Eric Rosenfield.com

About Amazon Shorts

Monday August 22nd 2005, 4:46 pm

Amazon.com has launched a new service selling short stories for about 50 cents a pop.

John Scalzi thinks: (via Boing Boing)
Whatever: Amazon Shorts

My feeling about Amazon Shorts is it’s best suited for writers who already have a significant and self-sustaining fan base. i.e., writers who are rather popular already. In the SF/F genre, I have no doubt whatsoever in my mind that if Neil Gaiman or Orson Scott Card or Connie Willis dropped something into Amazon Shorts, they would be likely to make a fair chunk of cash in short order. Some other writer whose name recognition is slightly less luminous — a comfortably mid-list writer, in other words — might not see a difference one way or another. But strictly in terms of the money, most writers (and I would include myself here) would probably be better off going to the venue where the money is offered up front, unless said author is ready, willing and able to flog the Amazon Short to all and sundry on a regular basis. If you’re not an inveterate self-promoter, this probably won’t be your bag.

But Nick Mamatas thinks Amazon Shorts is a bad, bad idea:
nihilistic_kid: Amazon shorts prediction

Amazon isn’t ready for every PublishAmerica/XLibris/iUniverse/Authors House kook in the world to send them a short story — one likely “set in the same universe!!!” as their shitty-ass novel* — or manifesto on how We The People can Reclaim the Constitution from the liberal/Freemasonic elite. The interview thing became unwieldy and the “author speaks” page was rife with impersonation and various low-stakes backbiting. The same vanity-published stooges who think that their book’s availability on amazon means that they are engaging in a “joint venture” with the company will soon start howling about various betrayals and outrages the moment it becomes clear that amazon isn’t running a truly-ooly open market where you just get to sell what you like.

And these people aren’t like normal writers, for whom rejection is always a friend and acceptance a stranger. If they were, they wouldn’t have been scammed in the first place. These people are nuts, and they have nothing better to do than to bombard tech support with ridiculous demands and breathless testimonials to their own talents all day, every day, forever. And amazon has a much larger profile than your average fiction market, so every psychotic with a keyboard in the wooooorld will be on their collective asses. Vassar and Smith just don’t graduate enough people per year to fill the number of “editorial assistant” positions that amazon’s tsunami-swamped inboxes will need to handle the flow of mental patient jibber-jabber. The drawbridge will go up far sooner than later.

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