The Courage to Say Yes with Kate Elliott


The Book Smugglers invited Kate Elliott to contribute to their SFF in Conversation, a monthly feature in which they invite guests to talk about a variety of topics important to speculative fiction fans, authors, and readers.

I consider myself primarily a novelist. The long form–and especially the multi-volume form–appeals strongly to the way my mind builds story. So while I have written short fiction, I have written it sporadically, usually in response to direct requests for shorter pieces by editors. If you ask me to give you an example of my work, if you ask me “what of yours should I read?” I will reflexively suggest one of my novels.

It therefore came as a surprise to me when Jacob Weisman and Jill Roberts of Tachyon Publications asked if we could have lunch in June 2013 when I was passing through San Francisco to read and sign at Borderlands Bookstore in support of the publication of Cold Steel (the third volume of the Spiritwalker Trilogy).

Tachyon Publications is an excellent small press that specializes in science fiction and fantasy collections, anthologies, and novellas. He asked me if I would consider publishing a short fiction collection in their THE VERY BEST OF series (which has included collections by Charles de Lint, Tad Williams, and the magazine Fantasy & Science Fiction).

I listened. I nodded politely. I asked the sorts of professional and production questions a writer needs to ask to determine if the deal would be mutually productive and successful.

In fact, I was deeply flattered to be asked, and rather shocked anyone would think such a collection to be worthwhile. I have never received plaudits for my short fiction; many people do not know I write it.

The truth is: my first reaction was to self reject, to say “no.”

Read how Elliott got to “yes” in the rest of her fascinating essay at Book Smugglers.

For more on The Very Best of Kate Elliott, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover art by Julie Dillon.

Design by Elizabeth Story.