Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Shore Leave 40 - Friday Part II

Note: This post was updated July 19, 2018 to correct a typo.

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Although there wasn't as many workgroups that dealt directly with writing this year, I did attend the Anthologies: Share the Love panel on Friday. There was a lot of joking going on as it was starting about how the panelists outnumbered the attendees. Eventually it did fill up until the number was almost equal, but interest seems to have faded from past conventions.

A few members of the anthology panel waiting for attendees to arrive.
A few members of the anthology panel
waiting for attendees to arrive.

The panelist for this group were Greg Cox ( Moderator ), Phil Giunta, Jenifer Rosenberg, Keith R. A. DeCandido, Christopher L. Bennett, Joshua Palmatier, and Richard C. White. The discussion points for this panels were:
  1. What attracts readers to short story collections? 
  2. Do you prefer themed collections, single author collections, or a Whitman’s Sampler of stories? 
  3. What draws authors to write for anthologies?
The discussion started with the moderator mentioning that conventional wisdom says that short story collections/anthologies don't sell. It was agreed that print versions don't sell as well as novel, and many larger publishing houses do not want to deal with them. It was mentioned that they do sell in electronic format, but are often not marketed ans anthologies or collections (subscriptions or similar formats are used). One reason anthologies don't sell is they do not have the power of a single author (with a strong reputation) to sell them. It was mentioned that small presses often do better with anthologies.

One problem with anthologies can be that several authors may write similar stories and that can make an anthology boring (or make the editors work harder). As some of the panelists had edited anthologies, there were a number of horror stories passed on about this scenario.

They asked writers who wish to write for anthologies to come up with a number of ideas and eliminate the most obvious and the most outlandish ideas to come up with a story that has the greatest chance for success.

When answering why anthologies (or collections) were popular, many said they could read a complete story each night or whenever they had a small amount of time. Others mentioned that if they didn't like a particular author or story they could skip past it and start a new story. Some just liked having a variety of stories on a theme. It was noted, however, many people prefer novels to short stories and will avoid anthologies, sometimes complaining to publishers that they did not understand that the book they purchased was an anthology. Some even demanded their money back (even though it was clearly marked on the cover as an anthology or collection).

Those who had edited anthologies said that the hardest part of putting together an anthology is picking the story order. The two best should go in the front and the back, but it isn't always easy to chose!

Finally, they asked why would someone write a short story or an anthology? Here were the answers provided:

  1. The challenge of the writing prompt or theme (Can I write a story for this?)
  2. To test an idea for a longer story
  3. To have a place for an idea that won't support a long story
  4. Nostalgia, even if it won't pay off economically
  5. To expand the breadth and the writer's ideas/works
  6. To challenge yourself as a writer (Can I write this idea as a short story?)

All in all, it was a good panel with many real-life experiences and tips passed on to the writers who did attend!

After the panel I made my way down to the Hunt Valley rooms to listen to the end of the Okudas talk about graphics. Michael and Denise Okuda did a lot of the graphics for Star Trek.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I attended the Meet the Pros party in the main hall. Lots of sci-fi authors gather to display and sell their books. Talked to Joshua Palmatier again - hoping to someday have a story in one of his anthologies.

Meet the pros - Shore Leave 40 - Friday night
Meet the Pros - authors selling their books

It was getting late, so we headed up to our rooms. On the way I glanced into the art show room and noticed that on of my pieces had sold. Of the three I brought, I figured "Hyacinths" would be a tough sell since it is hardly the right venue for flower art, but that's the one that went first. I hope whoever got it enjoys it!

You can see (watch the video!) more about my art (for sale) and the books I brought to give away HERE.

© 2018 K. R. Smith All rights reserved


  1. What a great post, detailing everyone's thoughts on anthologies and short stories. Looks like a great event to attend. Wish I had things like this locally. And congrats on the artwork. People know good art when they see it, obviously.

    1. Fortunately for me they like average to middling artwork, too! I do need more practice and time with the brushes to do more complex art, but I really appreciate everyone's support for my work.


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