Friday 25 September 2015

Anthologies of short stories – the finances

You’ve probably read a lot about the young adult novel on this blog. My other love is the short story anthology. They’re reasonably quick to edit. Usually we’ve found the ones with a strong structure so the first edit is minimal. It’s just a matter of getting the writing right.
I also love reading and writing short stories and have several published myself. But it doesn’t make me rich.

Even big names earn little 

I’m published alongside Richard Adams, Anthony Browne, Alan Gibbons, Virginia McKenna, Michael Morpurgo and Lauren St John. Yet I couldn’t live on my earnings from my short stories. I also note an anthology full of big names has rarely been taken out of our local library. I do get royalties every year but earn far more from my novels and teaching resources. Also, I get a good ALCS payment for my academic work and good PLR on some of my educational resources. Yet the short stories bring in very little.  

Some strategies

There are a couple of things you can do to increase your returns.
  1. Get more stories published. Obvious really? Perhaps target certain publishers with certain types of stories. For instance, I sell all of my near future ones to one publisher, human interested to another and ones that resemble this you have in women’s’ magazines to a third.
  2. Purchase author copies from your publisher. They’ll often offer a huge discount.  Then sell them on at full price. Offer to do readings with a friend. Find a venue that will hire you a free space as you’re creating footfall.  

Short stories are fun and deserve to be out there. And you deserve to earn a little more from them.          

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