Is more always better?

Dear Miss Snark,

I'm beginning the process of finding a publisher for a collection of literary short stories
(the stories are unified by a theme). Four of the stories have been published in literary journals.

The collection includes a novella, and a small journal has expressed interest in publishing the novella serially. Do you have a sense of whether the small publishers that might be interested in my book would be put off if most of the stories, and particularly the novella, had already been published in little mags, or is this always a case of the more the better?

More isn't always better, but pub credits are good. What you'll need though is some new work in the collection so you can say "these are published; this is new". Almost every collection has some bits of new work unless it's a collection by an well-established author.


Sherry Decker said...

I doubt a publisher will be put off by some of the stories having been published, especially if the publications where those stories appeared have good reputations. I'm pretty much a nobody, and a small publisher published my collection, even though ten of the eleven stories had been published previously, all in reputable genre magazines. I've also won some writing contests and edited/published a small fiction magazine, and that may have helped a little. My next step is to finish my novel-in-progress and aim for a major publisher via a zinger of an agent :) I love reading short stories. Good luck with your project.

vkirala said...

Miss Snark, could you kindly comment on what percentage of a story collection you personally feel should be "new work"? Thanks very much.

Miss Snark said...


Ryan Field said...

All the best with the short story collection. We need more, as readers, and they just aren't there.

Virginia Miss said...

16.35% - I just love it when Miss Snark is asked for stats!