Funded! This project was successfully funded on October 9, 2012.

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Imagine the novel, updated. We're a new literary studio creating compelling, serialized stories for the future of reading.

THE PROBLEM

This is a turbulent time for fiction. The major publishing houses are continually cutting the size of their fiction lists and most magazines have stopped publishing fiction altogether. Digital publishing offers an enticing new venue for lovers of fiction, but for the most part it cannot yet provide writers with the support that allows great writing to flourish. This isn’t just a problem for writers. It’s a problem for anyone who likes to read.

Plympton is a new literary studio that combines the flexibility of digital publishing with the support necessary to foster bold, innovative writing. We want to provide a home for emerging and established writers looking to stretch the limits of traditional genres, and we want to provide readers with compulsively entertaining stories that spark lively conversation.

HOW IT WORKS

Plympton serials are long works of fiction made up of shorter works—we call them “installments”—that arrive as updates on your digital reading device. Each installment reveals a little more about the characters you’ve come to know, deepening your relationship with them and advancing the story in a way that leaves you both satisfied and wanting more. Installments range between 7,000 and 25,000 words and are released biweekly or monthly. Each of our current volumes is made up of between four and six installments.

We like to use the analogy to a TV show: think of an installment as an episode, and a volume as a season. If a series gains enough momentum, it may continue for multiple ‘seasons’, each one fitting intricately with the others to form a larger whole.

WHY SERIALS? 

Serialized fiction was once a vital part of our culture. People waited for and discussed the most recent installment of Madame Bovary, Sherlock Holmes, or Heart of Darkness the way we wait for new episodes of our favorite AMC and HBO shows. The improved speed and economics of digital platforms makes it possible for us to revive and reinvent this venerable and remarkably fun form for the 21st century. By delivering new installments directly to our readers’ Kindles, iPads, and Nooks, we can create works of literature that are living and dynamic.

Serialized fiction also makes good financial sense in a literary world transformed by digital readers. Serials give readers a steady stream of great fiction at a price point that’s competitive with other digital content. And it gives writers the chance to get paid well for writing well, while building a dedicated fan base for their work.

WHO WE ARE

We are a community of writers, readers, and general fans of good storytelling.

Jennifer 8. Lee is an author, journalist, and leader in digital media. She was one of the youngest full reporters ever hired at The New York Times and is also the author of the New York Times-bestselling book, “The Fortune Cookie Chronicles” (Twelve, 2008).

Yael Goldstein Love is a novelist and editor. When her first novel, “The Passion of Tasha Darsky,” was published by Doubleday in 2007, The New York Times Book Review wrote that her work showed "signs of brooding genius.” She has taught fiction writing at Grub Street, Boston’s center for creative writing, and served as publishing assistant at The Paris Review.

The newest member of our founding team is Justin Keenan who served as managing editor at the Harvard Book Review and as designer editor for The Gamut. He won the LeBaron Russell Briggs Prize for his senior thesis, a collection of short stories advised by Amy Hempel.

Our board members and advisors include Matthew W. Granade, recent co-head of research for Bridgewater Associates; Franklin Leonard, Overbrook Entertainment’s vice president of creative affairs and the creator of the famous Black List, a ranking of Hollywood’s best unproduced screenplays; and Baratunde Thurston, politically-active, technology-loving comedian and author of the New York Times bestseller “How To Be Black.”

But the most important members of our community are our writers and our readers. Among those developing series with Plympton are novelists, screenwriters, television writers, and even poets. Some are just starting out in their careers. Others have multiple books and awards to their names.

And then there’s you.

JOIN IN

We believe that great literature is a dialogue between writers and readers. One of our goals at Plympton is to create a publishing model that encourages readers to actively engage with the creative process. Serialized fiction works best when it’s supported by a vocal community of fiction lovers. We want you to become part of our community. You can do that by ‘liking’ us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, telling your friends about us, and, of course, by reading our first three serials on your Kindle or any device running a Kindle app, and joining the spirited conversations on their Facebook pages.

But we’d love it if you also joined our community by supporting us—anything from the price of a crisp, new pad of paper to the price of a crate of iPads. In order to get the word out about our three completed serials, continue work on those serials under development, and commission great new serials, we need your help. It costs thousands of dollars to produce each serial, from commissioning authors to in-depth editing, research, copy editing, creating cover art and more. In fact, we can’t revolutionize digital literature without you.

In return for your support, we’ll offer you the chance to become involved with the creation of new serials. You’ll have the opportunity to name a character in an upcoming serial, to have a say in future installments of a serial you’ve come to love, and even to sponsor the development of a serial on a subject you’re passionate about.

So immerse, converse, and consider support. The story continues with you.

Questions? Email us at yaelandjenny@plympton.com.

UPDATE

We've been getting some great press since launch. Some of our favorites:

New York Observer's BetaBeat

The Boston Globe

Wired

FastCompany

TechCrunch

GalleyCat

Boing Boing

CREDITS

Video created and animated by Emily Carmichael. Music by Dan Romer. Paint-splatter images are from the painting “Splatter 2” by Morgan DiPietro.

FAQ

  • We’re always looking for smart, compelling writing. We’re especially keen on writing that demonstrates a new take on traditional genres or that engages with social issues.

    Be aware, though, that writing a Plympton series differs in important ways from writing a novel or a series of linked short stories. If you're interested in learning more, go here: http://www.plympton.com/submit. You'll find guidelines and detailed instructions for submitting to us using the program Submittable.

