Questions About Format


I keep getting stuck in thought loops on the subject of how format/medium shapes the reading experience and how to compromise that with the realities of time/effort/$$$ of creation.

– – –
Screen vs. Physical object
LCD vs e-ink
7″ vs 4″ vs 10″ vs Goddamn, no one’s going to try to read this on a Blackberry are they?
epub vs azw/mobi vs pdf vs invent your own, you fancy little man
– – –

And then all the considerations of size, binding, distribution method, and cost for a physical, probably paper, book, zine, or reading object. If I was dealing with a publisher to breeze my beautiful little thoughts out to the minds of the world, it’d be something I’d think about in an idealized way and then gripe about how my grim corporate overlords know nothing and screwed up my perfect vision. As that I’m DIY-ing, my options are wide, wide open but the money to do much just isn’t there.

For me, finding a format to work for a given piece of writing involves running through these questions:
1) How long is it?
2) Any pictures?
a) Do these pictures need to be precisely placed?
b) Do they require color?
3) Any videos/links/computer-specific things?
4) How vulnerable is the reading experience to distraction?
5) What are the relative merits of it being easily reproducible or carefully crafted?

Here’s something we did a few years ago that was especially shaped by Questions 1, 4, and 5. FU1K: Fiction Under 1000 words. A print and fold short story. A physical reading experience that was easy for the reader to print, transport, and have a distraction-free reading experience. More background on that here. I think I might try this again.

FU1K: Crescents
FU1K: Submarine

These are questions I’m batting around as TITLE takes shape as a physical thing. One thing I’d love to do is release each issue in a completely different form.
Ex: Issue #1: Zine. Issue #2: Loaf of Bread. Issue #3: Geocaching App