20th, 2013 at 04:08 PM.

  3. #3
    i'd think the collection would need to be as long as a novel to interest a publisher. most publishers ask for
    a minimum of 60,000 words. i've seen some set the minimum at 50,000 and others at 70,000. but 60,000 is
    what i'm most accustomed to seeing.
    "Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by JosephB View Post
    Maybe. Although if you're self publishing, I suppose it doesn't matter. People sell individual stories, as far as I know. I've decided to self-publish a collection and I'm at 10 stories. Seems like most are at about that or a dozen or so. Amazingly, Salinger's collection Nine Stories has nine stories in it -- if you can believe it.

    My problem is I'm always working on something that I'm excited about -- and I'm thinking I'll just add this one more, maybe drop something else etc. etc. I need to fish or cut bait, as my mom used to say.
    I did the same thing...finally settled on 13 stories out of the 30 or so that share common themes/settings/characters. Plenty of people sell individual stories on smashwords and/or amazon. I've done it myself, and with good results. The usual cost is 99 cents. B-list writers often use them as teasers for higher-priced product.
    Just don't see the point in trad publishing anymore. If you have any kind of marketing moxie, there's no reason to contract with someone else who will leech the lion's share of the proceeds for your work.
    A quick runthrough of the usual suspects will give you the 29th st figures that Dale hands out, but I don't see many b&m publishers jumping to publish collections by novice authors. It isn't realistic to expect that to happen, imo.
    So...there really isn't a paradigm. You can make your book whatever you want it and price it however you want to.
    However...if you look at collections that are "out there", they do tend to be between 50k and 75k, unless they're "best of"s with more or less guaranteed sales figures. I'd think that would have to do with ergonomics more than anything else, though printing costs, etc, are going to have their share of reasons.
    Hidden Content
    "From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it." - Groucho Marx

  5. #5
    If your stories are more along the lines of novellas, then three might be enough. My short story collection contains 13 stories, and totals about 65,000 words. The length of each story varies from 68 words to 9,900 words.

    If you decide to self-published via ebook, and package three stories together, it wouldn't matter the length. It certainly would influence the price point, if you charge for the collection.

    For me, as a reader, I would think 5-6 stories would be the minimum for what I'd consider a 'collection.'

  6. #6
    I'm actually getting a short story collection ready after I publish my second novel. It's going to be about fifty thousand words, give or take a few thousand. For me, that seems to be about right, as it will be about six of seven short stories.
    Hidden Content

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