I apologize for months of radio silence. Work decided to have its own crisis which I hope will subside in the next few weeks.
While Amazon seems to have been in publishing news this entire year irritating the traditional pub world, I think it’s worth noting their interest in “non-traditional” models like serials. I’m not sure what has become of Kindle Serials which I’ve discussed in previous posts. I haven’t seem much sign that it is currently growing nor many post-mortems on the program. Its current submissions page remains closed — closed for so long so you wonder if it’s considered retired . As I don’t see much publicly stated from the participants or Amazon themselves online, I point you instead to Jane Friedman’s post from earlier in the year trying to dissect the serial landscape.
While in a work-induced delirium, I caught an article very late last month on TechCrunch regarding Amazon WriteOn (beta). The headline implied it was a counterpoint to Wattpad which is everyone’s favorite Canadian startup (if one reads all the venture capital hype).
Like any sufficiently curious and sometimes informal reporter, I signed up to poke around. To be honest, I’ve enjoyed moderate benefit from Wattpad in terms of finding new readers (but no sales, alas) although having a work that doesn’t hit the ideal Wattpad demographic squarely in its face. (I like to say that I am on the Wattpad demographic dartboard but my work is too long, language somewhat complex, and not strict romance so I tend to graze the dartboard and then fall off it!)
I signed up for the beta and within a few days was provided an access code to log in using my existing Amazon account (currently linked to my Kindle Publishing account). As promised, it did appear to be what was advertised and has mostly writers (not readers as of yet) onboard. What is particularly nice is that the writing quality (as a baseline) is far higher than Wattpad . My guess is that part of this is because the beta is tied to existing Amazon accounts which, I suppose, need bank/credit card info attached so skews the age of participation higher. (That said, who knows?) And I guess that the earlier invitees were all authors or people who hung out in writing forums in Kindle perhaps… makes sense… and the pay off is that the baseline quality of work is much better than what’s currently out there on a lot of “serial sites.”
I found the previous requirements in the open submission phase for Kindle Serials to be too onerous. If you weren’t done with your book and able to produce on weekly/biweekly installments at a proscribed word count, it wasn’t for you. This looks far less restrictive and, in the beta, ideal as a writing community goes.
However, as it is a beta and everyone is starving for feedback, I haven’t yet jumped in. Tossing in a book and not engaging likely would be seen as obnoxious based on some of the forum conversations I was reading. Also, I clearly would need to bring my A-game once I do start posting my current serializing piece of fiction. The covers I see are really great and Kindle-worthy. What passes muster on Wattpad won’t work here. (And so I need to enter when I’m ready. Not now.)
Let’s hope this effort matures. I think we need more than one Wattpad out there to help shape the serial market . Who better than Amazon?
I hope to start in on reading works in a few weeks but do have an account. If you sign up and are wanting to connect, let me know! Would be great to have some other points of view from the writer community!