An E-Publishing Experiment: Short Fiction for Under a Buck

AtmospheresI am not even close to the first person to wonder: is it possible — let alone worthwhile — to sell short short stories piecemeal, directly to readers, without going through the intermediary of a magazine or publisher?

Answering the first part of that question comes (relatively) easily, as it happens. Pursuing the answer to the second, however, can be messier. More… fraught.

So, the experiment:

I’ve uploaded a short story to Amazon, where it will sell as an e-“book” for 99¢ (US) and the equivalent price in other currencies. If I could have, I’d have priced it even lower; for now, though, that represents the lowest price which Amazon even allows for an e-book. Still, I have no plans to lower the price later. Let’s just see how it goes.

What do you need to know about the story?

  • The cover appears at the top right of this post; the title, obviously, is “Atmospheres.”
  • Genre? Fiction, of course. Maybe literary fiction (although that does carry an unseemly whiff of self-congratulation, doesn’t it?). Some might consider it to be a fantasy. A, well… let’s say a light contemporary fantasy. Don’t expect any pixies or elves, however, nor dragons, trolls, wizards, and the rest of that lot.
  • Excerpt: here’s how it begins…

Nathan DeKuyper had often dreamed of flying — not in some engined or lighter-than-air contraption, but personally, on his own. Springing-into-the-air flying. Aerodynamically-stretched-out-extremities flying, like Superman, requiring no wings of his own nor flapping of arms. Propelled in three dimensions by mere intent, by wanting to be there instead of here. Gliding, climbing, barrel rolling, power diving, treetop skimming, with the wind threatening to strip his glasses from his head, his eyes tearing, his hearing aid clattering dangerously, his clothes snapping and ballooning about him. No one would see him, or if they saw him they’d look away, rub their eyes, look up again… but he’d be gone by then, already dismissed as an illusion, all but forgotten.

Of course he had dreamed of flying. Hadn’t everyone? But — well, of course — he’d never actually flown.

Until the day he did.

  • How short is it? (Regular readers of my prose here and elsewhere may especially need reassurance on this score.) Only about 7,000 words: easily consumed at a sitting, I think (hope).
  • As an e-book sold through Amazon, it’s in Kindle-readable format. However — this is important — you do not need a Kindle to read it. Once you purchase it, you should be able to read it with Amazon’s Kindle software, available both as a regular Web browser plug-in and as a smartphone/tablet app.
  • Oh, duh: where to get it. Of course. You can get it here.

As I said, let’s just see how it goes. I’ll mention the whole thing on Facebook and Twitter, maybe even more than once, but have no “promotional” plans beyond that — word-of-mouth will carry it, or it won’t. And yes, I’ll report back on the whole thing. Sometime, haha.

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