Collecting Reprinted Stories
Readers always express surprise when they discover a writer has prolific output; it’s as if a good book should take a defined number of years to mature, but this is not the case at all. We each work at our own speed, according to what we can manage. Our normal lives still have to be run, jobs worked, research conducted, children cared for. Also, if you looked at your own career and added up everything you’d done in it, wouldn’t you be surprised by your own output?
A problem arises for the collector. How do you track down everything by one author? The answer is that you can’t always do it. Apart from the fact that short pieces, non-fiction and articles, stories and ephemera may not even be saved by the author, titles change, bits get rewritten and it’s hard to keep track of one’s own output.
When these works are collected, the problem compounds itself. How can you collect stories without duplication? If a tale appears in an anthology it might then be reaped for a ‘Best Of’ collection. The most famous authors have their works carefully gathered up and annotated (although even that doesn’t always work – I have many duplicated of works by Ray Bradbury). With the rest of us it’s hit and miss.
In an ideal world I’d collect specific editions, but this is now very hard to do. It’s easier when an author’s output is of a manageable size; Pamela Branch’s enchantingly daffy crime novels number only four (with a fifth missing) and have been republished with matching covers.
What I’m planning later this year is a complete release of all my short stories as e-editions, in the hope that those who do collect such stories will be able to identify what they want easily. They’ll look like the volumes below, and if there’s any significant demand for a particular book we’ll try to get it into paperback too.