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The Story, So Far: Marcus Speh

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«I’m an online writer. Apart from a few print publications, I can only be read online. Sometimes I feel “online” is like a birth mark: can’t get rid of it. Goes with you everywhere. Obscurely related to your gene pool. Not pretty perhaps but, in the right light, one might take it for a giant tick or for a smudge. 

Of course “online” is not a smudge. It’s the dog’s bollocks, the bee’s knees of contemporary writing. It’s writing for billions out there, potentially. It means striking fear into the very heart of the publishing industry. It’s “occupy literature” before anyone thought of occupying anything anywhere.

That online community, however, is a tent settlement, albeit of unknown extension. It doesn’t really occupy anybody else’s space either: rather, it creates land where it needs more. A little like the Dutch people, who wrestled most of their land from the sea at no small a price. Though the modern Dutchmen, I hear, have plans to save the money for repairing their dams and will instead live in houses that shall float when the flood comes to fetch them.

Perhaps that is the future of online writing also: no more pioneering spirit of the wagon fort, sitting around a virtual camp fire sharing stories of the bravest tweet, the most daring Facebook thread or the latest Duotrope submission tracking tale, but life raft-like constructions that can come together when and where needed and that help writers survive and attach themselves to reading communities as readers can attach themselves to us. Futurology is all about the right metaphor.

“Goodreads,” I say to you, fellow online writers, and then I disappear in ‘Ulysses,’ which, in this case, is not a book by Joyce, but an app by German software engineers who like writers. There’s this dependency of course: not only the fear of the blank page (or the blank screen) but the fear that you might not have the best app on your iPad. That you might not have an iPad. That you might be as alone on the Internet as you are anywhere else.

Because, whatever the future of online communities might hold, whoever might be in it or not in it (anymore): the fact remains that writing happens inside your head first and last of all, as a dialogue between your many selves, a loner’s love. There’s no reason, of course, not to have a lot of fun with others along the way. Or, as in my case, connect with a multitude of writers outside of my Germanic exile.

* * * * *

My earliest published online (literary) work is also the earliest work I ever published: “Tickled Pink” at Metazen, in June 2009. My earliest online non-literary work dates back to 1989, when as a young physicist at CERN I worked with the group of people working with Tim Berners-Lee on the creation of the World Wide Web.

[Published at Northville Review.
Illustration: © “Ceaseless murmuring” Carlye Birkenkrahe]

A great bookseller and patron of writers: George Whitman of Shakespeare & Company, died at age 98 in Paris. (NYT Obit)

A great bookseller and patron of writers: George Whitman of Shakespeare & Company, died at age 98 in Paris. (NYT Obit)

Gizella — A Flash Fiction Novella

Excerpts are online at Red Lemonade. To be published by Folded Word Press in 2013.

Pandamian - easy online publishing. 

«The long term vision for Pandamian: every book in the future will have an online component. That online component will be on Pandamian. And we will try as hard as possible to make that linkable, accessible, and aggregateable to everyone on the planet.»
(via: metacog)

Pandamian - easy online publishing. 

«The long term vision for Pandamian: every book in the future will have an online component. That online component will be on Pandamian. And we will try as hard as possible to make that linkable, accessible, and aggregateable to everyone on the planet.»

(via: metacog)

Should You Serialize a Novel on Kindle?

Last month I released my literary novel as four episodes on Kindle: 100,000 words, in chunks of 25,000 words, at 99 cents a time. Why? …

read full post by roz morris on “jane friedman”.

Photo © Tristan Savatier — Fire Spinner, by Anton Viditz-Ward. Boxes with burning wood attached to a large spinning wheel. Photo taken at the burning man festival 2007, Nevada.

The Unstoppable Rise Of The Movella

Yes,  Movellas. Danish Literary Delights.

Wikipedia: «Although Japan was the original birthplace of the cell phone novel, the phenomenon soon moved to other parts of East Asia, and many of the online writers are university students. These writers understand what narratives will attract young readers, incorporating emergent events or trendy elements from teen culture into their stories.

Cell phone novels create a virtual world for teenagers via the mobile phone, or, more precisely, via text messages. As in virtual online computer games, readers can put themselves into first person in the story. Cell phone novels create a personal space for each individual reader. Paul Levinson, in Information on the Move (2004), says “nowadays, a writer can write just about as easily, anywhere, as a reader can read” and they are “not only personal but portable.”

The cell phone novel is changing reading habits; readers no longer need to physically go to a bookshop and purchase a book. They can go online using their cell phone, download a novel, and read it on their personal mobile phone anywhere, any time they wish. Similar to the e-book, its mobility and convenience saves time.»

Map of the market for e-book authors—self publishing or not: eat it up & sell well.  From a recent review at smashwords:

….What to make of the results? How might authors and publishers focus their e-publishing efforts based on the data above? I think it boils down to the following:Write a great book that resonates with readers and gives them something to talk about
Target readers who are active in online communities because they influence their fellow readers […]
Maximize the availability of your book so readers can randomly stumble across it and sample it
Boring titles, unprofessional cover images and poorly written book descriptions are instant turn-offs

[read on]

Map of the market for e-book authors—self publishing or not: eat it up & sell well.  From a recent review at smashwords:

….What to make of the results? How might authors and publishers focus their e-publishing efforts based on the data above? I think it boils down to the following:

  • Write a great book that resonates with readers and gives them something to talk about
  • Target readers who are active in online communities because they influence their fellow readers […]
  • Maximize the availability of your book so readers can randomly stumble across it and sample it
  • Boring titles, unprofessional cover images and poorly written book descriptions are instant turn-offs

[read on]

Flash Fiction: An Experimental Drug?

«Flash fic­tion is the epit­ome of imme­di­ate grat­i­fi­ca­tion. At no time does it allow the reader to zone out. At no time does it allow for a slow-paced, steady bout of rope-a-dope while paint­ing the reader into a cor­ner and hav­ing him hold on for dear, des­per­ate life. Instead, flash stands toe-to-toe with the reader and demands sure­fire readi­ness and men­tal acu­ity as it unleashes a fast and furi­ous stac­cato deliv­ery of rhythms and images. Instead of a delib­er­ate series of ver­bal jabs, feints, and left hooks, flash fic­tion abridges the dis­tance between writer and reader by deliv­er­ing thun­der­ing punches, all reg­is­ter­ing in a swift, pre­cise attack, a flurry of body blows crescen­do­ing with one final death blow to the skull. Flash does not sneak up on us. It knocks us out. Uncon­scious. With­out fan­fare. In the first round. Before the ring card girl even gets to earn her keep.»

Dan Cafaro on Flash Fiction, posted at Atticus Review in “Publisher Hooked On Experimental Drug" [full article here]