I was wondering if anyone else here saw this Time article from back in 2009 (most of it's under a pay-wall now, so you can only read it if you have a Time subscription): http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1873122-1,00.html
It's one of the things that inspired me to write a web serial, and I think it's really shaped a lot of my philosophy when it comes to weblit. I don't have a Time subscription, so unfortunately I can't read the thing in its entirety anymore. However, I put some of my favorite quotes in my commonplace book, and I just figured I'd share them with you, as a potential conversation-starter. (Hopefully this is all fair-use. These quotes don't constitute a significant portion of the article by any stretch, so it's probably legal to share.)
"A lot of headlines and blogs to the contrary, publishing isn't dying. But it is evolving, and so radically that we may hardly recognize it when it's done. Literature interprets the world, but it's also shaped by that world, and we're living through one of the greatest economic and technical transformations since--well, since the 18th century. The novel won't stay the same: it has always been exquisitely sensitive to newness, hence the name. It's about to renew itself again, into something cheaper, wilder, trashier, more democratic and more deliriously fertile than ever."
In all honesty, 'cheaper, wilder, trashier,' is in the back of my head a lot of the time when I'm writing. I vaguely considered using it as the tagline for my serial, but decided against it.
I always get really bitter when web novels don't hook me in the first paragraph (they rarely do).
"Old Publishing is stately, quality-controlled and relatively expensive. New Publishing is cheap, promiscuous and unconstrained by paper, money or institutional taste. If Old Publishing is, say, a tidy, well-maintained orchard, New Publishing is a riotous jungle: vast and trackless and chaotic, full of exquisite orchids and undiscovered treasures and a hell of a lot of noxious weeds."
From what I've seen thus far, I'm actually pretty impressed by the lack of too many 'noxious weeds.' The average quality of writing on this web site is a helluva lot higher than the stuff I've seen on any other democratic website (democratic as in everyone can hypothetically post their writing here.) I guess it makes sense, since the process of getting something on Web Fiction Guide is harder than getting something on fanfiction.net (Not in a bad way. Just in a, "You have to apply" sort of way).