Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Adventures in Publishing

Literary technology continues to advance, while those of us who are electronically challenged struggle to keep up. I have a bunch of my backlist books up for sale on the Kindle and Nook, but some are still missing (notably the PROBABILITY SERIES). Nonetheless, my next project leaps into the next stage of e-books. All right, I don't exactly leap: more like stumble after Greg Bear and the MONGOLIAD crowd. Sort of.

Subtext is a comparatively new company (as of last October) offering a free app for, so far, just the iPad, although more platforms are planned. The app "overlays" a book, and allows the reader to (1) notate anything he wants by pressing an icon in the margin, (2) see what every other user of the app has said in the margin, and comment on the comment, so that a genuine book-club conversation gets going, and (3) see what the author has put in the margin. That's where I come in. In April Tachyon is bringing out my stand-alone novella, AFTER THE FALL, BEFORE THE FALL, DURING THE FALL, and I will be annotating it.

With what? Well, FALL is a story about an unusual form of eco-terrorism. I did a lot of research, and some of that will be included. I can also comment on why I made the literary choices I did while writing the book -- and then get reader feedback. I (and anyone else) can link to websites, videos, anything pertinent.

I'm very excited about doing this. So far, Subtext has offered its app for only a few dozen books. Among them are DANCES WITH DRAGONS, annotated by George R.R. Martin's researcher; A RELIABLE WIFE, annotated by author Robert Goolrick; and the Nathaniel West classic MISS LONELY HEARTS, annotated by a literature professor.

Check out the app on its website, where a video gives details:

Also electronic: I have a reprint story at Future fashionistas!

1 comment:

Sam said...

That is very, very cool! I love the idea. I've been thinking of how to do a "behind the scenes" kind of thing for my own magazine and MAN would this be a slick way of doing it.

I think demonstrating literary choices, as well as research, could be useful for both fans--but also other writers, who are interested in the process and source. I imagine stuff like this becoming common (like DVD extras) and that in 50 years, it'll be a lot easier to compare styles of authors because we'll have much more of their own analysis and reasoning on record.