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  • Short answer: all kinds. If it's got great prose, fascinating characters, and compelling storytelling, it's our kind of thing.

    Longer answer: we prefer writing that demonstrates an original take on traditional genres to straight genre fiction (with exceptions). We especially love literary fiction, as long as there's a compelling story right at the surface.

    The three serials in our launch include a Young Adult paranormal adventure tale, a straight-up mystery with romantic elements, and what we're calling a Mom Thriller (in this case, a thriller about a stay-at-home mom secretly climbing the ranks of an international whistleblowing outfit.) You can check them out here: http://plympton.com/about/our-series/.

    Books we have in development include a literary coming of age/political thriller (we like to mix genres), a book about a Multi-Player Online Role Playing Game game that's threatening human civilization, a seriously moving literary look at a divisive social issue, and a straight-up sci fi series.

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  • Yes! We think it's unfortunate that writers have been forced to accept the fact that "exposure" is now considered a reasonable form of payment for their work. Writing is hard. Writers should get paid for doing it. We give modest advances and a very generous royalty split with our authors. If their books sell well, they'll make good money off them.

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  • At the $500 reward level, you’re carrying on the tradition set by magazines like Blackwoods, Lippincott, Harper’s, and The Atlantic -- a tradition of supporting great serialized fiction. You will have the opportunity to work with our editors and writers while developing a series that addresses a topic dear to you. There are a number of different “grants” at this level:

    The Appian Way -- support and help develop a medical series. The Dewolfe -- support and help develop a series on romance in the digital age. The Holyoke -- support and help develop a political series set in Washington, DC. The Concord -- support and help develop a gay series. The Linnaean -- support and help develop a series set in Silicon Valley. The Bow -- support and help develop a series on multi-player role playing games. The Arrow -- support and help develop a sci-fi series. The Brattle -- support and help develop a series based on a topic you help determine with the editors.

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  • Pledge $1 or more
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    11 backers

    *New* FIRST LOOKS. Become a part of our brand-new First Looks program. You'll receive either a pdf or a .mobi/.epub file (your choice) of selected episode 1s. Become a part of Plympton from the ground up!

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    112 backers

    THE STARTER PACK. For the price of a movie ticket, you’ll receive Plympton’s first three serials, with new installments downloading directly to your e-reader. That’s three novels’ worth of reading enjoyment. We’ll also add your name to the list of supporters on our website. (Note: to read our serials you’ll either need a Kindle or the free Kindle app for your computer, iPad, or smartphone.)

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    BECOME PART OF PLYMPTON'S ADVISORY COMMITTEE. No kidding. For one year, you'll get to vote and offer feedback as we decide whether to commission new series, writers, and concepts. You’ll also receive Plympton’s first three serials in full, and your name will be added to our website. (Note: to read those serials you’ll either need a Kindle or the free Kindle app for your computer, iPad, or smartphone.)

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    A FULL YEAR OF FICTION. You'll join our editorial advisory committee, plus your name will appear in the acknowledgements section published at the front of every series for our first year + you'll get everything that Plympton produces in its first year. (Note, different series may be available in different formats)

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    CELEBRATE WITH PLYMPTON. You’ll get an invitation to our launch party in New York City and/or San Francisco as well as everything that Plympton produces in its first year as well as your name in the acknowledgements.

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    *NEW* BOSTON CELEBRATION with STEVEN PINKER and REBECCA NEWBERGER-GOLDSTEIN. This is just like the reward level above, except that the invitation is to our Boston party, which will be held at the lovely literary home of Steven Pinker and Rebecca Newberger Goldstein.

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    JOIN THE STORY. In addition to everything that Plympton produces in its first year, the acknowledgments, an invitation to our launch parties in New York City and/or San Francisco, you’ll also get to name a minor (non-speaking) character in a Plympton series.

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    6 backers Limited (1 left of 7)

    Have our Editorial Director Yael Goldstein Love provide a telephone critique of your fiction (6,000-word sample) + everything Plympton produces in its first year, your name in the acknowledgements, and two launch party invitations.

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    BECOME A PATRON. Support and help develop a series of your choosing in a genre of your choosing. You’ll join a mailing list as Plympton editors discuss concepts and commission writers. Plus everything we produce in the first year, your name in the acknowledgements, and launch party invitations. See the FAQ for more details on this reward.

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    THE GEORGE ELIOT. Become a member of Plympton's masthead for a year. You'll get a Plympton email address as part of the team and become part of the pitch selection process. Plus LIFETIME subscription to Plympton serials + your name in the acknowledgements of each series + invitations to the launch parties.

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    THE MARK TWAIN. Sponsor a three-month fellowship so a talented writer can have the freedom to develop and pitch series concepts, with your input if you want to offer it. The writer can be selected in collaboration by you and the editorial team, and you would be a producer on any series that comes of that fellowship. Plus a LIFETIME SUBSCRIPTION to what Plympton produces + acknowledgement in the back of each series + you get to be a cohost of a launch party.

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    THE CHARLES DICKENS. Become part of our inner advisory board, with an advanced look and discussion of all the series under consideration, and the ability to be a co-creator or producer for at least one series. It’s a one-year term, potentially renewable. Plus a LIFETIME SUBSCRIPTION to what Plympton produces + acknowledgement in each series + be a cohost of all our launch parties.

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