Friday, November 16, 2012
Fictionwise Closing Its Digital Doors
I received word earlier tonight that Fictionwise will be permanently closing on December 4, 2012.
The site was a pioneer in e-publishing when it launched back in 2000. It began as a short story site, and only published short fiction which had been published "professionally" elsewhere. I did quite well with them back in the day, and still have 22 short stories (actually, short stories, novelettes, and novellas), all science fiction, on the site. Indeed, given that all of those stories were reprints, the money was especially sweet. But in many ways the very notion of "professionally" published showed the site was wedded to the past.
Barnes & Noble bought them out in 2009, and the handwriting has been on the wall - or the screen - since then. Fictionwise was no match on its own for Amazon, and Barnes & Noble apparently looked at them as a poor relation from the other side of the tracks.
One of the best things about Fictionwise for me, in the early days, was the way I could talk to readers about my stories. This was ahead even of Amazon and its forums. Before Fictionwise, I'd meet readers at science fiction conventions and book signings at Barnes & Noble, but you can only have a conversation with so many people at a given time in person. With Fictionwise, you could "meet" your readers just about any time.
It was an ideal place for short fiction. Novels always each have their own distinct identities. But short stories, especially when published in a magazine, are in part an appendage of the magazine's identity. When I put my stories first published in Analog up on Fictionwise, for the first time they had lives of their own. I'm still delighted as can be to get a story published in Analog or any magazine, but it's also nice when they can speak for themselves in the same way as my novels.
I'll miss Fictionwise. You can get to the site here, in case anyone wants a last look around.