Interview: Publishing a collection (part 2 of 3)

(Krista Ball continues her three-part interview with me on my experiences in publishing my two collections and working with small presses. Part 2 is below or you can also read it on Krista's blog. Part 1 is here.)

Question: Did you go the agent route? Why or why not.

For a collection? Nope. No need to and no advantage in doing so. Since I wasn't targeting the big NYC houses, an agent wouldn't have done me any good. I could research the small presses as well as they could, and could submit to those directly myself. Even if I had foolishly tried to target the big publishers, an agent wouldn't have been interested in trying to market a collection. They know collections don't sell, and a collection would get an incredibly small advance compared to a novel, even a first novel. So from an agent's point of view, that translates into a lot of work with no chance of success and for very little pay even if they could sell it. From my point of view, an agent was not going to do anything for me with a small press that I couldn't do better myself.

Question: What are the top 3 best things about a small press?

Well, for the two presses I worked with, I could list more than three. But most of my points would come down to retaining an involvement and degree of control over your book. With both collections, I had input on who should write the introduction, the stories to include, the order of their appearance, editing and copy-editing, promotion, etc..

Still more praise for IMPOSSIBILIA and "Bouquet of Flowers..."

And yet another great review for my first collection, Impossibilia, and its lead story "Bouquet of Flowers in a Vase, by Van Gogh," this one from Matt Cardin in the review magazine Dead Reckonings (No. 5, Spring 2009). Here's what he says:

On Impossibilia:
"Both thematically and stylistically, these stories sometimes recall the work of better known authors, including Harlan Ellison, Theodore Sturgeon, and Ray Bradbury. But Smith puts such a personal stamp on his stories, and invests them with such depth of feeling, that they transcend the dangers of … imitation and emerge as wholly original. … There is a certain exhilaration that comes from reading the book’s complex and powerfully emotional stories couched in that deft and smooth prose. It is easy to see why PS Publishing considers Smith an author who deserves more attention. … [Smith deserves] to be known to by a very wide audience indeed."

Impossibilia: More great reviews

I just came across a couple more great reviews for my Aurora-nominated collection Impossibilia:

"Rarely have I seen such an apt title to any book! Douglas Smith has given us three amazing stories that are so unusual and beautiful that no other name than Impossibilia could possibly describe this collection. Each tale was rapture and ecstasy, magical and mysterious, perfect and implausible. In short, I loved them all from the first word to the last. ... I don’t know what else to say without spoiling things for you so I won’t say anything else, except READ THIS BOOK!!!"

— Jim Dodge Jr., Mass Movement Magazine, May 2009

"Impossibilia is a treasure to be savoured, like gourmet chocolates and fine wine. It includes three superb stories…each beautifully written and wondrously imagined. It took me several days to get through this book. Not because it is in any way difficult to read--far from it and quite the opposite: the stories in this collection are so wonderful, I wanted to take time to digest and enjoy each and every one."

Rainbow Dragon Recommends, May 2009

You can read all the reviews for Impossibilia along with excerpts of all the stories via the links below:

Impossibilia: And yet another great review

What can I say? They really seem to like it. Writer Erik Buchanan adds his thoughts about my collection, Impossibilia in his blog. You can find links to all the reviews for Impossibilia and to excerpts from the stories here.

Impossibilia: "Highly, highly recommended"

Liviu Suciu at Fantasy Book Critic has added a review of Impossibilia, my 2009 Aurora-nominated short fiction collection. Liviu uses Impossibilia to kick off a new series of mini-reviews "in the spirit of showcasing less well known recent sff works that truly impressed me."

Here's what he had to say about the collection:

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