With the goal of becoming "Big Publishing's worst nightmare," best-selling author Stephen Edwin King (1947-) for the first time in modern book publishing, allowed fans in July 2000 to visit his website and download the first installment of his then-new novel, The Plant. To do this, he cut book publisher Simon & Schuster out of the deal.
"The strict one-way flow of material, from creator to corporation to audience, is breaking down," explained David Streitfeld of the Washington Post.
The Internet has empowered more people to communicate directly with fans. The music industry continues to explode with thousands of aspiring musicians who use websites to give their music away.
For writers, the possibilities are exciting. Over 500,000 readers downloaded King's novella Riding the Bullet in April 2000.
"I love my editors, and I like my publisher," King wrote at his website, "but if I could break some trail for all the mid-list writers, literary writers and just plain marginalized writers who see a future outside the mainstream, that's great."
The popular storyteller has a library of classic creepy tales that include his unforgettable first novel Carrie (1974) about a gawky 16-year old girl who is humiliated then uses her supernatural powers for revenge; The Shining (1977); Cujo (1981); and The Green Mile (1996).
In 1999, King was hit by a van near his Maine home and began writing again five weeks after the accident. "The first 500 words were uniquely terrifying," he recalled. "It was as if I'd never written anything before. I stepped from one word to the next like an old man finding his way across a stream on a zigzag line of wet stones."
A hellish writer who always has a good story to tell, King once said, "When you find a book that has both a good story and good words, treasure that book."
Make every story a good story to tell.