Wiki, Wiki, What?

Can you believe it was a year ago that I set out on this wacky writing endeavor of mine? A whole year. Seems simultaneously eternal and brief, somehow.

During that time I’ve done some silly promotional stunts. I’ve unveiled a proof copy live via webcam. I did a hunt-and-seek giveaway over three websites. I even enlisted one of the most evil men in history to pimp my stories. I’ve been dumb enough to get on stage and read from my book, and brave enough to attend book-clubs consisting of women wearing hats.

As I enter my second year of writing for a pittance, I’ve vowed to make those former stunts look positively sane by comparison. This year, I want to expand on how much you, the reader, can get involved with these books of mine.

When the first Molly Fyde book was being put together, one of my favorite parts of the process was getting future readers involved with the cover design. Thanks to the input of interested fans, the book’s face went from hideous to comely. It then went on to win a Covey Award for most eye-catching cover.

For my upcoming book, HALF WAY HOME, I want to ratchet up the insanity. I would like to give readers a chance to become a part of the creative process. 25-35 readers will get a rough copy of the book at cost + shipping (~$10 or so). They will then be able to contribute in one of several ways:

1. Nit-pickers. Some of you probably love nothing more than picking nits. See a plot hole that drives you nuts? Take umbrage with my made-up science? Hate my characters’ names? Pick away.

2. Grammar Nazis. Pretty self-explanatory. And yeah, you people will actually have a purpose in life. For once.

3. Armchair writers. Think you could come up with a better ending? Wish my dialog could be tweaked? Wonder why I killed so-and-so and not so-and-so? Here’s your chance to let me have it.

4. Reviewers and blurbers. The copy all of you are getting will be considered an Advance Reading Copy. If you read it and absolutely love the story (most of you will), you can go ahead and review the book as-is. This is how blurbs get on books before they are officially released. Go create a blog named “Chicago Times Tribune” and write something up. These other fools might get a paragraph hidden within the folds — your words will shine on the cover! Once you’re done, spend your time in the forums arguing against all the changes everyone else wants to make.

So, that’s the idea. A book with one author, but dozens of guiding hands. Sound crazy? It’s actually how most of your favorite books are created. Agents, editors, associate editors, publishers, spouses, art directors, interns … a dozen people might influence the final product. But this will be done out in the open, right in my forums. You’ll have a physical copy of the book to mark up, a piece of literary history. Your name and contributions will be listed in the acknowledgments. And depending on your level of involvement, maybe you’ll get a few copies of the final product at cost so you can brag to your friends.

How will it all work, exactly? That’ll be up for us to decide as we go along. So let’s start with three threads: A sign-me-up thread for volunteers and general discussion, an argue-over-the-cover thread for Photoshop Phanatics, and a change-this-or-else thread for requests for modifications.

See you in the forums!

4 responses to “Wiki, Wiki, What?”

  1. You mean this whole time, I could’ve been paying you to edit your writing? And you just NOW decide to share that? Man, I’ve been WRONGED. ;)

    BTW, readers–HWH is awesome. :D

  2. :D

    I prefer to look at it like this: if you know you’re gonna want this book, you can get it for much cheaper, and months ahead of time, and all you have to do is write an Amazon review to get away with it. You’ll also get to hob-nob with the likes of you (Lisa), and get your name featured prominently in the book.

    How’s that for a re-frame? ;)

  3. That is a good re-frame! I will be glad to help with general discussion and the change this or else… and of course – my grammar nazi will come out too – of course :)

  4. Hugh, I reaize I’m about a year too late, but would love to participate in an early release process of a future story. I’ll keep hopping around to look for more recent links.
    Regards, Robin

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