Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

Holy Smokes!!! Was That Fun!!!

And a Lot of Work…

Tonight, for the last three hours straight, without a break, I have been doing a master class in putting collections together. That’s right, tonight I finished up putting sixty of my science fiction stories into six volumes.

Kris had already done hers and she had already divided her stories up into the six volumes and sort of labeled then with a rough idea header that she used. But as those of you who watched the video on the Kickstarter can tell, Kris’s idea of a rough header and mine do not often match in thinking.

But I did the best I could since she got hers done first. And we needed some way to organize all these stories by topics inside of sf.

I have a spreadsheet with all the stories that are in the 46 issues of Smith’s Monthly Magazine, and I have a set of the physical magazines behind my desk. But I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember my own stories from a title, especially if I wrote the story twenty or thirty years ago.

And in each volume, like any collection, I wanted to start my section of stories with a strong story and end with a strong story. And I wanted to balance the size with the size that Kris put in, since she included some novellas, but in the one volume she didn’t include a novella, I did to help balance the physical size of the books.

So then, with my trusty spreadsheet and a print-out of the contents Kris had in each volume, I started to build the six books. Ten stories per book per rough theme.

So what I would do was take four volumes of Smith’s Monthly off the shelf at a time and just start looking at the four or five stories per volume. Was the story science fiction, which theme did it fit under, and so on? I had all six volumes filled before I got through all of issues of Smith’s Monthly by a long ways. And I was finding it interesting that after two or three hours, I had dug a deep enough trench into my memory that I was starting to remember stories from their titles.

So that TOC  is now turned in and the introductions to all six books are almost done and will be tomorrow, and WMG tells me March and April for the books. Yeah!

Since at the moment a number of people are going through the first Collections class, I can tell you this, five stories in one volume on one topic sounds like heaven. Over the decades I have put a ton of collections and anthologies and issues of magazines together ranging from five stories to twenty stories on just about every topic. Putting this six volume collection together of sixty of my science fiction stories was by far the most fun, the most challenge, and the hardest I have ever done.

And also it was very weird looking back at a bunch of my old stories as well. I never do that, so this was a very different experience in that way as well.

Here is what five of the six look like. These are going to be BIG books.


  • Philip

    Dean, these covers look great and for short story lovers like me, I’m salivating over the thought of that many stories to binge.

  • Roger Weston

    This is a great site. Just read the “Ten Sacred Cows of Publishing” book. Very insightful.

    One question about short stories: As I understand it, the best uses for them are anthologies, newsletters, and ideas for future novels.

    The reason I ask is I’m now insprired to write some short action-thriller stories this year.