photo by Sanja Gjenero
by Bea Moyes
Short stories have long been denigrated as the ‘little sister’ of longer forms like the novel. As a form, it is sometimes considered less literary, less valuable and more superficial than longer fiction. The easy read. This is a perspective frequently reflected by publishers who often see potential in a short fiction collection only when a writer has established themselves in the long form. Yet, as the writer Jamie Guiney has said ‘I am drawn to short stories because they best reflect traditional story telling’. There is something raw, fresh and transformative about a short story. A short piece which in a short space can build a picture, character and narrative in your mind and conclude it. It is a form we should value and which writers should be proud to engage with.
In the current climate more and more writers are coming out with amazing short fiction, and readers of blogs, websites and even the 140 characters of Twitter are calling out for good short reads. The rise of digital publishing is enabling new writers to reach an unprecedented global audience and to gain new readers in ways which print distribution would have difficulty accessing. With the huge publicity that surrounds e-readers and tablets, many have neglected to notice the rise and importance of mobile phones as important platforms for this short content. As the bestselling writer Toby Litt says ‘mobile phones and short stories were pretty much made for each other’.
Mobile phones have a completely global reach and are already being used to revolutionise modern attitudes to content and reading. In areas of Asia, Africa and the Middle East especially, mobile is driving new markets for reading, news and content distribution. In China for example, nearly 80% of eBooks are consumed on mobile phones, a statistic which has huge implications for the potential of mobile reading across the world, and of course Manga has already established a dominant audience in Japan.
Ether Books is a new and innovative mobile publisher which is tapping into this growing mobile content market by publishing short content through our App for iPhone/iPod Touch. We specialise in short content which is perfect for that quick ‘byte sized read’, accessible on-the-go and available to a truly global audience. What makes us unique is not only that we focus on contemporary living writers but that we are also developing a large community which both promotes, supports and engages writers from across the world. We publish new and emerging writers alongside established and bestselling writers such as Hilary Mantel, Lionel Shriver, Louis de Bernieres and Sir Paul McCartney who wrote a unique article ‘Meat Free Monday’ exclusively for us.
Unlike self-publishers, we select and vet all our content. We are growing a reputation for quality writing as well as providing a platform where new writers can make a name for themselves. We also give established writers an outlet for their short fiction – long neglected by traditional publishing. We publish everything from non-fiction articles to short stories, flash fiction, poetry and serials – which we publish in episodes. The value of digital, and specifically mobile publishing, is that we can release a new piece within two weeks, meaning that much of our work is incredibly topical and able to follow current trends and situations.
Ether are actively looking for new writers interested in publishing their work. We work directly with writers, and also publish work through third-parties and on behalf of other publishers. If you are interested in submitting work to us, you can do so for free through our online submissions page. And if you want to find out more about Ether, we are an active voice on Twitter and Facebook so come and discuss with us your thoughts and work.