From The Guardian’s Books Blog:

Most of these e-novels are “pure entertainment, written, downloaded, read and deleted all at top speed …” but e–publishing attracts serious writers as well, for a rather different reason: it offers a smidgen of freedom from censorship regulations which hamstring conventional publishers. One very successful internet author is Murong Xuecun. In 2002, he put his first novel Leave Me Alone: A Novel of Chengdu online. It caused enough of a stir to be taken up by a publisher, subsequently won prizes and has been translated. Murong has been, and continues to be, an outspoken critic of the Chinese system, which he calls “rotten” and “corrupt”, and he continues to publish his criticisms online.

However, serious authors are unlikely to limit themselves to e-publishing. Print books pay better, or at least more reliably, and have lost none of their prestige. (Almost all literary prizes are awarded only to printed books, with the exception of the prestigious Mao Dun Literature prize which admitted e-published novels for the first time in 2011; of an overall 178 entries, none of the eight e-novels won an award.) So Murong successfully straddles these two worlds: he publishes a full version online, and his publisher brings out a bowdlerised edition.

Thanks to @erinbiba for the link.


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