So I’ve reached the point where I’m prepared to send out my short story collection. After a lot of editing, story substitutions and detailed critiques from friends and trusted colleagues, I’ve gathered something solid, something I’m very stoked on. I’m ready to throw the thing out into the world and see if any agents may or may not be interested. All boomerang-like, I’m also more than prepared for it to come back to me, rejected or no.
The only question is, where?
It’s pretty apparent that while short stories have never been big sellers compared to novels, they seem to have reached new lows in regards to agents and commercial interest. It’s really really too bad, since short stories have always been a captivating format for me. There’s a particular magic to a good short story that just can’t be found elsewhere, this kind of vise grip on the imagination. I’m a voracious reader, and there’s little that as viscerally gut-deep satisfying as a good short story collection. Recent collections such as Alan Heathcock’s Volt, Patrick Somerville’s The Universe In Miniature In Miniature and Wells Tower’s Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned immediately come to mind. All compelling books. There’s clearly strong collections coming out – the question is, how did these authors get to where they are?
So it’s been an interesting process, researching literary agents and trying to discern which ones are even interested in being queried about short story collections. Ultimately I believe in my writing and I think the stories I’ve gathered together are more than solid. That said, I’m also used to rejection – it’s rare (okay, very rare) that any of my stories are placed in the first journal I send them to. So it’s a process, one that’s both heavy with hope and dread and even a little bit of tediousness. Somehow getting the whole collection denied from a one-page query letter gets me a little more morose that one story getting shot down individually.
Anyway, the point is the process itself, I guess. Perseverance is key, commitment is key, as is the idea that none of this should stop me from writing new stuff right now, today.
I’ll keep you posted.
Thanks for taking a look around,
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