And ebook devices. And digital publishing. So really, it’s about reading and writing and how we experience these activities today.
When I was a kid, I had two life goals: to be interviewed by Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, and to publish a paperback. Although I’ve (mostly) outgrown both of these dreams, the fact that neither goal is still relevant in 2011 is an indication of how much the world of publishing has changed just over my lifespan — which, actuarially speaking, isn’t even at the halfway point yet.
Although Booksprung’s focus is on the reader (who is also frequently a consumer), there are in addition occasional posts about the business of digital publishing. Some highlights:
- How Kindle’s new public notes could change the way we read ebooks
- How a publisher can get me to buy more books
- How publishers encourage piracy
- Why DRM is a distraction
- Notes from yesterday’s Google Book Search settlement workshop
- A review of Blue Leaf book scanning service
I’ve been quoted by some big names in publishing and media, and ignored by the rest. Ruth Franklin of The New Republic linked to my thoughts on Kindle’s public notes twice in the same sentence. (I am apparently all the bloggers.) Jane Friedman, former publisher of Writer’s Digest, says my thoughts on pricing and release schedules are “smart” and likely to become industry practice. Brian O’Leary of Magellan Media Partners has quoted my advice on combating piracy during a conference presentation. [Note: I've linked to the original posts in the section above. -CW]
I was formerly a senior editor at The Consumerist, a popular consumer advocacy blog in the United States; Time Magazine named it one of the 50 Best Blogs of 2010 during my time there. I’ve published articles or blog posts in PCWorld, Teleread, and — once, very briefly — The New York Times‘s website. (At least I thought it was just online, but a commenter wrote that he’d read my post in his printed version of the paper, so lookatme I’m in the Times!) Before that I was a business-to-business copywriter, and before that I developed websites using Flash. I apologize to everyone for that phase of my career.
Why I’m doing this
My interest in digital publishing is purely selfish. I’ve always wanted to write and publish fiction, but faced two chronic problems: I never finished anything worth publishing, and I never wanted to give up so much control to an old-fashioned publisher. I’d been following digital publishing for a few years before Amazon remade the market with its Kindle, and once that happened, I realized the world had caught up to my point of view: that a corporation isn’t the only path to market, and that hand-crafted is often better than machine-tooled. Well, unless we’re talking about airplane parts or surgical equipment.
My current fiction production rate is 1-2 short stories per year, with the goal of producing a very short novel by 2043. I assume at that point you’ll just eat the novel, and it will be paid for with enzymes produced by my networked robocat. (Who will be part lobster brain and be named Stross, naturally.)
For now, here are three short stories:
Vampire wannabes try to earn a spot at the foot of their master, who may just also be a wannabe. Published in Weird Tales during its second or third (or fourth?) brief incarnation. I still count this as the pinnacle of my career, because of Weird Tales’ history in the world of American weird/horror/fantasy fiction. Currently unavailable, unless you can find Vol. 55 #1 from ’98.
“The Last Candy Run”
The quickest way to grow up is to face death for the first time, or better yet, several times in rapid succession. On Halloween night, a boy on the edge of adulthood is shoved over that line by a cascade of disasters. The sole review on Amazon calls it “fantastic” but “unsettling,” and says it “descends quite dramatically into something terrible.” Hooray! It’s $0.99 per Amazon’s rules, but you can email me and request a free “review copy.”
It’s the Rapture, and everyone’s invited! And by “invited” I mean “murdered by an inhuman, vengeful God.” The cruelty of simplistic faith is sort of the underlying theme, but mostly it’s an action tale of a woman trying to survive long enough to see her family one last time. This guy highly recommends it, calling it “first-rate narrative prose that perfectly balances description, dialogue and action,” and “a pleasure to read.” Free on Smashwords, and blame Smashwords for any screwed-up formatting; their “meatgrinder” is the Compuserve of digital publishing.