I was recently reading an online interview with the prolific and greatly talented Canadian author Margaret Atwood and I came across an interesting initiative. Now to put it in perspective, Atwood needs no help getting published. In the almost 50 years she has been writing, she has churned out more than 30 novels and books of poetry and won pretty much every award going including the Booker. However, that has not stopped her signing up to Byliner a website which bills itself s as a platform for writers.
The idea is not entirely new as it harks back to the 19th century when writers such as Charles Dickens published in serial form or ‘road tested ideas’ on audiences. Well known authors would put out three chapters or so and then respond to readers’ reactions. That moved on and serial publication got taken over by magazines and newspapers but eventually died out for good as the 20th century neared its close, so a whole way of publishing vanished.
Now that platform has reappeared online and writers can sign up, test out a couple of chapters and take (or leave) feedback with the eventual goal of publishing the serials in book form. This is what Atwood plans with her serials Positron which can be found on Byliner. Search the database and you’ll find literary heavyweights Paul Theroux, Christopher Hitchens alongside emerging writers.
I love seeing old platforms being brought back to life online, now all you aspiring writers just need to get writing!