Thursday, December 6, 2012

Short Stories and Poetry: A Digital Renaissance Moment?

The decline of print magazines (like the venerable Newsweek, which as of this month is going digital-only) and the rise of e-books can make it seem that short stories and poetry for children and teens have a shrinking market.

But recent changes in publishing signal may a new life for these shorter forms...

A new digital-focused imprint, Harper Teen Impulse launched this month, publishing short fiction for teens.  As reported in Publisher's Weekly,

"The new line launches December 4 with a novella by Sophie Jordan, BREATHLESSS, and a futuristic novella from Scott Westerfeld, STUPID PERFECT WORLD, both selling for $1.99. The company indicates it will publish up to 4 ebooks a month, priced from 99 cents to $2.99.

Harper Children's president and publisher Susan Katz says, "We're seeing short-form content becoming more popular in the digital marketplace, and HarperTeen Impulse allows us to experiment with new concepts and deliver content quickly." 

And this piece in Salon, "Can Books Endure In A 140-character World?" by Julia Ingalls suggests that maybe the short attention span of digital natives (you're a digital immigrant if you remember a time before cell phones and email) creates an opportunity for shorter form narratives, like poetry. 

"Instead of spending five months immersed in Proust, the visual and auditory quality of social media makes it possible to spend five minutes getting your mind blown by a contemporary philosopher. Quality, not quantity, is the key."

These are fascinating times we live and create in!

Illustrate and Write On,

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