If you happen to have a particular talent for weaving short-yet-compelling stories, you might consider self-publishing a short story collection. Short story collections are regularly sought out by avid readers who thirst for concise storytelling that is digestible in short sittings. Story writers who can provide such short-form literary experiences truly have an enthusiastic audience at the ready. Read on to learn more about how to write a short story collection and how to self-publish your final product.

What Is a Short Story Collection?

What is a short story collection, you ask? It is exactly what the term implies, a compilation of short stories in a single book that typically follows a theme. Some examples of short story collections include:

  • Dubliners by James Joyce, a classic composed of 15 short stories
  • Everything’s Eventual by Stephen King, a collection of 14 short stories
  • The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway by Ernest Hemingway, a collection of 70 short stories compiled posthumously
  • Tenth of December: Stories by George Saunders, a collection of 10 short stories

Sometimes, the stories in a collection are related to each other, in that they follow a chronology or have some other element that connects them. Other times, the individual stories bear little likeness to each other but are of the same genre, such as a set of mini-mysteries. Some authors have had several short stories published in literary magazines or online publications, and then decided to create a collection of the strongest ones.

Story authors have a gift for producing captivating story arcs within a limited number of pages. Whether the collection comprises eight 3,000-word stories or 70 5,000-word stories is up to the author and just how lengthy or economic their compilation plays out.

How To Write a Short Story Collection: Common Questions

Now it’s time to explore how to actually write a short story collection. Here are some frequently asked questions:

  • How Long Should a Short Story Collection Be? The length of the collection will vary but should be at least 40,000 words, or about 80 pages. When considering how long a short story collection should be, keep in mind most are about 120 pages in length or 60,000 words.
  • What Should I Name a Short Story Collection? Naming the story anthology allows room for creativity. You may choose a clever title that relates to the overarching theme of the book, or possibly use the title of your strongest short story as the book’s title as well.
  • How Should I Order a Short Story Collection? When arranging your stories, be sure to start and end the collection with your strongest stories. Scatter the short ones amid the longer ones, and strategically place a super strong story every so often to keep the reader committed. The order of the stories may also depend on whether there is a certain timeline to follow, or if thematic changes dictate the order.

How To Write a Short Story Collection: 4 Top Tips

Consider these four handy tips as you create your short story collection:

  1. Stick to a theme. Keeping in mind the all-important reader experience, a short story collection should feature smooth transitions beneath a unifying theme. Whether you write romance, thriller, mystery, or horror, maintain the theme throughout the collection.
  2.  Play with overlapping characters. Consider having a character or two reappear across the entire collection of stories. These overlapping characters allow the reader to become familiar with the characters and form an emotional attachment to them that enhances the reader experience.
  3. Keep a consistent tone. It’s great if you write across a diverse array of genres, but when it comes to putting a short story collection together, be sure to stick with a consistent tone or voice. Again, this provides a steady cadence to the work that feels comfortable to the reader.
  4. Break the rules. A short story collection allows an author the opportunity to explore their creative side. Don’t be shy about innovating; go ahead and create something fresh, new, and bold.

Self-Publishing and Short Story Collections

If you have assembled a cluster of amazing short stories, you may be wondering how to get the collection published. Truth is, most traditional publishing houses take on few if any, short story collections.

Not to worry, as the self-publishing option offers authors of short story collections a legitimate pathway to publication.

Publish Your Short Story Collection With Gatekeeper Press

Do you have a special knack for writing engaging short stories? If so, reach out to Gatekeeper Press for all your self-publishing needs. We can assist with editing, proofreading, and cover design, as well as help you distribute your collection across a multitude of retail bookseller platforms. Reach out to us online today or schedule a free consultation!

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