Alex Shvartsman is probably best known in the writing world as the editor of the Unidentified Funny Objects (or UFO) anthologies. Funded through Kickstarter, the anthologies have given writers of comedic sci-fi and fantasy a place to share their stories. But Shvartsman is not just an editor; he is a writer who has written a great many short stories that have been published across a variety of magazines, and now he is working to put together a collection of these works in his personal anthology Explaining Cthulu to Grandma and Other Stories.
Already being a Kickstarter veteran, I think that crowdfunding the project makes sense, but having interned at a writing agency, I can also tell you that agents and publishers are not particularly fond of short story anthologies. I read queries for several, and for many of them the work was quite good, but the only time the publishing world is really interested in that kind of work is when the author has already had some success as a novelist. The thinking is that people who enjoy the writer’s novels will be willing to spend money on their short story anthology, but that people aren’t interested in buying the short works of an author they don’t know as well.
As I’ve said many times before, I enjoy crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter because they give rise to projects that might not otherwise exist. Shvartsman is a fairly well known name in the SFF authorial community (well known enough that award winning SFF author Ken Liu will be writing the introduction to the anthology), so it is possible that a publisher might be interested in his short works, but I think funding the collection on his own ensures that it will be made without having to go through the hassle of querying a lot of agents to see if one bites.
The project has reached its funding goal, but as always there are stretch goals to unlock as well as goodies that will likely be either exclusive or reduced in price through the Kickstarter campaign. If you’re interested in looking into Shvartsman’s project or his work, you can check out his campaign’s page.
Bonus! You can check out Shvartsman speaking about his experience as an SFF editor on this panel of editors featured by Kickstarter: Sci-Fi & Fantasy Fiction Editors Speak.