Wick Communications

Ever read a wee-book?

In Books on March 9, 2012 at 9:27 am

I confess I had never heard of Kindle Singles or the concept of novella-sized e-books before this New York Times story. It’s a little ironic, I guess, that I still read about new digital publishing ideas in printed newspapers. Anyway, now I’m fully intrigued.

As I understand it, the idea is to fill the space between a magazine article that may be, say, 3,000 words, and a book that may be much longer. Amazon says most of their Singles are between 5,000 and 30,000 words.

I am most interested in the nonfiction possibilities. As NYT writer Dwight Garner observes, some biographies, disaster tales and other things tend to feel weighed down by filler by the time they nestle between hardcovers. These shorter e-books may be a perfect place to take a deep dive about, say, the rise of Rick Santorum or the New York Giants’ Super Bowl season. And they might be a cool way to highlight our original reporting on something big that happens in our hometowns.

I say that advisedly. Actually getting published as a Kindle Single seems something akin to getting your book published the old fashioned way: you make a pitch to Amazon and hope for the best. We may never actually get anything published that way. But the format is available to all of us if not that particular distribution channel. There are too many e-book publishers to name now and all of them allow a platform from which to tell your story. They can be linked to websites and blogs. We can all write “singles” though we may not be married to Kindle. …

I know that some people worry about the future of long-form narrative journalism. They say that our gizmos have robbed us of our ability to focus on anything longer than 140 characters. I think there is some truth to our media overload. Perhaps the real trick is finding a useful, trusted filter to help you wade through all that is available on the worldwide web. Maybe “singles” are one avenue for us. Do you have an idea that would be perfect for this format?

Clay

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