I hadn’t heard of Tablo, so I’ve just taken a look. (My first impression is that there’s nothing that would persuade me to use it in preference to Medium or Wattpad.) As regards the other sites/services/platforms you mention, I think your piece is right on the money.
Traditional publishing is in (probably terminal) crisis, not least because the big publishers have (as you put it) pinned nearly all their hopes on “paying out huge advances for new titles they hope will be big sellers” while ditching the midlist with its “lower risk and attendant stability”. Something new will replace traditional publishing, probably sooner than most of us expect.
My own view (and hope) is that ebooks will play only a small part in whatever that something new turns out to be. As I’ve said before, I consider ebooks a transitional, unstable format.
I have no problem with reading long-form writing (including fiction) off a screen rather than paper—I’ve been doing it for more than twenty years now. I don’t see any good reason, though, why what’s on the screen should inconsistently mimic the format of a printed and bound book. And I suspect that Amazon, the runaway market leader in ebooks, agrees with me.
In spite of its success in that market, it’s been slow to add typographic features to Kindle. For several years, the reader had no choice but to accept right-justification without hyphenation (a recipe for ugliness on a small-screened device). New fonts have been added but most, even now, are at best functional rather than aesthetically satisfying.
For about the past year, I’ve been publishing my short stories on Medium. I find it a superb platform for that kind of publishing. The font choice is perfect (though I’d like the option of a sans-serif font for body text) and the line length/column width ideal. To go from reading a Medium post to an author’s blog is, too often, a painful experience.
My main difficulty with Medium is that it’s hard to keep a reader’s attention beyond a certain word count. (It’s been suggested to me that 2,000 words is the effective limit, which would make most of my stories a poor fit for the platform.) In the piece linked to above (“After ebooks …”), I said that my long short story, “Protected”, would be available only in an ebook. I’ve since posted it on Medium in six parts.
I had to add the links between the parts manually. That, to be honest, was no major chore, but it got me thinking again about Wattpad, which makes it easy to publish stories in multiple parts. I’d tried Wattpad last year, before I thought about Medium as a platform for fiction. I deleted my profile though, because I was finding it nearly impossible to get readers. (At that time, I was still hung up on the perceived need to gain followers.)
Now, I’m having another shot at Wattpad. I’ve posted the first four parts of “Protected” there and the final two will follow in a few days. I’ve also posted the first 2,000 words of a story I’m working on at the moment, whose working title is “Purpose of Amendment”.
Purpose of Amendment - Art Kavanagh - Wattpad
Klot lit up dull, grey 1980s Dublin. Niall has never stopped thinking about her. But a fateful abstention from action…
And I’ll quite likely be adding my novel-length piece of crime fiction, A Falling Body, which has been available as an ebook for the past two years.