Quick Question About Book Length

I’ve now got ten short stories that I want to put together into a collection – Jeeves And The Singularity, Monologue, The Shakespeare Code, Occupational Elf, Bubble Universe, Print The Legend, Boltzmann And Boltzwomann, The Singularity, Free Will And Testament and one I’ve not yet posted here (it’s still under submission to a zine, but that zine has never yet bought anything from me so even though I think it’s a good story I don’t have high hopes it’ll get bought) called Rite Of passage.

The problem is that even with an introduction, that comes to only around eighty pages. That’s OK for an ebook, but is probably far too short for paper publication. Should I:

Give up — no-one’s interested in my fiction anyway (seems likely – the last few stories I’ve posted here have had little response)
Publish it as an ebook only
Wait til I have five or six more stories that fit (may be a very long time given the rate at which I produce stories and the fact that all these seem to have a common theme)
Publish a paper version as well anyway, even though because of POD costs it would be very expensive for what it is
Add on the Doctor Watson story, which would add about another 25 or 30 pages, even though I’m planning on doing a separate book of the Watson stories in in the future


It won’t be out for a little while no matter what — I’m waiting to hear about Rite Of Passage — but I’d be interested to know what people think.

Kinks post up in a couple of hours, Doctor Who tomorrow.

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6 Responses to Quick Question About Book Length

  1. plok says:

    The stories are quite short, so I’d recommend getting a few more of them together — I think it’s a good bet you’ll return to these themes, you know? So it may not take all that long…

    • Andrew Hickey says:

      It’s taken about two years to get that many done, and I’m finding I have less and less to say on those themes as I write them. I’d suspect that it’d take at least another two years for me to write another five stories (say) that fit.

      (Not trying to argue with you — I asked for opinions. I just do know my own writing speed.)

  2. Don Alsafi says:

    Re: the lack of response your stories have been getting, I’d like to add my $0.02. I really enjoy your writing, find your thoughts incredibly engaging, and have enjoyed the fiction I’ve read from you as well. However, for some reason I have a very hard time reading fiction on any blog; I find I have a bit of a mental stumbling block, in that it’s not what I usually go to a blog for.

    I’m not sure I can really explain it, because it doesn’t follow a lot of consistent rules. Like many, I find blog posts a useful way to while away a few minutes between work and such – but I also have no problem reading longer essays. And, in the other direction, these stories of yours are, as you point out, pretty short.

    And yet, while I have no problem reading blog posts that tell entertaining anecdotes, my brainspace pulls back when seeing a post that’s solidly fiction. Not because I don’t want to read it – I do – but because I feel like fiction is something a bit meatier, and something I want to read when I can devote to it the mental energy I feel it deserves (even if it is only a five minute read).

    In short, I haven’t read many of the stories you’ve posted on the site – but I am interested in reading them, and would certainly buy a collection to read on my Kindle. (I purchased and read Justice Leak on there, despite having read all the individual essays as they posted.)

    So I guess what I’m saying is: Don’t necessarily take the lack of responses as a lack of interest! Though I do know how frustrating that is….

  3. prankster36 says:

    I would certainly buy an ebook.

  4. Don Alsafi says:

    It’s also, perhaps. worth pondering whether or not there are any thematically-related essays, or other non-fiction, that might pad out the collection to a slightly bigger size. I’ve certainly picked up any number of collections from favorite authors in the past that have been largely fiction, but with a number of essays in the back. If there are any pieces you’ve been particularly proud of – but which aren’t part of a larger set, or wouldn’t really fit inside another collection of linked nonfiction – then perhaps this might be a good place for them?

    I could see the argument against, of course; personally, however, I myself have never found such a practice particularly offensive.

  5. plok says:

    I’d definitely read a couple brisk essays tossed in!

    I think on the subject of response, a story isn’t arguable — isn’t argumentative, for that matter — in the same way an essay is, so it’s natural not to get a lot of feedback in comparison. As for visitors, I can’t speak for anyone else, but I tend to set stories aside “for later” and then read them as a nice break from looking at analytical stuff online, so…?

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