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Short Story Collection: Advice Please
James wondering what to do next

today I am in search of advice from the multitude of Red Room readers, writers, bloggers and etc.

The story goes, a little over two years ago--on the morning I was going for a colonoscopy--I received a call from an agent on a query and sample from my manuscript of collected short stories. He said that he loved the stories, they excited him as to their potential even though short story collections tend to be a tough sell, and that he wanted to represent me. Hooray!

Then that afternoon, after the colonoscopy I was diagnosed with rectal cancer and spent a year in treatment (radiation/chemo, major surgery, chemo, and then recovery). To say the least, I didn'y have the time or energy or ability to do the work I needed to do on the manuscript and let it fall to the side. I kept in periodic touch with the agent, but after a year his passion for the manuscript had waned considerably and...well, things didn't work out.

Desperate to just get these stories in print I offered them to a publisher who shall remain nameless. The net result is that I now have a book of my short stories that people seem to genuinely like, but a publisher who's marketing program is only about trying to get me to buy more and more copies of my own book.

So what do I do now? I have this book that people like, but I don't have the resources to market it. Can I send it to agents? To publishers?

To take a look at it and see a couple of sample stories go to: www.orchardwriting.com.


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book marketing

Hi James,

first, congratulations on the publication of your short story collection, that's no small accomplishment! I also have a short story collection that has just come out, The White Road and Other Stories, and because it is published by a small press, Salt, and because I am not in the same country as my publisher or most of my target audience, I am having to do a lot of the marketing of the book myself, and mostly online. My advice for you: I am sure you know this, but Facebook is a great way to do some viral marketing.You can set up a page for your book (this is mine) and share it with Facebook friends, and then update all your book's fans with new info, reviews etc... I also found that the various online writing groups I already belong to are helpful in spreading the word - I belong to WriteWords, Zoetrope and Fictionaut. I have a MySpace page, but it ain't much use, I don't think.


Right now I am in the middle of a Virtual Book Tour, which was my publisher's idea but which I then set up: I am doing interviews on 11 blogs over 11 weeks. You can find out more here. This is a great idea... it's a lot of fun and I have 11 blogs around the world with different readerships. I don't know how many books I have sold but it seems to be generating a bit of buzz.


As for approaching an agent or publisher, I assume you have self-published, if you are saying this. It isn't unheard of for a self-published book to then be picked up by a publishing house, but I don't know myself how to go about it. Why not query a few agents and ask their advice?


Good luck!