Monday, December 27, 2010

Authors trading short stories in ebook anthologies?

Option #1: Trade a short story in each other’s collections
In the comments section for another post, KevinMc suggested that indie authors could trade short stories to include as samples in each other’s anthologies.
For example, I could give my short story “Angel” from Dead Dwarves, Dirty Deeds, to another author to put in their short story anthology. In return, that author would give me a short story to put in my Dead Dwarves, Don’t Dance anthology.
In this way, we could cross-pollinate our audiences.
Option #2: New short story collection with multiple authors
A bunch of us indie authors each contribute a short story to a new anthology. The goal would be purely to expand our audiences. An indie ebook author sampler.
If we get a dozen or so contributors, we could have a nice book. Maybe we could arrange with Amazon to let us give it away for free. If not, we could charge $0.99.
I volunteer to do the formatting for Kindle (and hopefully Smashwords once I get the hang of it).
We can hammer out some basic requirements for length, editing, etc.
If anyone is interested in either of these options, or if you have suggestions, comment below.

UPDATES: The following authors have expressed interest in participating:
Kevin Mclaughlin
Tara Maya
Edward L. Cote
Manley Peterson
Tony Lavely (website?)
BC Woods
John Hartness
Kelly Gorman
Brian Drake

Total authors = 10 so far, 2 more to find


  1. Sounds like a great idea. I don't have any short stories completed so I guess I'll have to watch from the sidelines. I did tweet it for you though.


  2. Thanks, Sheila! I doubt that such a collection will happen soon, so if you have a story in the works and want to contribute, let me know.

  3. Definitely, Tara! Woot! You're the first participant!

  4. If you can get it up for free, I think it would be decent. A 12-way collaboration of a for-pay item would be hell to manage afterward, though! Imagine if it sold 10 copies a month...every month...for the next three decades. You'd be paying each author 30 cents a month. Paying them monthly? Annually? FOREVER? Yikes!

    Managing that sort of thing could get out of hand, fast!

    But consider - my SF novel is coming out in January, after some delays. So suppose one of you has a good novel that you want to advertise, and I offer to pop chapter one of that book (or a short story from your collection) at the end of my book as "bonus content". Costs me nothing. Costs you nothing. Gives me bonus content to advertise, and gives you marketing for your work. Two authors could exchange first chapters this way easily, and help cross promote. Or slip shorts into each others novels, and get similar value (with a blurb at the end of the short suggesting other works that author wrote, of course!). Lots of possibilities.

  5. Kevin, I agree with the payment management. It would definitely be best if we could get the collection on Amazon for free. Alternately, all the writers could agree to give 100% of the revenue to a literacy charity, or something similar.

    That's a good idea for novels. I'd be willing to participate in that with my next Noose novel.

  6. I have no short stories as of yet, but I can write some. I am probably going to do one this year for a magazine (they do both print and digital) called Bull Spec.

    I'm interested in the anthology idea, and I could possibly have something ready by the time it would be needed.

    I agree that the most simple, easy, and elegant solution to handling royalties from an anthology with 12 contributors would be to give them away.

    All we need is one charity we can all agree on and one person to handle the donations. If Amazon plays ball or if we can get the right info from said charity, we might not even have to manage it actively at all. We could have Amazon deposit the funds directly into the charity account. Can Amazon send funds to Pay Pal? If so, we're set, because most charities have Pay Pal accounts. Then it's all off our backs, no dozen 50 cent checks to worry about.

    I also agree that the most appropriate choice would be some sort of library organization or literary foundation or literacy advocate. I'm sure we can find something suitable.

    I've heard of authors giving away books on Amazon, but they sent me an email saying that they couldn't do that.

    I can think of a few other authors who might be interested, and I'll have to send them a link to this post.

  7. Ed, thanks for the interest and the suggestions. That's another author on the list!

  8. Derek, I am interested too. I think we would need to pick a theme for the short story book, don't you? Or could everyone just write whatever they want? (a romance, fantasy, sci-fi, vampire, humor, paranormal short story book would be hard to market, wouldn't it?)

    Also, I don't think Amazon will play ball with giving money to charity, etc for us. We would have to setup a separate account and send the money ourselves.

    I think if we get 12 quality stories (5,000 words each), that is 60,000+ words, then we should charge $2.99/book. We could pick someone to keep track of money, and if money amounts to something, then we can divvy it up, but otherwise let it sit in savings account or something.

