Here’s an interesting article from the Guardian about the wacky world of on-line self-publishing: Looking for a great self-published book? Here’s where to find it. It’s also worth reading some of the replies to the post.
What it reveals is that there is a huge new community of writers being revealed to the world that’s now possible by virtue of the relative ease by which authors can publish,publicise and sell their fiction.
Of course I could say that I already knew all this. After all, I’m one of those who publish e-books and stuff on the internet, but the truth is that in the time that I’ve been doing it the landscape has evolved constantly and new outlets have appeared and those that I originally knew about have changed.
I also find it all rather intimidating.
I’m sure I’m supposed to say that I welcome a challenge, but I can’t help wondering how much of an uphill climb I would have to go through to get reviewed on Indie e-book Review or just how much I would have to do to be acceptable at Sabotage Reviews or Fictionaut. I also wonder how much of the stuff I’ve written could even be considered.
So, the truth is that I’m rather intimidated by it all, though I guess if it was easy, would it even be worth reading the stuff that’s published? Part of my worry is the simple one that ever since I discovered the market existed, I’ve mostly written fiction with a quite high sex content. And the fiction I’ve written that could be viewed as being something other than sex fiction tends to stray into genres like science fiction or satire which don’t seem to resemble much the kind of stuff that is published as Alt-Lit (for instance).
And there’s also a part of me that isn’t sure that I want all the hassle involved in getting accepted in all these other aspects of the on-line publishing world given that it’s already such a hassle writing stuff in the first place. And it’s fairly obvious that except for a very small minority the material rewards of writing are still tiny and elusive.
So, what’s “alt-lit”? My own vision of it is something that subtly (and perhaps not so subtly) subverts the mainstream of literature in ways that are a little bit disturbing, rather like this picture from Waldemar Kazak: