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The Atavist to Release Free Digital Publishing Tool

The digital publishing start-up The Atavist has landed a $1.5 million investment from a prominent slate of Silicon Valley investors.

According to The New York Times, the digital publisher will soon release a free version of its publishing app: “people who sign up can begin building children’s books or travelogues or whatever else they fancy, some of which will become part of its online marketplace. Using the so-called freemium model, The Atavist may charge people fees for additional features — like the ability to create an app that could be sold by Apple — and will be making money by taking a cut of sales.”

Currently, Atavist stories are available through iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch Atavist app; through through Amazon’s new Kindle Singles collection; and on the Nook.

Last year, we interviewed co-founding editor Evan Ratliff about the project. Follow this link to listen to the interview.

Ratliff had this advice: “We are taking pitches. We aren’t accepting submissions–pieces that people report and then send them in. But we are taking pitches from long-form writers … we happen to be quite small and we have a fairly limited publishing schedule, so we are focusing on experienced long-form writers. We are looking for all kinds of ideas, we don’t have a topic restriction–we aren’t just focused on sports or politics or anything like that.”

He concluded: “In fact, in some ways, we are anti-topical. What we want is a gripping narrative for these pieces. We have to convince readers that they are going to get lost in these stories for an hour while they read. It can be about anything, it just has to have characters that are really captivating –we’re not doing just pure informational features. “

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