Matter, the science and technology journalism startup that raised over $140,000 from 2,566 backers on Kickstarter, is launching with its first article Wednesday. GigaOM readers are already quite familiar with Matter co-founder Bobbie Johnson, who was formerly our European editor. He still writes for us occasionally, but recently left to work on Matter full time and is ready to launch the service.
Like Byliner and the Atavist, Matter sells e-singles — longform journalism in digital formats. But Matter is only publishing science- and technology-related stories, while the Atavist and Byliner publish across nonfiction categories (and Byliner sells some fiction, too). Matter will publish a new story every month, all priced at $0.99 and all at least 5,000 words long. They are available in the Kindle Store and will be on iTunes soon; for now, readers can download both MOBI and EPUB formats from Matter’s website.
Readers can also become members. By paying $0.99 a month, they get access to all of Matter’s stories, as well as extras like audiobook versions and author-and-editor Q&As. They are also added to Matter’s editorial board and can share ideas for stories through collaborative platform All Our Ideas. (Anyone who pledged at least $25 for the project on Kickstarter is also on the editorial board.)
Matter’s first story is “Do No Harm” by science writer Anil Ananthaswamy. It’s about people who feel compelled to amputate a limb — a rare condition known as Body Integrity Idendity Disorder — and the surgeons who risk their careers to help. Ananthaswamy is a consultant for London’s New Scientist magazine, the author of the book The Edge of Physics, and a TED speaker. “Do No Harm” will appear in Amazon’s Kindle Singles store, giving it an extra promotional boost.
“We pay writers by whatever means we can,” Johnson told me. “At the moment, we’re mainly based around a flat fee or [pay by the word], but once we have real sales data we’ll probably experiment with revenue shares and other options.”