I recently discovered an unusual writing market called Quarter Reads. The site offers up short fiction stories of less than 2000 words to read at the cost 25 cents. Writers can submit work to the site freely, and the stories are reviewed for content and general quality. It sounds like approval is relatively easy as long as you follow the guidelines and spell check. Writers receive $.22 from each sale in royalties.
Readers deposit $5 to gain access to stories, so you have 20 stories you can read after registration. If a reader likes a particular story, they have the opportunity to tip the author $.25, $.50, or $1, which deducts from their balance. All money from tips goes directly to the author, so it is possible to earn $1.22 from a single purchase. That’s not bad for a <2000 word story.
I was talking to a friend about this site, and his comments were disheartening.
What consumer is going to fork over a quarter for a random story of unknown quality?
I may be spoiled by my privileged lifestyle, but a quarter does not seem a terrible price to pay for a story. I would not even miss a quarter, and I suspect that’s true of most people willing to pay for fiction in any capacity. There is also a framework for rating stories, though I cannot seem to find that rating listed anywhere prior to purchasing the story. I pointed out that you get a brief preview.
That doesn’t seem like enough.
I really hope this is not a prevalent opinion. One of the nice things I see about the site is many authors seem to be using it for reprints of stories accepted into other markets. This provides value for consumers because they can selectively pay for content of a specific author they enjoy, without paying for a larger body of work.
I am considering trying out some pieces on the site to see how it works. What are your thoughts? Would you pay a quarter for a very short story?