October 2, 2014

Literary startup Pigeonhole will offer a serial publishing model

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The Pigeonhole offers an serialized experience that they hope will reflect "the future of reading."

The Pigeonhole offers an serialized experience that they hope will reflect “the future of reading.”

A new literary startup called The Pigeonhole is hoping to build a following of readers who are interested in a shared reading experience delivered in serial installments. With a planned launch for October 6th, the founders—some of whom have experience at traditional publishers like Random House and Bloomsbury in the UK—are hoping to offer what they see as a need for a new publishing model for the “future of reading.” Pigeonhole employee Erica Jarnes shared her frustration with legacy publishing in a write-up about Pigeonhole in The Bookseller:

The reason I left publishing two years ago was that I was a bit tired of it—the way we as publishers were communicating with readers seemed patronising to me, and we’d been doing things in a similar way for so long. It’s been so freeing to be able to say, “We’re trying something new; we won’t know what works immediately.”
The plan is that Pigeonhole will consider submissions from writers who are a good match for the platform — particularly those who are interested in the serial subscription format and who are very engaged on social media. According to The Bookseller, writers will receive a “50/50 spilt of revenue.” After ten weeks of releasing the book or writing in installments, or “staves,” the segments will be collected and made available as an ebook through Amazon and the Pigeonhold app.
Some of the first projects planned after the launch include a crime thriller called Deadlines by Chris Brosnahan, an erotic short story series, and a collected called Wisdom Hackers edited by Alexa Clay (who is also the co-author of The Misfit Economy, forthcoming from Simon & Schuster in the US). The Widsom Hackers are a group of “emerging thinkers on the edge of their disciplines, exploring topics that were somehow unresolved in their lives and work,” and Clay said she thinks the serialization is well suited to this type of writing.

We wanted to deliver this content to people gently. The dispatches aren’t end-in-themselves, but rather catalysts for further conversation. In releasing them weekly we hoped it would give people time to digest and mull over the topics. We hope people will stage dinner parties and salons around some of the questions our Seekers are exploring… So often, we get the output and finished product of thought—rather than the delicious angst and vulnerability that goes into someone’s thinking process.

Depending on the interest in the installments any any funds collected through fees for those serial offerings during the ten week launch phase (for example, a Wisdom Hackers essay costs 50 pence per “stave”), the writing may become a physical book. For the physical version of the Wisdom Hackers project, they are hoping to “work with Monks in Copenhagen who publish beautiful handmade books.”

Claire Kelley is a the former Director of Library and Academic Marketing.

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