Online publishing: how can we do it right?

Tomas Martin @ 19-11-2007

Clarkesworld produces regular quality online fictionAs you may have noticed, Paul has been putting lots of links to other online fiction markets over the last week or so – we hope to encourage people to read the stories from all over the interweb. The topic of internet vs traditional publishing has been sweeping the sf blogosphere recently and there are some superb opinions on the subject. Some notable contributions include Erin Hoffman at Homeless Moon, the editor of Clarkesworld, Tobias Buckell, Booksquare on the viability of the iphone as a ebook reader, Paolo Bacigalupi’s superb 5-part critique of the state of the current print mags. Heavyweights John Scalzi, Cory Doctorow and Warren Ellis all helped start the debate.

The print medium hasn’t had such a quick transition into the internet world of the twentieth century, giving it the advantage of seeing how badly its brethren in the music and film industry have dealt with change. By stubbornly trying to hold on to old business models and suing many of those uptaking new technology, music and film executives alienated large quantities of their target audience and only recently has there been movement towards a sensible model. As digital paper and ebook readers get closer to producing an enjoyable reading experience, editors and authors will have to adapt to the digital age too.

The print digital revolution has the advantage of hindsight – we’ve seen how badly avoiding the idea is and have some element of time to start thinking about alternatives. Whether by email weekly story subscriptions, ebook purchases, tipjars for individual stories or community collection before posting, the internet is offering alternatives. I’d be interested to know what Futurismic readers feel about the debate. Of course, we can’t move to a new writing paradigm if people aren’t reading – so travel to some of the links on the side and read some of the great SF out there on the internet already!

[via Tobias Buckell, image from the latest cover of Clarkesworld magazine]

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2 Responses to “Online publishing: how can we do it right?”

  1. Nancy Jane Moore says:

    I’m glad to see you all taking on this issue. Please keep this discussion going. It’s so very obvious that fiction publishing is changing, but how it’s all going to wash out is still very murky.
    I’m juggling deadlines this week, so I haven’t had time to do more than scan through the various posts, but I hope that the smart people thinking about this will continue their efforts. I’ll try to chime in with something constructive down the road, when I can carve out some time for sitting and thinking.

  2. Blue Tyson says:

    Some thought to be given to those that like print, too, even if you charge them more for the privilege.

    Also, some way to indicate ‘this is the good stuff’. Novels have amazon and LibraryThing for community rating and discussion.

    Short stories have, well, not much, except a couple of bibliographic databases that are designed for history.