Today we are pleased to welcome a special guest – John Petitte is the CEO of DiscoverLit, a startup based in Durham, North Carolina.  John contacted Tuesday Serial to learn more about our community and as we learned more about his company, we thought that Tuesday Serial readers and contributors would want to learn more as well.  So, we invited John to do a guest post for us and here it is! Welcome, John!

A Home for Serial Fiction – by John Petitte of DiscoverLit

If you are reading this blog, I’m willing to bet that you already see the value of short-form episodic fiction in our Internet/mobile based society.  We read content that can be absorbed entirely in one sitting, (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, news, etc.) and serial fiction fits seamlessly within this paradigm.  As a result, communities, publishers, and authors focused on short-form fiction surface every day, and serial fiction is poised to take off, as it has many times throughout history.

Yet, Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and the iBookstore don’t support this type of work.  In fact, Smashwords bans serial fiction because it considers it incomplete.  Sure, methods of slipping serials into those systems exist.  An author could compose her serial as a blog and sell it on Amazon, but it’s sold alongside other blogs, not serials.  Another may compile his into a novel-like work and sell it in the major e-book stores, but that’s just a compilation, not a serial.  Why must writers and publishers of serial fiction be relegated to rough hacks like these?  Why is there no system designed to meet the needs of short-form content?

The answer:  there is no reason a system like this cannot exist, and DiscoverLit is going to create it.  Our goal is to reinvigorate the short-form fiction market, opening new opportunities for communities, publishers, and authors.  We are not a publisher, so creators (whether they are communities, publishers, or authors) maintain full ownership and control over work on DiscoverLit.  Through our system, content creators will be able to manage their work from a single hub.  For example, an author changes the price, edits the text, or makes a comment and it syncs across multiple distribution platforms, including the web, RSS, email, and mobile devices.  Serial literature distributed on a weekly basis also opens the door for the use of real time analytics, which we plan to provide.  This is only the beginning, and we believe we can make a difference in four distinct ways:

– Communities –

  • If you manage a community dedicated to short-form fiction, we want to help you and your authors sell their work so you can continue to focus on expanding and strengthening your community.

– Publishers –

  • If you are a publisher, we want to make distribution management easy so you can focus on fostering top notch content creation by your authors.

– Authors –

  • If you are an author, again we want to eliminate the burden of distribution management so you can focus on composing amazing work.

– Readers –

  • If you are a reader, we want to provide you with the most engaging experience in reading available.

As we build our platform, your feedback is invaluable to the development process.  The following are a few questions that help us understand the preferences that readers and authors hold:

  • What quality assurance mechanisms should exist for the author/reader?
  • What distribution channels have the highest value?
  • How much should the author pay to use this type of system (% of each sale)?
  • Should the author be allowed to choose his prices (even for free)?
  • If it was possible to upload work once and send it across multiple distribution channels, what would be the preferred upload format (plain text via a text box in the browser/ E-pub/.docx)?
  • Are subscription systems, individual installments, or both desired?

What do you think?  I look forward to reading and responding to your comments below, and I am more than happy to answer any questions.  You can read more about us and sign up to ensure your place in line for the Beta at  To stay up to date on everything electronic, publishing, and short-form, follow us on Twitter at @DiscoverLit and like our Facebook page.  From the DiscoverLit team, thank you very much and enjoy your serials!

John Petitte is the Chief Executive Officer and a Founder of DiscoverLit (  He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina and recently graduated from NC State with degrees in Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry.  His love for technology, reading, and entrepreneurship led him to the creation of DiscoverLit.