Many self-published authors promote their books on the Web, but Gary Sutton has taken the process one step further, paving the way for self-publishers everywhere. Forgoing brick-and-mortar venues, Sutton is offering his novel, Cyber.scam 2000, exclusively on the Web. Readers can access the novel, which centers on a conspiracy to take over the Internet in order to rule the world, through Hard Shell Word Factory (http://www.hardshell.com) to read it on their PCs, or download it onto a Softbook Reader (http://www.softbook.com), a portable e-book with a built-in modem. An ink-and-paper format is available from Amazon.com. "It's very reasonable [if you want] to get feedback and [cater] to an Internet market," Sutton says.
"Authors are, for the first time now, getting attention for stuff they publish on the Web," says Steven Zeitchik, an editor at Publisher's Weekly. "They're [currently] interested in getting a print publisher, and whether that will change and books will be exclusively published online depends on whether downloadable books and e-book devices will take off." And with healthy competition among e-book manufacturers driving down prices, finding a virtual audience for your virtual book may not seem so futuristic.