Dear Miss Snark,
If a trade paperback collection of short fiction sells well (considering it’s with a small publisher) is there much chance it will be reprinted by a larger publisher later, especially if that larger publisher is interested in publishing the author’s first novel?
Yes. Some smaller publishers make a nice chunk of income from selling rights to major publishers after a book does well. The key here is "sell well" and also "well reviewed".
Here are four examples, straight off the Publishers Marketplace deal list (June 20-30,2006)
Peter Behrens's debut THE LAW OF DREAMS, a literary adventure novel set during the Irish Potato Famine of 1847, to Jane von Mehren and Jillian Quint at Random House, in a good deal, by Chip Fleischer at Steerforth (US). firstname.lastname@example.org
Paperback rights to Lawrence Douglas' first novel, the Booksense pick THE CATASTROPHIST, about the unraveling of a star art historian as fatherhood approaches, to Tina Pohlman at Harvest, in a pre-empt by Carole Lazare at Other Press.
Mike Davis's THE MONSTER AT OUR DOOR: The Global Threat of Avian Flu, an account of the looming avian flu pandemic that exposes the human accomplices to this "natural" disaster, to Sara Bershtel at Metropolitan, by The New Press (NA).
Angela Davis-Gardner's PLUM WINE, to Caitlin Alexander at Bantam Dell, at auction, by Liz Darhansoff at Darhansoff, Verrill, Feldman, on behalf of the University of Wisconsin Press.