51 thoughts on “Short Stories and Poems

  1. My thoughts on this are as follows, Mick: Poetry only appeals to a limited audience and is quite a hard sell. My poetry book gets a lot of attention but not that many sales compared to my other books. The short story anthologies I have participated in, on the other hand, do really well on sales. I have read a number of books that are a mixture. Some authors who have done this and whose books I have read are Wendy Anne Darling, Colleen Chesebro and Annika Perry. Their mixed books have done quite well. So, in summary, I would do the mixture as the short stories attract a greater range of readers than just the poetry.

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    1. That’s an interesting take on it, Robbie, thanks. You don’t think the poems might detract from the short stories for some people? I should add that page-wise it would be about 150 pages short stories to 50 pages poetry.

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  2. I agree with Hariod. Also, in organization of the book, you may want to pair the short stories with the poems on similar themes or sentiment. If you group all short stories together and all poems together, they feel like two separate volumes.

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  3. Mick, how exciting that you are releasing another book soon. I’ve read through the comments and seen the fabulous advice given. Robbie generously mentions my book amongst other wonderful ones that mix short stories and poetry. She has a great point that poetry book tends to sell less well and I think people are more ready to read it if they ‘fall’ upon it in a book combining both. Miriam suggestion of looking at how to combine the two is key, looking at themes etc. I took a while on this with my book … trying to get the balance right for the book regarding mood, themes, length. Making sure the transitions between stories and poems didn’t jar. Lots to think about here! Good luck with your project, Mick!

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      1. Mick, a good question. All I know is that the combination seemed popular, a couple
        of the poems getting a special mention in reviews. I doubt it affected the sales but still think poetry books alone alas do not sell as well as they should do. Hope this helps and can’t wait to see which way you decide to go.😀

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  4. “I abstain, courteously” (That was the NY delegate’s line in the musical “1776”). I’m not a writer or poet, but offering an opinion as a reader, and I hope, a blogging chum – a mixture seems less intimidating than a volume of poetry.

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  5. As a person who used to write poetry and who also published and edited a poetry magazine years ago, I’d say have them mixed in the one book: poetry often finds a new readership when mixed in with prose. Then later on, if you want to publish a second, but separate, poetry book, you’ll have an existing readership that will draw others in. To start with, as others have said, poetry is incredibly difficult to sell. (My mag was distributed free by its contributors and myself, but it still had difficulties.)

    If you can, I’d suggest also adding some images of some sort.

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    1. Thanks, Val. I think this is pretty well where I am now. The stories and poems have a loose theme that unites them, and I’ve even put aside half a dozen images to go specifically with the poems. This seems to be the majority vote, as it were.

      But…’used to write poetry?’ You’ve stopped?


  6. Miriam’s thought was my first thought. If a story supports a poem or vice versa, you might want to group them together. That way you can continue the story in another form. I’m compiling a book of my poetry, so I eagerly read all of the comments you received. I will have to rethink my original plan. Thanks for asking the question.

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      1. Thanks, Pam. Yes, without seeing the material it would be hard to comment with any certainty. Both the stories and the poems share a general theme, though, so I’ve decided to go with the one volume.

        Now I just need to make it work!

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  7. A belated comment from me (Sorry, I’ve been extraordinarily busy lately) and I’m sure you pretty much know what your going to do by now, but – for what it’s worth – I think a mixture could work fine, if the themes of the short stories and those of the poems were mutually supportive. When I read your query I immediately envisaged a book arranged in a story, poem, story, poem etc type format, which could work well.

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    1. Thanks, Denise. Yes, I’ve pretty well decided to go with the mixture, although I think I’ll separate them into two sections. I did think of alternate story / poem / story, etc, but I think to carry that off each poem would need a strong link to the preceding story which is asking a bit much, as well as probably appearing rather too contrived.

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