authors | December 27, 2012

Margaret Atwood On NPR: The Internet Revived A Classic Publishing Platform

The advent of new, digital technologies has certainly changed the publishing world. However, as Margaret Atwood explains in an NPR interview, not all of those changes are a threat to traditional methods of storytelling. In fact, she argues that digital media and the Internet have made it possible to reinvent a traditional publishing platform long forgotten. Her new project, a serial book series called Positron, is being posted section-by-section on new website called Byliner. As she explains, this method of storytelling was used a great deal by famous writers such as Charles Dickens but it has become far less popular until recently.

She says that this new type of publishing gets the audience more involved and invested in the story as their feedback can help determine the course of the story. "The closest analogy is probably a TV sitcom," she tells NPR. "If somebody's getting high ratings you make their part bigger, and if they're have them die."  Since the story is being uploaded in parts, the audience's opinion will play a role in how Atwood finishes the story, and she can interact with the fans as it unfolds. As to whether or not it will eventually become a full-length book once all of its parts are published, that "remains to be seen," Atwood says. She's not ruling it out, but she said the fans will just have to wait and see. Given that Atwood is so well known for thinking outside of the box and embracing cutting edge trends, she may have a completely different method for publishing the book when it's finished. 

With decades of experience—and great success—in the literary world, Atwood has become a household name. In her gripping works of fiction, her ventures into technology, and her enrapturing lectures, she has an undeniable talent for telling a good story in provocative and innovative ways and always keeping her fans on their toes.