Inspired by agile publishing experiments at innovative publisher Sourcebooks, indie author Sabrina Ricci has decided to engage in an agile publishing experiment of her own.
Ricci has launched The2012ebook.com and is building a community that is giving her feedback that she is using to craft her next story, which is slated for publication on Dec. 21, 2012, a day that some are associating with apocalypse.
In an email to Digital Book World, Ricci said that the Sourcebooks experiment inspired her to try her own hand at agile publishing.
The Sourcebooks agile publishing project with futurist David Houle was first announced at Digital Book World 2012. Over the following months, Houle and Sourcebooks created his next book with participation from an online community. The first section of the completed work was made available in August.
Sourcebooks isn’t the only company dabbling in agile publishing. Amazon’s original content division Amazon Studios is publishing Blackburn Burrow, a digital-only comic set in a small Appalachian town overrun by evil powers during the Civil War, to see how audiences react to the story. The comic is based on a screenplay that Amazon is considering making into a movie.
Scholastic, the large children’s and young adult book publisher and distributor, has also dabbled in agile publishing with its transmedia projects 39 Clues and Infinity Ring. For the former, which has been a hit for four years with 15 million copies of the books in print and 2 million users on its website, the Scholastic editorial team monitors reactions to characters and plot-lines on the website and uses that information to help develop future pieces of content. For the latter, which was release in Sept. 2012, the name of the series itself was chosen by reader votes.
“Author Decides to Crowd Fund, Crowd Finish 2012 Book.”
While many debate the meaning of the ending of the Mayan Calendar on December 21 of this year, one author hopes to have it point to a new age of collaborative publishing.
Sabrina Ricci is using crowd sourcing to bring the 2012 eBook to life as a living metaphor of what the author hopes the end of the Mayan calendar means for humanity—a new age of cooperation and collective creativity.
To this end, the interactive environment for the participants to read the current version and interact with the author is itself being developed through crowd funding.
“Currently, the project is over 60-percent of the way funded,” said Ricci, who put her project on Indie Go Go, in spite of her traditional publishing background at Simon & Schuster, where she was an ebook developer.
Even before the funds are released, a community of reader-editor-contributors are forming at The2012ebook.com. Some are subscribing to the blog, while others are commenting and even reaching out privately to help brainstorm the next chapter. Ricci’s goal is to self-publish the ebook before December 21.
“Agile publishing may or may not be the next big thing in self-publishing,” said Ricci, who has already successfully published flash fiction ebooks. “However, it will dramatically impact book success because by having reader feedback in real time, the author will ultimately produce a book readers want to own and read.”
Ricci’s experience working with ebooks as they find a place within traditional publishing gives her a unique perspective on the future of publishing.
“The publishing industry is in a state of flux. Experimenting and embracing change is the best way to be successful in the world of ebooks. Just as we have to do so with all the challenges of the digital age,” she said about how the Mayan calendar informed her project.
Sabrina Ricci is the recipient of the 2012 Oscar Dystel Fellowship (http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2012/simon-schuster-e-book-developer-wins-nyu-digital-publishing-fellowship/). She has a M.S. in publishing from NYU and a creative writing certificate from UCLA Extension. In the past she has worked and written for Simon & Schuster, Random House, LIFE.com, Santa Barbara Magazine, and Noozhawk. Currently she freelances at NBC Publishing and The Experiment Publishing. In addition to writing her novella, she is building her startup, Write or Read (http://writeorread.com), which will provide self-published authors of ebooks with valuable metrics and insights to help boost their success. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.