Some notes from today's session with Cory Doctorow and Stephen Dedman.
Cory Doctorow says there hasn't been a big market for short stories for a very long time.
He says short fiction seems like a good length for the web, but the fact that computers do a whole heap of stuff means that people find it hard to concentrate on fiction if they're reading it on a connected device. However, he says that the advantage is that on the web, stories have an opportunity to find an audience they never had before.
Stephen Dedman says the nature of the web means that stories can be the length they're meant to be, rather than trying to shoehorn them into magazines where generally they have to be shorter.
Doctorow says the commercial value increases with the notoriety of the piece of fiction. And he says he can see opportunities for the marketing of physical extrusions of digital works.
He uses the example of the original scroll of paper that Jack Kerouac typed On the Road on. It's worth heaps. Not because you can't get cheap versions of the work, but because the work has such notoriety.
He says he's currently working on an anthology of reprints of his stories. There will be free ebooks, audio readings by his writer friends, POD versions via lulu.com, and a high-end hand-bound version featuring end papers of ephemera he's collected over the years, such as Jay Lake's cancer diagnosis.
He's also got a system whereby if you spot a typo, he'll correct it in the next version and credit you in the footnote. So if you want to buy it again, you can get a version with your name in it. He says he's found a way to monetise typos!
Doctorow says there have been some other interesting experiments. He says podcasting has potential, because people connect more when they hear a voice, and also it fits in with commuting, looking after kids (and I guess going to the gym).
Doctorow also mentioned Mongoliad, a web serial that features a blend of stuff, some free, some paid for.
Actually, AussieCon 4 has really amped me as far as short stories go, but I've got to stay focussed on my novel!