Fiction Express

It’s got weekly updates, digital publication, and a reader-response structure that allows regular readers to vote on what happens next..? Fiction Express is a positively Dickensian return to pulp fiction on a serial basis, and an intriguing mix of interactivity and e-publishing.

I am fascinated by the model, and by the issues addressed in the FAQs. In an age of global publishing, serialised e-Books can afford to have a low price point, but also need to deal with the logistics of readers scattered across several timezones, and the likelihood that the teen target market doesn’t have access to its own credit cards.

I have my reservations about “interactivity” in modern fiction, but this is a very interesting experiment. As, too, is this, the new Unbound Books site, a digital variant of the time-honoured practice of publishing by subscription. They have smartly led with a few authors that pro publishers are likely to want anyway, but there is a possibility there to tap into the long tail. However, I am not sure about the whistles and bells. I am not a first-edition or signed-book freak, nor do I much want a personalised poster, so I would be unlikely to buy any of the higher values. Nor do I much want to peer into the author’s “shed” at their writing process. Take it from me, not all authors’ lives are an endless cavalcade of orgies and espionage. Most of us live insufferably jejune existences, fretting about the laundry and the late cheques. And the last thing I would want the public to see is the stuff I end up throwing away as part of the writing process. But I am sure there are many, writers and readers, who fill find that Unbound ticks all the right boxes with them.

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