I've never published a short story collection before* because of the tendency of booksellers to look at sales of an author's last book before ordering in the new one. Booksellers mostly don't take into account the fact that they're comparing apples and oranges. I think a collection would sell somewhere between 500 and 5,000 copies in trade paperback. If I sold, say, 1,250 copies of a collection, it would screw up the orders for Hild--which I'm hoping will sell many tens of thousands of copies.
But the world has changed. I don't have to publish a trade paperback through a small press. I could self-publish, electronically. If I did, the formats would be Kindle--which you can read on your iPhone or iTouch as well as on an actual Kindle device--possibly PDF and maybe, depending how much hassle it is to figure out, ePub. The book would be about 100,000 words (about 350 pages), including an introduction and story notes. Naturally it would have a nifty cover. Tentative title: Heat & Light.
But before I go to all the trouble of writing an intro, making a cover, writing story notes, putting the stories in the perfect order, then formatting the whole thing, I need to know if there's any demand.
So here are three questions for you:
- Does it sound like a book you'd enjoy?
- What price point would convince you?**
- What format would you prefer?
Some more info about Heat & Light:
About a dozen stories, of all varieties of speculative fiction and assorted lengths, ranging from a light-hearted 2,000-word piece about the perils of chemistry, to a novelette about sex, lust, and the biochemistry of love, to a novella about shape changers in the sticky heat of Belize. Maybe an off-planet tale and a couple of horror stories. Perhaps some magic realism. Also, if I publish after I've finished the first draft of Hild, a never-before seen (because, y'know, I haven't written it yet) sword-swangin' novella.
* With Her Body is a chapbook in a series of Conversation Pieces from Aqueduct Press. Not quite the same thing.
** The first person to say 'free' gets roasted alive. I'm thinking $9.99 or less.