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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sometimes a great story published in the right place will get an editors attention, then you can go from there.
Richard, I loved both those books you mentioned. Did you read Pollocks novel?
yeah, read both of Pollock's books. he's a great guy, has blurbed some of my work. i liked KNOCKEMSTIFF more than TDATT.
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.
Farenheit 451 was based on the short story "The Pedestrian." That's another one. It's very common.
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).