Today I’ve started a little project I’m calling the eStory Experiment. Every Friday, I will post a short story that you can download free in ePUB, MOBI, and/or PDF format. The story will stay free for a week; after that, you can purchase the story either directly from the Cartwheel Media site for fifty cents or from Smashwords (and potentially other ebook retailers) for ninety-nine cents. (Hint: there’s a coupon code at the end of each story that you can use to get any subsequent story for even less!)
My hypothesis is that short stories are uniquely suited to the digital age. I contend that there’s a market for small, portable stories, reasonably priced, that people can read and enjoy in the minutes we carve out for ourselves from our over-busy days. There are details to work out still–how the stories are delivered, how they’re consumed, what price is reasonable–and that’s part of what this experiment is about.
For the first part of the experiment, I’ll be digging into my publishing history. I’ve had about two dozen stories published in small literary journals, both print and online; these are stories that have been selected and edited by smart and talented people, so there’s little risk to the reader that you’ll be spending money on unpolished, not-ready-for-prime-time work. If the experiment continues, I’ll probably introduce some stories written specifically for this project; I have plans for a series of thematically linked stories that is a perfect fit for this experiment.
This experiment will work best if it’s a two-way conversation between readers and writer. Let me know what you think: Are the stories priced correctly? Was it easy to get and read the story? Having tried one story, will you try others? You can send your feedback via the comments on this site, at the Cartwheel Media site, or via Twitter.
You can download the first story, “Pieces,” here: