Curious Fictions helps readers find (and pay for) short stories – TechCrunch
Most of you, I guess, haven’t read a news for a long time. Well, there’s a Y Combinator-backed startup called Curious Fictions that is looking to change that – and turn those stories into a regular source of income for their writers.
The company was founded by Tanya Breshears, a designer who previously worked for Airbnb. (I’ve known Breshears for over a decade, since she and I attended Stanford at the same time.) She also writes short fiction films herself and she started Curious Fictions as a side project.
Breshears told me that she knows readers who are interested in fiction but “are not really familiar with short fiction”. There is no shortage of short fiction magazines, but “it’s hard to pay and harder to read on mobile.” At the same time, she was convinced that many readers would appreciate and pay for short stories if she made it easy. (The recent viral success of “Cat Person” seems to confirm this.)
So Curious Fictions is a clean, mobile-friendly site where readers can find stories. There is a weekly featured story chosen by Breshears, but you can also browse a wider selection based on writers and genres that interest you. Before you start, the site tells you how many words a story contains and how long it takes to read it.
Breshears said that even when the site was just an idea, it received an enthusiastic response from news writers.
“It’s really difficult,” she said. “The unreliable income makes it something that most people cannot pursue full time. I wanted to make it easier for people.
Curious Fictions is not necessarily intended to compete with existing publications. In fact, he only accepts stories that have already appeared elsewhere, in part because Breshears said she wanted the site to be “low risk to the author”, especially when she was just starting out.
But where most magazines pay authors once, up front, Curious Fictions can provide a recurring source of income. Readers can sign up to pay $ 5, $ 10, or $ 15 per month, and then the money is distributed to the authors of the stories they liked that month. They can also tip authors for individual stories.
Breshears pointed out that the service is still very early on – she started working on it in 2016, but she didn’t start onboarding for good until she joined the YC Accelerator a few months ago.
Even so, there are already over 100 authors on the platform. Breshears said they are currently sci-fi and fantasy oriented (not necessarily the biggest names in the field, but all writers who have been published professionally), as writers should be asked to create a profile and log in. posting stories, and those are the genres she had connections with.
Over time, however, Breshears said she hoped to attract writers from a wide range of genres. She also wants to experiment with formats beyond the news.
“There is a lot of unrealized potential now with mobile devices,” she said. “Not only with short stories, but other form factors: novels… fanfiction, serial stories. “