Getting your short stories in print?

I've really been thinking about this lately.  The thought process had renewed vigor as I was watching a video blog from a novelist who was excited about her first collection being available for print.  You can watch it here if you'd like.

I've looked at Createspace prices and you'd definitely have to have a pretty solid collection on your hands.  Long enough to where it looks substantial but not so long that you lose next month's rent paying for printing costs.  I mean, you would have to have a collection long enough that you would feel comfortable charging $5.99-7.99 for.

But I'm still not convinced this is a wise move yet for the short story author.  Considering how sales for this genre come it at a slow trickle (with the optimistic hopes of the dam breaking later), there's not much to indicate that the physical copy will help your cause.  Even people who have novels out have admitted that it takes quite a bit of time to make your printing costs money back.

Could we be severely limiting our audience by not having paper copies available?  Doubtful.  I think short story authors face the same issues that big time publishers face: cost effectiveness.  Sad, but true.  The ebook is extremely cost effective and, therefore, is allowing life to be pumped back into the short story.  Perhaps in a few years when the short story seems less like a social disease and more like a viable source of entertainment we can talk about printing.


  1. I agree that print is not a really viable option for short-story writers.

    Indeed, I've always felt that the viability of short stories is one of the boons of the ebook revolution.

  2. Collections have always sold modestly compared to novels. Having a print copy allows you to do events, and reach more potential readers. Most of the copies of my collections that I've sold have been the print copies.

    That could be just me, though. Your mileage may vary.

  3. Could you give us some stats, Robert? Like, how long is your collection(s)? How much did it cost to print? How much to you charge?

    That kind of thing. I'm really interested in this.

  4. Sorry it's taken me a while to post a reply, but I'm easily distracted.

    Length: Sagas of Surgard, 33k words; Fun Tales of Fantasy & the Future, 30k words.

    Print cost: Surgard, $2.15 per copy; FT, $2.33 per copy (I'm using Create Space)

    Retail cost: I sell both for $8.00 (although Surgard is still $10 at Amazon). It's on the high side as far as paperbacks go, but if someone knows they're buying from the author, it's not too bad.

    I hope that helps. Let me know if there's more information you'd like.

  5. That was very helpful. Thank you for sharing!

    Both of your collections, though, fall under what I was saying. It has to be a substantial length and you have to feel comfortable charging a much higher price.

    But do you feel that it's worth it, Robert?

  6. I do, Alain. It has the same advantages of having a print edition of an ebook novel. POD means you don't have to worry too much about overstock. Since it isn't that expensive, I would say give it a shot if you have enough material.

    And now, I'm off to bed. Cheers!


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