Disappointing to hear of the closure of quarterreads.com – an original, intelligent and altruistic concept of bringing short stories by independent writers to the attention of discerning online readers, at a reasonable cost: a quarter (naturally) of a US dollar per read (equally naturally) of a short story, roughly 17p in the UK or 20 euro-cents if my maths is correct and exchange rates are the same as they were before the Easter break.
Hardly bank-breaking to the customer, you will agree. But like many innovations, online or off, it was a plan with risks attached, and in the end it didn’t come off.
Yes I was a contributor, though not a prolific one. Although I think short stories are a brilliant concept – the shorter the better – I don’t actually write that many. Ironically I’m working at the moment editing a hard copy anthology, but my own name will only appear on the foreword and one of the content chapters. The book’s community focus and desire to support talented but previously unpublished authors, however, owe a lot to the ethos of QuarterReads. Tell you more nearer to publication time.
I’m quite happy with what I managed to publish on the site. The stories had a bit more to do with my immediate environment, physical and psychological, than what I’ve done in longer form on Kindle/CreateSpace. I’m also happy with the works of other writers that I got to read there: not all the genres and writing styles coincided with my own repertoire, but so what? That certainly doesn’t mean they haven’t got an audience!
While writers can move on, and literary agents and traditional publishers can find other internet phenomena to turn their noses up at in favour of 800-page Booker Prize non-stories where nothing remotely interesting ever happens, it does seem such a waste: are the pointless selfies of your FB friends or the witterings of ITV2 celebs – or, more likely, their agents – really more demanding of your time than a good read? A good SHORT read, if you happen to have the attention span of a goldfish?
‘Tis true, the gentleman doth complain too much. But the fact is there’s so much to complain about.