Collecting Reprinted Stories

Reading & Writing

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.


8 comments on “Collecting Reprinted Stories”

  1. Helen Martin says:

    This will prove very popular, I’m sure. The usual suspects are probably off somewhere registering for the downloads.

  2. Peter Lee says:

    Hopefully “City Jitters 2” will be one of the reissues. It’s the only one of your books I don’t have (yes, I have “How To Impersonate Famous People” and “The Ultimate Party Book”) and it’s taunted me for years when it appears in the list at the start of your books.

  3. admin says:

    The stories from ‘City Jitters 2’ will indeed be available, but I’m not sure in what form, as there’s a significant overlap between that book and ‘The Bureau of Lost Souls’, and I don’t want to fool anyone into forking out twice!

  4. Wayne says:

    I am in the same place with my collection too, Just ‘City Jitters 2’ missing from the shelf….

  5. Dave says:

    Good idea. Your short story books are my personal favourites but I already have them all in paperback version.

  6. snowy says:

    Just thinking out loud, [and probably out of turn!]

    Turn CJ1 plus the unique parts of CJ2 into an anthology?
    With a preface between parts 1&2 linking/explaining the timeline between stories?

    [Shutting up now.]

  7. Helen Martin says:

    You see? Snowy always comes up with a workable solution.

  8. Jerry Boyajian says:

    Good idea for those who enjoy e-books. I’m one of those luddites who prefers the heft of a physical book in his hands. The only two of your collections I don’t have are More City Jitters and Old Devil Moon. I did read a library copy of the former, and have most of its contents — minus the Andrew Norris interstitial bits — in Bureau of Lost Souls (and the one not in BoLS in Sharper Knives).

    I suppose the obvious thing to do is to revise the Norris segments into another short story, as you did with the ones from the first City Jitters into “The Human Element” (in Uncut).

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