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.          

Tuesday 1 September 2015

The Shelagh Delaney Collection

In commemoration of the annual Shelagh Delaney Day, 25 November, we are putting together a collection of short stories. The winning story will be read out loud by a professional actor. The best twenty will appear in an anthology.

There is no charge for entry to the competition.


You must have a connection with Salford.
This can be:
·         You have lived, worked or studied in Salford.
·         You currently live, work or study in Salford.  
·         You were born in Salford.
·         You participate or have participated in leisure activities in Salford.  
·         You know Salford well enough to set your story there.   


Shelagh Delaney was a great observer of ordinary people. So, we want stories of everyday people, the sort of people who perhaps live in Salford. You can set your story elsewhere as long as you meet one of the other eligibility criteria. You may interpret the theme of “ordinary” in any way you like.

What we’re looking for

Strong character-driven stories that show acute observation of human life similar to that found in Delaney’s works.
Stories should be between 1,000 and 3,000 words.

How to enter

Your manuscript should be double spaced, in a 12 point common font, with paragraphs indented. Please use single quotes for speech and italics for thought.

Nowhere on the manuscript should you have contact details.

Please email your work as a Word attachment to In the subject of the email please include Shelagh Delaney + The title of your story e.g.  Shelagh Delaney Shopping in the City. In the body of the email please include full contact details and a 50 - 100 word bio that also confirms your eligibility for the competition.


Last entry: 7 October 2015
Longlist (20 stories for anthology): 22 October 2015
Shortlist (the six best: 2 November  2015
Winner:  9 November 2015
Staff and students at the University of Salford will be involved in judging the stories. Those involved in judging are not eligible to enter the contest.