February 11th, 2010

tea_and_tomes: (Default)
Thursday, February 11th, 2010 07:25 pm
Writing novels on your cell phone can apparently get you a lot of money and readership.

If you're in Japan, that is. I somehow don't think that sort of thing would catch on as quickly in North America. While it's a novel concept (if you'll excuse the pun), it seems to be the equivalent to posting things on FictionPress. And often that's viewed here as great for beginners but nobody will ever take it seriously.

Which is a shame, because I've actually read some wonderful novel-length pieces of original fiction on FictionPress.

Maybe it's just that here, Posting fiction online is viewed as only a short step beyond posting angsty teen poetry. Most writers start in their teens, after all, especially the ones who'll post their work online.

And most websites set up to host amateur fiction will claim first publishing rights, which makes it hard to take good amateur fiction and submit it for publication elsewhere. Short of hosting your fiction on your own website and doing some hard-core advertising for yourself, you're not going to build up much of a readership that will convince publishers to look at you and still be able to get yourself published.

I too have swum the murky waters of FictionPress. The second downside to such sites is that the good stuff is like a needle in a haystack.

Or to put it more aptly, a diamond in a shithole, if you'll pardon my use of language. The crap tends to overflow quite often. Bad spelling, lousy punctuation, and people claiming, "It's not for school, so I don't care about grammar and syntax." Even if you're good at what you do, that's the image you have to fight against, because you're lumped in with all the others who think that way.

There are success stories, of course. But they're few and far between, and often consist of someone gaining a fan following and then having some new and unseen project snatched up by publishing companies rather than something they've already put online.

But best of luck to the online writers anyway. Most of the authors we know and love started off that way, or something similar, maybe by having short stories appear in school papers before the Internet took off the way it has.

We all start out small. And sometimes, like the girl who's studying for her high school entrance exams and who wrote a book that has grossed over half a million US dollars, we grow up to be big.