Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

04/23/2013

A Renaissance of Novella-Length Journalism and Fiction – Also Known As E-Shorts


Authors of Kindle Single memoirs, fiction and essays share in the profits for their works.

Within Amazon resides another offshoot, a store within a store you might say, called Kindle Singles (KS). Many have, no doubt, already taken advantage of or have heard about KS.

KS is a publishing niche devoted to works of 5000 to 30,000 words – commonly referred to as novellas. They can be edited, splashed with great cover art and otherwise prepared for publication and sale in record short time frames. KS is also proving to be a great entry point into the literary world and for authors to get published AND rake in a substantial 70% of the profits – and the profits have been great here because of great management that has resulted in outstanding credibility for KS along with a great attached purchasing audience and fanbase (this is key).

KS’s great management is provided by David Blum, who has worked for a range of publications, including The Wall Street Journal (where he met his wife, the television writer Terri Minsky, who created Disney’s “Lizzie McGuire”), Esquire, New York magazine and The New York Times Magazine.

Leslie Kaufman , New York Times, says:

 

Amazon Broadens Its Terrain

David Blum does not have a regular table at the Four Seasons or host celebrity parties at the top of the Standard Hotel.

He does not get a lot of fawning press. After he was fired by The Village Voice and left The New York Press, Gawker Media in 2009 pronounced him “a sad bumbling doctor for dying New York City weeklies.”

But four years is an eon in the digital realm, and in that time Mr. Blum has transformed himself from doctor of the dying to midwife of the up-and-coming. As such, he is a man whom authors want to court.

Mr. Blum is the editor of Amazon Kindle Singles, a Web service that is helping to promote a renaissance of novella-length journalism and fiction, known as e-shorts.

Amazon Kindle Singles is a hybrid. First, it is a store within the megastore of Amazon.com, offering a showcase of carefully selected original works of 5,000 to 30,000 words that come from an array of outside publishers as well as from in-house. Most sell for less than $2, and Mr. Blum is the final arbiter of what goes up for sale.

It is also a small, in-house publishing brand — analogous to a grocery store that makes an in-house brand of salsa to compete with other manufacturers. Mr. Blum comes up with his own ideas or cherry-picks pieces from the more than 1,000 unsolicited manuscripts he receives each month. He then edits them and helps pick cover art.

Amazon Singles usually pays nothing upfront to the author (there are rare exceptions) and keeps 30 percent of all sales. Yet it is an enticing deal for some authors, because Singles now delivers a reliable purchasing audience, giving them a chance to earn thousands for their work. (A quick calculation shows that the authors make an average of roughly $22,000, but the amount varies widely by piece.)

“Every day I become more obsessed with how brilliant the concept is,” Mr. Blum, 57, said over coffee at the Lamb’s Club in Manhattan, crediting the idea entirely to Amazon.

For him, the brilliance is that authors can now share in the profits instead of getting a flat fee. “The idea that writers would participate in the publishing model is just very bold,” he said.

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3 Comments »

  1. Hi, this appears to be a great way for many to be published. I do seem to get a number of novella-length manuscripts in a wide variety of genres. I’ll have to track this and see if I can help some of my folks…
    The only caveat I see is the potential for Mr. Blum’s biases to be a stopper for some manuscript.
    I’d like to see a bio on Mr. Blum that includes his worldview…
    Why do I ask? Although I do my best to edit and help writers in all genres, I am a Christian, conservative, Korea Vet (read old), former systems and field engineer, ex-motorcycle racer, and such. I also write at times and teach… That’s why I ask.
    Vern

    Comment by Vern Westgate — 04/24/2013 @ 3:28 pm | Reply

    • Vern – Thanks for your comment 🙂 I agree with “The only caveat I see is the potential for Mr. Blum’s biases to be a stopper for some manuscript.” — He does have the power in this case to choose what he thinks is good.

      I suggest you google his name and you will get all kind of background on him. But, no matter, I recommend you submit and see what happens at any rate. “Damn the martini’s and full speed ahead!

      John, another old warrior/world traveler

      Comment by gator1965 — 04/24/2013 @ 11:45 pm | Reply


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