Byliner adds fiction to its offerings—and signs Margaret Atwood

When Byliner launched last spring, it was clear that it would do great things for narrative non-fiction, alongside other new sites like The Atavist.

In the intervening 10 months, the site has grown considerably and its “Byliner Originals” have consistently topped Amazon’s Kindle Singles bestseller list. Early this year it began selling short works of fiction. The first, a 43-page story called “Rules for Virgins,” came from best-selling author Amy Tan, whose last novel, Saving Fish from Drowning, was released in 2005.

The most recent and notable author to sign with the site is none other than Margaret Atwood, who is no stranger to the digital world (just ask her +300,000 Twitter followers). Starting last week, the site began selling Atwood’s 44-page ebook I’m Starved For You ($2.99); the site is carrying 11 pieces by Atwood in all, including other works of fiction and magazine articles. Atwood told the Star‘s Greg Quill, “I see it as an adventure in online publishing, a brave new world.” She also noted that Byliner’s “arrangements (with writers) are very generous. We split the net.”

Is that even-handedness with writers paying off for Byliner? Well, co-founder Mark Bryant has no complaints. When asked if the site will start taking on advertisers, he told the Star: “The response has taken us all by surprise. The business is already paying for itself. We’d like to keep things clean and simple for now.”

Whether it’s long-form journalism, short fiction or, hell, even extended horoscopes that Byliner’s selling, when a site is making real money for writers along with its owners and investors, that’s a story worth spreading.

Posted on March 14, 2012 at 9:00 am by editor · · Tagged with: , , , , , ,

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