Are any of the new formats for publishing fiction worth a damn?


After helping out with Electric Literature’s experiment to publish a Rick Moody story on Twitter; after reading the sometimes excited, sometimes critical reactions that it provoked on literary blogs; after contemplating a thoughtful post on the subject by m.snowe, I’m left with one question.

Are any of the new formats for publishing fiction worth a damn?

Featherproof Books has published dozens of short stories in their Light Reading Series. The stories are fully typeset and designed, and you can download them for free as PDFs. The idea is that you’ll print, fold, and staple them to make your own little books. It may sound like a cheap way to outsource labor (“Here, reader. You make the book.”), but in practice it’s kind of fun. I built myself two little stories by Blake Butler and Patrick Somerville, both of whom I admire, and I’ll be damned if they weren’t a pleasure to read.

Idiots Books, which seems like a crackerjack operation all around, makes a free, illustrated PDF that you can download and fold, according to their instructions, to build an endlessly repeating story called “Captain A-OK Fights Blug-Glub-Glub.”

Bear Parade, which is partly run by Tao Lin, publishes stories online that are specifically designed for web viewing, with thematic stencil illustrations and lush color schemes.

Ass Hi Books, also from Tao Lin, somewhat counter-intuitively publishes each story as a massive, illustrated JPG that reads from top to bottom, like a scroll. Somehow it’s a more elegant presentation than it ought to be.

Five Chapters keeps it classy with a new serialized story each week, and the fact that I compulsively check their daily updates is probably an indication that serializing a story, one of the oldest tricks in the books, is still a good way to tantalize readers.

Have you found any good story formats on the web?

Are you totally boggled and exhausted by the variety of forms?

Should I just migrate my consciousness to Twitter?

Which of these methods, if any, should the Fiction Advocate employ when we kick out some original stuff?



Filed under Hooray Fiction!

2 Responses to Are any of the new formats for publishing fiction worth a damn?

  1. “Keeps it classy” is always a great turn of phrase.

    “Turn of phrase” is not so great. My bad.

    To answer your question(s): No, kinda, no, I’m rooting for an FA Zine.


  2. PS. I linked the wrong website to my name above. Don’t click that link!

    Or do, now that you’re probably intrigued, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.


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