Michelle Nicolosi, who led the charge for the SeattlePI.com after Hearst Corp. shut down the physical newspaper operations in March 2009, has resigned from the company to start a new electronic book publishing business by the name of Working Press. Her last day at SeattlePI.com will be January 20th.
Working Press plans to “edit, format, publish, distribute and market the work of journalists and other established writers.” In a Tweet, Nicolosi said that the company is looking for single title in the range of 5,000 to 30,000 words, as well as longer books with broad appeal.
“I love my work and I love the staff at the seattlepi.com. It has been thrilling to manage the transition of the first major metro daily to go online only, and I’m thankful to Hearst for giving me so many great opportunities,” Nicolosi said in a press release. “But I’m also very excited about the opportunities in ebook publishing. Readers have been reluctant to pay for online news, but they don’t seem to mind spending money on ebooks – the growth in both e-reader and ebook sales in the past year has been remarkable.”
Amazon.com already offers a program known as Kindle Singles where authors can publish short works for a set fee, many of which sell for $1.99. But Nicolosi said there remain opportunities in helping established authors make the transition to digital publishing.
“Unfortunately many media companies simply don’t have the resources to prepare their content for yet another format,” she said in a release. “Many are struggling with dwindling staff and an already overcrowded development pipeline.”
Working Press plans to release its first title in the spring of 2012.
Nicolosi’s departure follows the resignation of another longtime Seattle P-I veteran. Cartoonist David Horsey left for the LA Times last month.
UPDATE: Xconomy’s Curt Woodward points out that Chris Grygiel also recently left the SeattlePI.com to join the Associated Press as news editor in Seattle.
UPDATE: Nicolosi tells GeekWire that she’s bootstrapping the startup herself, and plans to focus her first project on a digital single.
“As many others have already noted, lots of readers love the idea of content they can read in an hour or two, and that they can buy at a price much lower than many full length books,” she said.
[Editor's note: GeekWire founders Todd Bishop and John Cook previously worked at the Seattle P-I].