    I'll admit, I'm typing this early in the morning and probably not thinking clearly. Just throwing some ideas out there.

  9. Woot! Welcome, Manley! Yeah, once we get enough authors, we'll have to figure out all the things you mention.

  10. Kevin, I'd be interested in your chapter trade offer. I could put your sample at the end of Dead Dwarves Don't Dance.

  11. Fantasy, SciFi, and Horror are lumped together often enough that we can probably start with that. Is anybody planning on writing anything outside of those genres? The whole paranormal romance thing is close enough I suppose.

    As for the funds, I am not willing to mess with that, so I guess it's not really my decision.

  12. Those sound like good starting genres. Let's hope to get at least those.

  13. I liked both your books so far, Derek, so I'd be willing to buy this anthology for up to $3 :)

  14. Hey, thanks Marcel! That's our first sale. And we haven't even written, edited, marketed, or advertised it yet. This is gonna be a best seller!!!

  15. Best bet for a charity anthology is probably to have one person handle the donation in some fairly visible, transparent manner. I don't know that Amazon is going to handle sending cash to a charity for us. I'd be game for that, because I think it'd be fun, and with a good cause worthwhile to do.

    I definitely like the chapter/short story swaps as "bonus material" for each others' books, too. I think cooperation between a few of us can help boost us all.

  16. Yeah, thanks, Marcel! I have a new Noose short story percolating in the back of my mind that will go into the collection.

  17. I'm with Manley lol.

    If this post works, Derek, I'm still interested in contributing. I have a short in mind, depending on the genre, length, rating and target audience. And if I could help in some other way, give me a shout.

  18. I have some Fantasy stories if you're interested.

    I'm BC Woods, my website is

  19. I'd be interested. I have a book coming out in March/April, and I have a couple of short stories in progress to support that (same characters). It would fit into fantasy, but fairly real life based (except for the witches!). I think donating to charity is a great idea.

  20. Deb, welcome! Can you provide a website?

  21. I'd certainly be willing to participate, but all my short stories are much shorter than what you're looking for. If you've got interest in really short stuff, shoot me an email.


    John Hartness

  22. John, I'll add you to the list. We don't have solid length requirements yet. Once we get 12 authors showing interest, we'll discuss our options and hammer out the details.

  23. We don't have anything solid yet and probably shouldn't until we get all the authors on board, but I'll recap and pitch some more ideas. We're looking at an anthology from 12 authors, one story each in the 4000 to 6000 word range. Genres would be SciFi, Fantasy, Horror and "Paranormal". We will have to decide whether to allow sample chapters or focus only on short stories.

    I thought that "Twelve Worlds" was a cool title, but that does sound a little like a BSG reference. A quick Google search reveals that it was used as a title for an old obscure roleplaying game and a concept in some theological studies of all things.

    Is anybody else on Book Blogs? We could pick up at least a couple authors there. I should also put a link to this discussion on my blog, just in case that gets any bites.

  24. I'd definitely be interested, although I'm extremely unknown. I don't know too much about anyone else, but hey! If you'll have me, I do have a story sampler ready.

    I'll blog about this, too, for the four people that will read it from my blog.

    (which is

  25. Thanks for the recap, Ed!
    Welcome, Kelly!

  26. Are you still looking for authors? I have a paranormal story that will be a nice fit.

  27. Hey, I like all the enthusiasm we have here. Derek, do you want to do another post and recap authors that are on board and share any other info? All these comments are on a blog post that is slowly falling off the front page.

    And to answer an earlier question, I don't have a website yet other than my Amazon author page:

  28. Terrific! How can I reach you privately to discuss the further details?

  29. Manley, I'll do another post on this topic to get it back near the front, as you suggest.

    Brian, my email is Once we have 12 authors, we'll start figuring out the details.

  30. Derek, I'm in some kind of mood because I just created my own website using blogger. Here is the link to my new sparse site:

  31. Congrats, Manley! You got your first follower right here. Bloated Goat sounds like a real fun kid's book.
    Everyone should go check it out Manley's blog.

  32. Hey, all, I'd like to post a refresher on this subject this weekend, but I'd like it to have additional info in it. Can you each send me the genre of the story you're going to contribute to the collection? Please send it to Thanks!