Author Stephen King has announced he will be releasing a new digital-first title entitled A Face in the Crowd, for which he will once again partner with author Stewart O’Nan. The two worked together on a previous project about the Boston Red Sox.
This isn’t King’s first straight-to-digital release and he is certainly not the first author—indie or traditional—to take advantage of the immediacy that digital publishing brings to the industry. Platforms like Atavist, Now and Then Reader, and Amazon’s Kindle Singles are meeting the needs of the shorter form readers’ wishes with stand-alone digital works ranging between 5,000 and 30,000 words.
Aside from allowing short story and essay writers and readers an outlet for these works, the drastic cut in the amount of time to publication has made the format all the more popular, especially in terms of reading a new work by a favorite bestselling author or in discovering far more in-depth content on a time sensitive current event. The various digital short platforms have made it possible for established authors and debut writers alike to reach out to an audience in a more immediate way that doesn’t have the time or interest in reading a longer piece.
In the case of King, however, more and more authors and their fans are enjoying the option of sharing a new work in a much more reasonable time frame. As King is not abandoning his relationship with his publisher—Simon&Schuster will still be his US publisher for this story, and Hodder will release the audiobook version—this isn’t so much a case of turning his back on the traditional publishing industry as it is a recognition that there are far more efficient ways to get content into the hands of readers.