Friday, October 10, 2008


My problem is that I'm an idea man. I come up with ideas, but am completely powerless to do anything with my ideas. I've been pining for years about how the publishing industry is behind the times, runs on a very closed model that is harmful to everybody but themselves, and that writing can be, and in many cases, should be, a collaborative effort.

"Why doesn't somebody create a web site where people can write collaboratively, share their books, and then vote on the best book to be published? Why can't royalties be shared among authors, editors, and those who give feedback?"

Well, enter Webook. Get it? Webook? Isn't that clever? It's like We-book (we write a book), and web-book (a book on the web), all at the same time. Ha ha, zany!

Anyway, if I had sat down and designed a site that met all of the things I've been whining about, Webook would be it. You can start a project, collaborate in an open or closed environment, work on other projects, or just give feedback. Projects are voted on, and Webook already has their first published book out. And their terms of service looks pretty decent.

I can understand that many authors, especially those who have already been published, might be a little bit leery. But let me take the risk for you. I've already signed up, and posted chapter one of a book I'm working on. If you'd like to give it a try, please feel free to drop in. Or maybe you have a book that is out of print, and not doing anything? Post it!

Now, let me say up front, you may go there and find a lot wrong with the site. There is a lot of content that is very rough. It's the first draft attempted by somebody who probably has no experience with writing. But what better way to learn than through a community of similarly struggling writers. Person A may know nothing about hooks, but can write a good scene description. Person B is a hook master, but struggles with descriptions. Put the two together and they start to learn and grow. Those familiar with, know this is a healthy process, and one that should be encouraged.

So, if I've piqued your interest, sign up. And if you do, make sure to let me know, and add me as a friend.

And finally, let me leave you with a quote from the founder of Webook. One that I could not possibly agree with more.

"[Webook's] biggest challenge is to contribute to the evolution of the traditional publishing business, which is still dominated by a few large publishers who wield enormous control over the titles that reach the bookstores. While in the past decade the music, software, travel, financial, and other major sectors have shifted the power from the few to the many, publishing continues to function as an exclusive, traditional business."

I, for one, wish them good luck.

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