Figment, an online writing community for people in their teens and twenties, is celebrating its first anniversary by releasing its first print title, a paperback edition of Blake Nelson’s Dream School, a sequel to his 1994 YA novel Girl, after serializing the book on the online site. Priced at $9.99, Dream School was released on December 6 and is being published by Figment with distribution to the trade by PGW.
“When we started serializing Dream School at our launch, we got a tremendous response,” said Figment cofounder Jacob Lewis during a phone interview. “We discovered that there’s a huge and ever-growing audience for a sequel to Girl. It made a lot of sense to do a print release and its been a great stepping stone for Figment.” The book is also available as an e-book through Amazon’s Kindle and B&N’s Nook devices.
Figment is a free site that provides its members with a place to find and display new writing, receive feedback from like-minded teen readers and build an audience. The site is supported by advertising and also generates revenue by acting as marketing vehicle for YA publishers looking to preview and promote new fiction on a site designed for an audience of teen readers and aspiring authors. After a year Lewis said the site now has 90,000 registered users, reading and contributing to an online library of 200,000 stories. “We’re adding about 1,000 stories a day,” he said.
Lewis emphasized that the site is a writer’s community first and is focused on helping its members become better writers or to find writing they want to read. While Lewis acknowledge that agents and publishers visit the site to find new talent, he considers that secondary to Figment’s primary mission. “Agents and publishers are around the site a little bit, so that does happen,” Lewis said, “but we see it as a place for young authors to create a fanbase for themselves, a place they can test material and watch their audience grow.”
Lewis said Figment is open to releasing more more print titles, “with the right books, yes. In this case it made sense. We won’t do X number of titles a year but if there’s a chance to give stories or a complete book a life outside of the site then we’ll do it.”