Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Short stories wanted for Android phone app

Sharon, who runs the Fiction Addiction writing group, sent me an email asking if I'd put the following on this blog:

Would you like to see your stories published on an Android phone app?
My husband and I are launching a new project soon – a FREE short story app called A Quick Read.
The good news is, we're not charging any writer to upload the stories on the app.
The bad news is, we cannot pay writers a fee, as we're starting the project as a hobby. However, if we mange to secure funding, we will be able to pay you.
I’ll be sending out lots of press releases to raise publicity.
The categories for fiction are: 
Twist in tale  
The word count we require is 500 -1,000 words.
No swearing, no excessive violence, and no erotica, please.
Also, we require a brief outline (one or two lines) about your story.
Go to to view our website. 
Terms and conditions for writers’ can be found under ‘Information’ on the drop down menu. 
It would be best if you sent us unpublished work. All writers retain copyright.  
You can also see how the app works on the website.
Please e-mail your stories to me, Sharon at:
Many thanks.
PS If you have a website or blog address, we can place this at the bottom of your story on the app. 

This sounds like an exciting project! Even though there's no pay at present, including your website or blog address might bring in more readers, so if you've got some spare stories of the right length it'll be worth sending them to Sharon and Keith.

Hmm, I have an Android phone. This app looks like a great thing to have if you find yourself stuck somewhere without a book or Kindle to read... I'm looking forward to its launch! 


Captain Black said...

I don't want to tread on any toes here, but…

Apart from a new form of vanity publishing, what's in it for the writers? Is there some vague possibility of income from advertising via the application?

Old Kitty said...

This looks very interesting! Thank you womagwriter! I haven't a clue about apps and smartphones and such like but I'm loving the concept and the thought of quick fiction reads on the go in one's phone!! Take care

Geraldine Ryan said...

Are you joking?

People need to be paid for work done. When did it become "good news" to be told I wasn't going to be charged for having my work published.

Womag, I'm sorry you put this on the forum. It disgusts me.

Geraldine Ryan said...

I'd like to share a brilliant blogpost by author, Jenn Ashworth, who, like me, is adamant that it's not all right to work for free:-

womagwriter said...

Captain Black - this is not vanity publishing as writers are not having to pay for publication.

Kitty - yes I like the concept too!

Geri - I'm sorry you're disgusted by this post. I wanted to support Sharon as she is a great member of the writing community, she has lots of good ideas and the energy to carry them out. She's worked hard to set up an online writing group which has been very successful. This latest enterprise seems to me like a good idea. On the website, she says that while they can't pay writers for now, one day that might change. The website also invites anyone wanting to use the app to advertise to get in touch. I'm guessing that if they are able to secure an income from advertising or funding of some sort, they will then start to pay writers.
It's a start-up. Everything has to start somewhere. This is a husband and wife team who've set up the website and are creating the app themselves - initially as a hobby as Sharon says on the website.
Personally I think if writers have some very short stories which can't be sold to a paying market(eg around 500 words, perhaps written for a flash fiction competition) then this is a good place to send them. Who knows how it'll take off in future? Might as well have the stories out there being read rather than languishing on your hard drive.

Having said all that - I do agree that writers should generally expect payment for their work. But on the other hand, I do like to support the initiatives of fellow writers.

womagwriter said...

Just had another email from Sharon, which I hope she doesn't mind me quoting from. She says:

Sorry we can't pay you, but if we do manage to secure funding, we will pay all our writers.
At the moment, we can't just jack in our jobs and hope for the best! If we get a lot of downloads, we've got a good start, and I will be sending loads and loads of press releases. The app will remain free throughout.
We don't thinks it's been done before in this way, with categories to choose from. We'll taking fiction similar to stuff in TABFF.

Geraldine Ryan said...

I am sure she is a lovely person - that's not under dispute, Womag.

"At the moment, we can't just jack in our jobs and hope for the best!" she says. However she seems to think that others can afford to work for nothing.

And if a story is not up to standard for TABFF so has been rejected by them, then why would you want to have it on public view?

I have a zero tolerance approach towards working for nowt, but I am sure some will send stuff in. Once more making it difficult for those of us trying to make a living from our writing.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Geraldine - why should you give up your hard work for free? (unless it's for charity)
Sharon says she's doing this for a hobby so can't pay. My hobby is collecting shoes - anyone fancy sending me some for free?
Hmm - thought not . . . .


Anonymous said...

I agree with Geraldine too. I think this sort of thing does make it harder for writers who have to earn a living from writing.

One of my hobbies is sewing, but I didn't expect the shop I bought my new sewing machine from to give it to me for free.


womagwriter said...

Keen gardeners sometimes give away plants they've cultivated. That doesn't upset garden centres. I make jam, and give pots of it away. Commercial jam-makers don't complain.
While I respect that many writers wouldn't dream of giving away their writing for free, I also respect that for others, writing is more like a hobby and they may be quite happy to give their work away. This does not detract from those who prefer to sell their work to paying markets. It's not like people are saying to the paying markets - hey, no need to pay me, I just do it for fun.

