BY SEAN CLARK
I recently put up a post about self-published and small press books and encouraged people to check them out. As a follow up to that, here are some links to get you reading something new. There are alternatives to ordering the Super Saver shipping minimum of books from Amazon in preparation for the summer. If you don’t have an ereader and you don’t want to read on your computer/lug it to the lake, you can bring an ebook to Kinkos and get it printed and bound for less than the cost of that Nora Roberts hardcover you’ve been eyeing. Or for those that offer it, order a deadtree copy of an independantly published book. It will be fresh reading and will support the author. Plus it’ll make you happy.
Finding Free eBooks – The author of this blog has done a great job of assembling links to free ebooks from around the web. All the books are free, which means many/most of them are self-published or small press books. The site is a little messy, but not unnavigable. It’s worth the clutter though, as there is a lot of good stuff to be found. I’m going take a stab at a YA fantasy novel I found there.
Hereafter Book One: A Mild Case of Death – Linking to this because I find the title funny. I’ve only read one post, and it’s a creative idea for online fiction. The author has converted chapters of his paperback novel into interviews between the characters. I haven’t read the source material, so I can’t say how successful he is, but he definitely gets points for creativity. Blog novels are a cool idea, almost like a throwback to the episodic style of Dickens and Trollop. There are tons on the internet. Here’s one, and another. Here’s a Twitter novel (I am not condoning use of Twitter). If you’re into this stuff, check out Blog Novels: The Definitive List to find a read that suits your fancy.
Fanfiction.net – Ever liked a book, movie, cartoon, or videogame so much you wanted to add to the story? Well some people (a lot of them, actually) do so by writing fanfics regularly. You can find many at fanfiction.net, or you can find them on almost any fan site. Check out stories set in the worlds of Harry Potter, Earthbound, and The Cosby Show. A lot of fanfic is junk written by 11-year-olds, but there are some very well written pieces (likely provided by some very lonely writers).
Salt Magazine – There are a seemingly infinite number of online lit mags avaiable, mostly for free, and Salt is one of a great many that is good. Lit mags are one of the best ways to discover great writing by new writers, and new journals are appearing all the time. If only C4 had one… Also try Fringe, elimae, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and KGB Bar.
This is in no way an exhaustive list. The internet is full of great writing, and most of it is free. So load up your ereader with something new, or set some bookmarks so you can load up a new short story on your iPhone, or just print something out (something I do regularly) from one of the online lit mags. The internet is pushing writing into an egalitarian world, and thus it’s a better time for readers than ever before. So try something new and read something different.