Salman Rushdie is to serialise his next book on the online platform Substack, alongside sharing short stories and other pieces.
The platform enables readers to subscribe to individual writers, receiving their posts "newsletter style" via email. The Booker Prize-winning author decided to publish his new work online, using the page Salman's Sea of Stories, after his agent Andrew Wylie was approached and asked if the author was interested.
His new novella, The Seventh Wave, will be serialised in weekly instalments over the course of a year, which paying subscribers will be able to view, among short stories along with writing about films and books. The new title is a 35,000-word novella about a “film director and an actor slash muse written in the style of New Wave cinema", he told the Guardian.
In addition to his literature, the author will write about films, a long-held aspiration that was almost granted at the New Yorker, he said.
"The point of doing this is to have a closer relationship with readers, to speak freely, without any intermediaries or gatekeepers," the author wrote on his page. "There’s just us here, just you and me, and we can take this wherever it goes. I hope you’ll enjoy the ride. I’ll try to make it fun."
Rushdie, whose essay collection Languages of Truth was published by Jonathan Cape in May, joins authors including Patti Smith and Etgar Keret who are using the site to publish their content.
Speaking to the Guardian about what the medium provides, Rushdie said: "The question about which voices get to speak… is a very important [one]. In publishing… there was a real problem about which voices got to speak, and I’m not saying that’s gone away, but it’s changing. Here [in the US] there’s a lot more space for writers of colour than there used to be, both in publishing books and in the critical sphere.
“And potentially something like this, with its lack of gatekeepers, could also enable a more diverse set of voices… If you want a Substack you can start one, you know, you don’t have to be invited."
“But I don’t want to be their cheerleader,” he added. “It was interesting for me to have a go with this and all I’ve done is it make a 12-month commitment. A year from now, I’m going to see where we stand, and I’ll either go on with it, or I won’t.”
He added: “People have been talking about the death of the novel, almost since the birth of the novel… but the actual, old fashioned thing, the hardcopy book, is incredibly, mutinously alive. And here I am having another go, I guess, at killing it.”