NEW YORK — It started with a story for a magazine. In 2008, during a trip to Japan, New Yorker staff writer Dana Goodyear decided to write about cellphone novels, a phenomenon — involving young women writing largely for young women, posting fiction from their phones to media-sharing websites — that was then shaking up Japanese publishing.
“It seemed like a great way to explore the literary culture,” she remembers, although by the time she got home, the parameters had shifted, with the effects of the global economic crisis rippling through the American book industry. “I began to wonder whether this might offer a sliver of hope for American publishers, although more interesting was the notion that these young women were creating an independent literary community. What would the features of an American version be? What would that have been like for me?”