Monday, May 03, 2021

Querying a novel and short stories

 I'm wondering how agents feel about publishing querying a short story collection and a novel at the same time. Should I only query for the novel, and then later mention the collection? 

They go in the same query.

Weird, I know.

You query the novel, and you also say you have a collection. It's a separate paragraph, after comps, before pub credits and bio.

And pub credits are crucial.

A collection should (must!) have stories that have been published already. Probably at least 50% of them, and 50% is new material.  That percentage isn't carved in stone.

Here's how this looks.

Felix Buttonweezer has had it.

Zoom meetings during the pandemic forced him to see his living room with fresh eyes. Stuffed cats were everywhere. Shelves, couches, on top of the flat screen.

Felix has decided the plushies must go.

He's laid in a supply of plastic bags, zip ties and tongs.

He's ready.

The problem is, the plushies aren't quite ready to leave.

Felix Unstuffed (890,000 words) is noir crime fiction.

It will appeal to the readers of John Davis Frain's blog comments, and Steve Forti's flash fiction entries.

I also have a collection of 21 Felix Buttonweezer short stories. "Felix vs the Ottomon" was published in the Carkoon Gazette; "Felix vs the Fold Out Couch" was published in the SudsYerDuds Journal; and "Felix vs Betty: the later years" was pubished in the AARP Journal of Marital Discord.

I am this, that and the other.

Any questions?


Timothy Lowe said...

Hi Janet,

890,000 words is a lot, but I’m willing to give it a look.

Please send the full ms, formatted in Comic Sans 8 point font, with a headshot and a box of cookies (no peanut butter, please).

Secret Agent Man

Steve Forti said...

Where can I get my hands on an issue of AARP Journal of Marital Discord?

Luralee said...

I’m just standing here giggling.

Luralee said...

I’m just standing here giggling.

Luralee said...

Ok not giggling now I’m scratching my head. Why did this double post and why can’t I make it go away? Sorry.

Katja said...

I'm giggling, too, Luralee.

(And wondering how many times my giggles will post once I click publish, whoops.)

E.M. Goldsmith said...

What a fabulous query! Glad to see Felix is still monkeying about. Hi everyone. And belated congratulations for having one of the best blogs in the universe once more.

John Davis Frain said...

I've spoken to both fans of Frain's blog comments and they anxiously await publication of Felix Unstuffed.

Also, this feels quite odd. I would have never guessed proper etiquette was to query a short story collection with a novel. I'm struggling to find the logic. I thought you were going to say one of the short stories would jump-start the novel, but nope.

It's a good thing I never tire of being wrong.

John Davis Frain said...

Aside to Steve Forti, you can help yourself to my wife's copy of the AARP Journal of Marital Discord. She claims they're years behind her life experience, whatever that might mean.

Beth Carpenter said...

I'm trying to think why having already published half the short stories is a good thing. Because the exposure has widened the author's general appeal? But you'd still want enough new stories to make a fan who has read some of them want to buy the collection, I suppose.


Kitty said...

Where is the market for stories these days?

Melanie Sue Bowles said...


BrianH said...

Is it a bad sign that I kind of want to read Felix Unstuffed?

Craig F said...

It is a stand alone novel with series potential. The title for book two will be Felix Buttonweezer: The Missing Pieces with a refrain similar to John Prine's Jesus: the Missing Years

AJ Blythe said...

By the time I got to the bottom of the comments I'd forgotten what the original point of the post was. Great to see everyone hasn't lost their touch :)

Julie Weathers said...

"Felix Unstuffed (890,000 words) is noir crime fiction."

Thanks, Miss Janet. I feel better about querying Rain Crow now.

Also, I needed the laugh.