Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Loss Of The Short Story In The Current Genre Fiction Market

And of course, in light of my post about Short Story Month 2010, here's an article that laments the loss of the short story form in the current genre fiction market. An excerpt:

If there's one thing about the current publishing environment I lament more than any other, it's the loss, at least on a relative scale, of the short story. There was a time, the era of the pulps, when the short story was the primary home of genre fiction. Now, I don't want to go back that far--I'm a novelist, first and foremost, and a novel-reader, first and foremost--but I would like to go back to the short story being a well respected second.

I'm not sure exactly when it changed, but pinpointing a precise date really isn't necessary. What I do know is that the relative quantity of genre short fiction markets that pay at a pro level is a fraction of what it once was. And most of those that do exist aren't really interested in the classic (I'm sure they'd say "tired") forms of the genre, such as S&S. (I give major kudos to the few publications, like Black Gate, that are not only interested in but focused on those; but they're so few and far between that they're closed to submissions as often as not, and the competition to get in while they're open is brutal.)

The state of short fiction in anthology form is no better. It's no secret that those tend not to sell very well, and they're becoming ever less common as a result, despite the efforts of imprints like Tekno to keep them going.


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