I just noticed that there is now a Kindle edition of the "Panverse One" anthology. It's almost worth (almost, mind you) installing Kindle for PC to buy one and take a look. Since I'm a Sony Reader user (though the Barnes & Noble nook could change that), I'll wait until Dario hooks up with Smashwords or someone like that to get it into Sony's e-book store. Since Fictionwise has limited their publishing partnerships to publishers with 25 titles or more, no doubt part of the B&N acquisition, I won't hold my breath for "Panverse One" showing up on Fictionwise, where I currently get most the material I read on my Sony.

My short story "For the Love of Jazz", which originally appeared in Cosmos Magazine, has been accepted over at AnthologyBuilder.com. Hurry over there and build your own anthology. Search for stories, choose the ones that sound interesting, click a few buttons, pay a few bucks, and voila!, you have yourself a real live trade paper anthology, of your own construction, sent to you in no time. Cool, eh?

If you're looking for downloadable eBook editions of The Heretic. The editions produced by the fine community at MobileRead are the only ones out there that were produced with my permission. My thanks go out to Jon Wolf for crafting and formatting them with his usual care and attention to detail.

If you're not familiar with MobileRead, you're probably not an eBook reader. The site is built around a community of readers. Not only are they among the most voracious devourers of the written word I've ever known, they also care about writers, books, and the legalities of digital publishing, so don't go there hoping to find unauthorized scans of recent releases (or discussions of how to get them).

MobileRead folks don't just stop at the dedicated eBook devices. They'll find ways to read on anything--cell phones, PDAs, and even one watch/PDA/mobile-computing-device combination. If you want news and updates about upcoming eBook reading devices, the digital publishing industry, new formats, new software, MobileRead is the place to go.

Okay--the commercial is over. Here are the links you came here for. Download THE HERETIC in:


The online edition, hosted at HappyHacker.org, has down for quite a while, and the e-mails have been pouring in. Problem solved! The online edition is now being hosted right here. As an extra added bonus, the viewing script has been tweaked for a better reading experience. And, as always, you can read it absolutely free.

Read the new online edition of THE HERETIC. The new layout maintains the page form better and copes well with adjusted font sizes. Overall, it should make for a much easier reading experience.

Meanwhile, we have new downloadable e-book versions in the works. First up will be an edition for the Sony Reader. If you haven't checked it out, you should. Check back to see when the new formats will be released.

Sponsored Online Publishing

by Jason K. Chapman

It's the Content, Stupid

Content is King. It's one of the oldest saws in the Web business. It also happens to be true.

No one hangs around a Web site just because the navigation looks cool or because the background GIF is nifty. People go to Web sites for the words, the pictures, the information, the content. They keep coming back because they expect to find more of whatever content attracted them in the first place. If a site doesn't deliver, the surfers won't return.

The Scramble for Content

The deals are flashing back and forth at eSpeed. Amazon.com wants to broaden their product line with "Health and Beauty" content, so they go to Drugstore.com. Microsoft wants computer news on MSN, so they go to C|NET, ZDNet and others. Everybody has everybody else's content popping up in frames and windows everywhere. The "strategic partnership" has become the most valued coin of the realm. All in the name of content.

What's next? What happens when all the megaportals and megamalls have the same content--when the only distinguishing factor is the logo at the top and the arrangement on the screen? What happens when they've run out of content-swapping deals and are back to needing content that's new, fresh, and unique?

Fiction as Content

Magazines, the Web site's closest relatives, have had the solution for years: Fiction. Targeted-interest magazines have been adding related pieces of fiction to their content for a long, long time. Short stories and serialized novels have been published in magazines like The New Yorker, Harper's, Playboy and many others.

These magazines use fiction to help fill their need for fresh, interesting content. The author gets paid for the story and gets the added visibility and respect that comes with appearing in a major magazine. Everyone wins.

Does Online Fiction Work? (more...)

Does Online Fiction Work?

Those who have been around the Internet writing communities will be quick to tell you that the answer is "No." They'll point to self-published poetry on a Geocities Web site that gets twenty page views a month. They'll mention fiction-centric sites like Mind's Eye that had trouble making the ad-sponsored concept profitable for short fiction. They'll bring up the difficulty of generating Web traffic for any new site.

Granted. Those models don't work. Draw those same examples back into the magazine analogy and you'll quickly see why. Online fiction needs established traffic and a flowing revenue stream to support it.

Content, Meet Content Provider

When HappyHacker.org arranged to publish THE HERETIC online, the site already had steady traffic, an established following, and an existing advertising revenue stream. The content of the novel and the content of the site are a good match. It seems only natural that a computer security-oriented Web site would be interested in publishing a cyber-thriller. A royalty arrangement based on the ad revenue generated from the novel's pages sealed the deal.

So far, the novel has racked up over 500,000 page views. The royalty model is hurt some by Web cache systems and by readers who choose to surf with images disabled (filtering out the ads), but overall it works. The rest of the Happy Hacker site has maintained it's traffic level, so the novel's readership represents a net gain of 15% to 20% in traffic.

The Future (more...)

The Future

It's not hard to imagine the concept of sponsored online fiction spreading to other kinds of Web sites. Travel-related sites might publish travel-related stories, space-related sites might sponsor science fiction novels, a site about automobiles might publish a novel like The Betsy or a site about dinosaurs might publish something like Jurassic Park.

There are a lot of excellent writers out there producing some really good fiction. It's been proven that surfers can and will read online fiction. Web sites need fresh and stimulating content. It won't be long before the Web industry puts it all together.