RenegadeImage's picture
RenegadeImage from Berkeley, CA is reading The Gods of Tango November 4, 2012 - 11:50am

I'm looking for informed advice about publishing one or more shorter pieces (2000-3000 words) that would later serve as the basis for a longer work, either a novel or novella. The shorter pieces stand on their own as individual stories but will also form the core of eventual novel. The stories will probably have to be altered, with additional material added and there will be a substantial amount of new material introduced in the novel that may or may not stand on its own as individual stories but will serve as shorter scenes.

My question: Would I be unwise to attempt to publish one or more of the individual shorter pieces or will that adversely affect my chances of finding a publisher for the novel? I should add that the stories would be published months apart and the novel probably won't materialize for 9-12 months.

Liana's picture
Liana from Romania and Texas is reading Naked Lunch November 4, 2012 - 12:00pm

It's my understanding that it's actually a good thing when  you try to market your book, to be able to say parts of it were previously published. It shows that the book has already sparked some publishers' interest. Many writers try to publish excerpts as stand-alone stories, or as in your case, earlier incarnations of parts of the book. So definitely! (at least, that's what I think)

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like November 4, 2012 - 12:07pm

I think it is (or at least used to be) common-enough practice in scifi/fantasy to turn short works into novels. Can't say whether it's different for 'literary' or general fiction.

Bradley Sands's picture
Bradley Sands from Boston is reading Greil Marcus's The History of Rock 'N' Roll in Ten Songs November 4, 2012 - 2:47pm

It's fine.

Courtney's picture
Courtney from the Midwest is reading Monkey: A Journey to the West and a thousand college textbooks November 4, 2012 - 10:04pm

If you look at the Copyrights page of any Stephen King novel, there are usually copious references to chapters/scenes that say "originally published in..." That's what made me realize how frequently short stories are just excerpts of author's longer thoughts.

RenegadeImage's picture
RenegadeImage from Berkeley, CA is reading The Gods of Tango November 5, 2012 - 7:48am

Thanks, all, for your insights. My inclination is to press ahead with trying to get the first story published and worry about the rest as it comes. My lingering concern is that the market, as usual, varies widely and I may have a more difficult time finding a publisher for the longer work than a well-known author like Stephen King.

OtisTheBulldog's picture
OtisTheBulldog from Somerville, MA is reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz November 5, 2012 - 7:55am

My Nano novel is based on the short story I submitted for the Scare Us challenge here at LitReactor. Basically it's allowing me to really work on the themes I wanted to explore as well as develop the characters, expand the world, all that good stuff. 

I read the little tourist town that the MC works at with Denny in Choke was based off a short story.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies November 13, 2012 - 9:05am

I think you can go either way with this. There have been many instances of interlinking stories that are billed as a novel. I think Donald Ray Pollock's KNOCKEMSTIFF was one, and Jennifer Egan's WELCOME TO THE GOON SQUAD was almost entirely published as short stories first.

Covewriter's picture
Covewriter from Nashville, Tennessee is reading & Sons November 13, 2012 - 8:12pm

Sometimes a great story published in the right place will get an editors attention, then you can go from there.

Covewriter's picture
Covewriter from Nashville, Tennessee is reading & Sons November 13, 2012 - 8:14pm

Richard, I loved both those books you mentioned. Did you read Pollocks novel? 

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies November 14, 2012 - 7:26am

yeah, read both of Pollock's books. he's a great guy, has blurbed some of my work. i liked KNOCKEMSTIFF more than TDATT.

Covewriter's picture
Covewriter from Nashville, Tennessee is reading & Sons November 14, 2012 - 9:00pm

That is awesome. I don't know how to describe  him. I was enthralled by his characters in the novel,  but if I was writing themi would have thought no, no one would believe this. But he pulls it off. 

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer November 15, 2012 - 12:00pm

Farenheit 451 was based on the short story "The Pedestrian." That's another one. It's very common.

bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. November 15, 2012 - 1:39pm

Pollock definitly wrote things I thought were impossible to write.  You're right - I would have thought that nobody would believe it.  But he made it work.  He grounds the stories so well in a strange land that it makes anything possible (and he backs up that grounding with dialogue, setting, and characters that are all consistant to that land, so it never seems like my willing suspension of disbelief is strained).