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7 Platforms Changing the Future of Publishing

5 July 2011

Passive Guy tweeted about this a couple days ago, but it’s worth a little deeper look.

A website called Brain Pickings examines some “new publishing” platforms (websites). They are very different from each other in approach, but all are aiming to disintermediate publishers and most are focused on writing shorter than book-length.

PG would be remiss if he did not say he hasn’t checked the click-contracts involved in submitting work to any of these sites, but would recommend you do so before sending any of your best stuff there. At some point in the not-distant future, PG will write about click-contracts and how he thinks they differ from the kind you sign with a pen.

One thing to consider is the likelihood that not all of the platforms discussed in the article will be successful or even in existence a year from now, so rights to any submission you make to the website may end up anywhere or nowhere.

PG is not trying to discourage writers from supporting these sites, but is encouraging writers to be careful with rights to work that is important to them.


With the tagline, “longer than an article, shorter than a book,” The Atavist considers itself a “boutique publishing house” that turns out bespoke nonfiction and narrative journalism for digital devices. It launched at the end of January with Lifted, a piece by founder and editor (and regular Wired contributor) Evan Ratliff, about one of the most elaborate bank heists in history. The Atavist‘s angle is to present “a new genre of nonfiction, a digital form that lies in the space between long narrative magazine articles and traditional books and e-books.”

. . . .

Bringing the social networking paradigm to publishing, Red Lemonade aims to create a community of writers and readers around fiction and narrative nonfiction. The site’s mission statement stakes out an editorial position, as well:

We avoid labeling what we do but it tends to be risky, socially charged, misbehaving stuff. Red Lemonade is for the writers other publishers are afraid of.

Although Red Lemonade features titles by established (and excellent) authors Lynne Tillman and Matthew Battles, anyone can create an author profile and then annotate existing work. While it remains to be seen whether the website will reach the kind of critical mass necessary for sustained critical input, we’re excited by the works on display so far.

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So called because its e-titles take 40 minutes to just over an hour to read, 40K Books presents a series of original novellas and nonfiction essays in English, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. The Milan, Italy-based startup impressed us early on both with its price points — 99 cents per purchase — and its strong selection of sci-fi and speculative fiction — including a few fantastic stories by Bruce Sterling — and practical pieces on publishing and the creative process.

Link to the rest at Brain Pickings