Toronto-based ECW Press is launching a new e-book imprint this fall in collaboration with Joyland, an online literary magazine. In October, Joyland eBooks will publish the first of three short fiction collections for 2010.
Emily Schultz, an author who has also been a freelance editor with ECW, co-founded Joyland with author Brian Joseph Davis two years ago. Together with editors in several major North American cities, they primarily publish short fiction, although there have also been a few scripts and excerpts from novels. Explaining the decision to focus the new imprint on short fiction, she said, “It’s no secret that short fiction collections are seen as a marketing problem. At the same time, the form is incredibly popular with writers and readers, as Joyland has discovered.”Until now, Joyland’s website has been a labor of love. “It isn’t for profit. It’s just to promote reading and to promote the writers.” But Schultz said, “We’ve had e-mails from literary agents who are interested in authors who have been on the site.”“Selling these books is the first thing we’ve done to monetize the site in any way,” said Davis. Over the last two years, Joyland has built up a community of authors and readers, he said, noting that there was 9,000 unique visitors in April reading an average of about three pages. “Working with ECW to start an e-book imprint seemed like the perfect way to give back and throw our hat in the ring of digital publishing,” he said.And it was that online community and Joyland’s strong web presence that encouraged ECW to get involved. ECW has been selling e-books through various channels since 2007. “Those who are drawn to surf the net or live on the net or just be involved are also people who end up being e-book readers,” said ECW co-publisher David Caron, noting that there are, of course, exceptions. “But for us, that seems to be where we are finding our customers in terms of ebooks.”Caron added that ECW’s long association with both Schultz and Davis also gave the company confidence in their curatorial and editorial skills.ECW plans to price the books at C$10, but it also plans to offer a subscription model, in which a consumer can receive all three books for the year for C$20. New Yorker Jim Hanas’ book Why They Cried will be out in October 2010, and Letters to Thomas Pynchon by Toronto author Chris Eaton will be released in November.The final collection for the year will be the winner of a manuscript contest. The selected author will receive a C$500 advance and his or her book will be e-published in spring 2011. The deadline for submissions is August 1, 2010, and the contest is open to all residents of Canada and the United States