… And here’s another one. In multiple parts. But first, the background. I will try to keep it short. (Yes, and I originally thought the Sun Sword was going to be two books…)
A graphic designer I know is between clients, and she is doing covers for my short stories. If I haven’t mentioned this yet, I intend to bring them all out in ebooks as singles, with the first six being the West stories related to the West novels. (I also intend to bring out the six as a single, unified collection, in both a print-on-demand large format paperback and an ebook. If there is enough demand for it, I will also gather the stories and offer them in print-on-demand collections as well, wordcount permitting.)
I asked for simple, minimal covers that were similar in look so that people who saw them would realize they were short stories, not new novels. I’ll be interested to hear what people think of them when they finally see them.
She’s just finished the first six covers (whereas I, of course, have not finished the formatting of the first story, although I only have the Smashwords .doc to go).
For a variety of reasons, most of the stories were originally published under the West by-line.
My husband and my Australian alpha reader both feel — moderately strongly — that the stories should be numbered; my long-suffering husband also feels that, with the exception of the first six, they should be presented in order of publication. So far so good. (I objected to the numbering initially because it implies — to me — a series, and the stories, with the exception of the two Augustine Painter shorts, are not connected. But…they will, in fact, be numbered, because my objections were mild, and as so often happens in marriage, one compromises if one’s partner’s feelings are stronger.)
The graphic designer has finished covers for stories 1 through 6; she’s ready to keep working. I have to give her the stories, with a length (short or novella), title, and … author name.
I’m not sure what to do about the author name.
(a) I originally thought I would separate them by tone: the high fantasy (or original world fantasy, i.e. the fantasy that doesn’t take place in our world) as Michelle West, and the contemporary fantasy as Michelle Sagara. But I’m not sure what I would do with the SF stories (or the few alternate histories).
(b) And then I thought I would just bring them all out as Michelle Sagara stories. © But the first six are definitively Michelle West stories. So maybe I should do them all as Michelle West, since that’s how they’re starting, and since they’ll be numbered.
(d) After this thought, I thought why don’t we just bring them out under the name they were originally published under? Because I have already been threatened with bodily harm for not deciding on one name for the sake of bibliographers (it was an affectionate threat. Mostly).
And then I thought I would maybe go revise Skirmish instead of angsting. (I’m almost finished that revision; there was one tricky part and it was only recently that I figured out how to handle it in a way that didn’t give me ulcers, but I really like that part now. The problem with revision, for me, is that frustration breeds contempt, and if the frustration continues, I lose all confidence in any of the words and start rewriting them in a way that doesn’t actually make them better.)
But…the graphic designer can’t do any of the covers without that information, and if I continue to wibble indecisively, she won’t have time to do them later.
Yes, I am finally getting to the question.
(a) attempt to group them using either West or Sagara, which is highly subjective
(b) keep them all under one name as Michelle Sagara
© keep them all under one name as Michelle West
(d) use the name under which they were originally published
(e) some other option which you will explain in the comments.
The one thing I don’t want to do is bring them all out as Michelle Sagara West.