If you're not happy to send pieces to a non-paying market, then don't do it, no one's forcing you to. I don't believe that the existence of such markets makes it harder for those earning a living from writing. If there was legislation (say) that all writing had to be paid for, then the non-paying markets would simply fold. They wouldn't suddenly start paying - they don't pay because they can't afford to. And the paying markets wouldn't suddenly start paying more.

Co-exist, folks!

Laura Marcus said...

Geraldine wrote: "I have a zero tolerance approach towards working for nowt, but I am sure some will send stuff in. Once more making it difficult for those of us trying to make a living from our writing."

I entirely agree.

No one ever asks their landlord, utility company, supermarket, stationery supplier, mobile phone provider... you get the idea to provide services for free while "we get on our feet."

Shouldn't ask writers to work for nothing either.

Professional writers will not work for nothing and period. So the stuff they get won't be professional. It'll be amateurs playing at it.

If you want to be the writing equivalent of an am dram actor, fine, go ahead. But when I go to the theatre, it's to watch professionals who are being paid to act. Who do it as a job.

I use the same criteria when I buy newspapers, magazines, etc.

I very much doubt this will ever be monetarised.

womagwriter said...

There's a place for am dram, as well as for professional theatre.

I believe there's a place for small non-paying fiction markets as well.

On this blog I have always tried to post items of interest to a wide range of writers, not just the professionals.

Geraldine Ryan said...

Yes, I see that, womagwriter. I think what made my hackles rise was the unfortunate wording here:-

"The good news is, we're not charging any writer to upload the stories on the app."

I think it should have been left out altogether as it immediately makes me think it's some dreadful scam.

womagwriter said...

Ah - I see your point about that line, Geri.

Leila said...

If money is coming in, or is intended at any point in the future to come in, then money should go out - to everyone, including the writers. There is a differene between Lulu-ing ten copies of your novel for family Christmas presents, and a business project like this which is intended to at least pay for itself eventually. If it isn't intended to earn money, if it is staying 'a hobby' - why exactly should anyone contribute their time and talent for free to the furtherance of other people's hobbies?

Laura Marcus said...

What Leila said...

Emma Darwin said...

I know that we all want to have our work read, and it's frustrating to have stories in a drawer that don't seem able to sell themselves.

But a new plumber wouldn't expect her suppliers to let her have all the pipes and solder and tools free: she'd start with some capital or borrow it.

Yes, she might ask for easy terms from her suppliers. But saying Saying "Don't worry, I don't expect you to pay me for ordering pipes and solder and sinks from you; you'll be happy to know that I only want you to give them to me for free" wouldn't go down well at Armitage Shanks's Trade Counter, I think...

So someone starting as a publisher might well pay - say - a royalty per download (i.e. not up front), or not pay very much, and it's up to the writer whether we're willing to work on those terms.

But as Leila says, if money's coming in to the publisher, some of it really should be going on and out to the writer. Why should a publisher who isn't just building this app out of the goodness of her heart for friends, but as a business however new and small, assume that we will hand over our work for free, for them to benefit from?

Keith said...

Hi all,
Hope this comment helps clear up any seeds of misunderstanding sown by previous comments. My name is Keith, and I built the mobile phone app we are discussing. As mentioned on the first posting we stated that “we cannot pay writers a fee. However, if we mange to secure funding, we will be able to pay you”.
If you look at the “Terms & Conditions for writers” page of the web site you will see it states “If we manage to secure funding, we will pay writers a fee. This fee will be shared out amongst all the writers that have submitted published work, using our profit share scheme.”
It took me about 400 hours to build the app and web site but I have not receive any payment for producing the app. When you are passionate about your hobbies as I am, it’s not about making money, it’s about people seeing my work.
Don’t be scared of something new. Just like it started as a hobby and grew to what it is today.
I am married to a writer who helps other writers on Fiction Addiction to follow their dreams.
I created the phone app to help writers achieve their dreams.

Keith Boothroyd

Bernadette said...

Keith, I don't think people are 'scared' of this being a new thing. The professionals just don't want to work for free. Also, being published for nothing isn't every writer's dream.

If people want to send you their stories with the possibility of future payment based on some as-yet-to-be-determined profit share, then good luck to them and to you. At least you are being honest about what people will get!

But for those that don't that is also their right.And, I'm sorry, but it sounds a little patronising to suggest that is due to fear.

womagwriter said...

Thank you Keith, for coming here to explain things for us. I work in IT myself, and although I haven't the first idea of how to develop a phone app, I do appreciate the hours of work you must have put in. And as I've made clear in my posts, I wholly support what you've done here and wish you all the best.

Of course everyone has a different view on this. It does seem however, that only those with negative views have commented on this post, which is a shame. I do see the point of professional writers, but as I said before, no one is forcing or expecting them to contribute. They can just turn up their noses and walk away, as is their right.

As per my latest blog post, I firmly believe there's a place in the market for initiatives such as yours. You WILL get plenty of stories, I'm sure, and depending on how well your subsequent marketing goes, you'll continue to get stories and readers, and hopefully, eventually, funding or advertisers. I wish you the very best of luck with this.

I have never before closed a blog post to prevent further comments but am very tempted to do so with this one. I sincerely hope you've not been upset by this feedback. Keep at it, Keith and Sharon, and do keep in touch with how things are going.