our new publishing house

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I offered to write a book for Emergent™. They laughed, because I don’t have a platform. It takes a whole lot of promotion and potential buyers to get a traditionally published book to “tip”, and make a profit. So, I understand.

But I did find out that they get about 6 book proposals a day. Of course no publishing house is going to take those on and even attempt to publish them. But we live in the era of the longtail. There is more value in the thousands of unpublished stories of life in the fringes, than a hundred published works by those with a platform.

The Idea

If I can figure out how to track any of these people down, I will invite them to write their book publicly on a site based on a wiki. It will encourage collaboration and community feed back. And when it’s “done”, we’ll publish via lulu.

Take the Plunge






5 responses to “our new publishing house”

  1. are not, to my thinking, Emergent at all.” (Heck, we’ve got “not emergent” books, as well.) Tony Jones agreed. So did Mike Morrell, Anthony Smith, and others in the comments on Reiss’ article. Writing on his personal blog last month,Thomas Knoll lamented, “I offered to write a book for Emergent™. They laughed, because I don’t have a platform. It takes a whole lot of promotion and potential buyers to get a traditionally published book to ‘tip’, and make a profit. So, I understand.

  2. Pat Avatar

    Wonderful idea.

    Here’s where I think the em-church went back to old media (and Aaron’s spot on). When it became important to have conferences and gatherings to talk together. When that happened, the emchurch needed Voices and Leaders. The way we knew them was by the old ways: the books that were popular (e.g. McLaren).

    I know a couple of folks who were part of the movement, and were known within it, but didn’t publish a book, so they never got stage time. They considered writing books to get there, but I think they finally thought better of it (or the books are sitll on the way).

  3. Neal Locke Avatar

    Yeah, I’m with you on this all the way. Try suggesting to Emergent authors that they do something radical, like make online copies of their books available for free…and I got slapped down (well, that and ignored) by none other than Tony Jones.

    Someone pointed out to me that the old media is crumbling away at the seams, but the one sub-category that is solidly on the rise is the “Christian” bookshelf. So Emergent is unwilling to kill the goose that laid the golden egg. Sad.

  4. John L Avatar

    Communication paradigms are changing fast. Bill Gibson said, “the future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed yet.”

    If you have a collaborative book idea, an open platform is already in place to publish it at the Wikiklesia Project (www.wikiklesia.org) – ISBN, web presence, etc.. all free to any viable project. The Wikiklesia Project won the 2007 SNCR Award of Merit and was started with four core objectives:

    * CREATE a self-sustaining, para-ecclesial organization without solidified leadership - a franchise that changes hands as each new project begins. 
    * GATHER a diverse cross-section of the virtually connected church into a common forum to discuss the most important issues facing contemporary Christianity.
    * GIVE voice to emerging writers along side accomplished authors.
    * RAISE money for benevolent organizations.

    Wikiklesia may be the world’s first self-perpetuating nomadic business model: raising money for charities – giving voice to emerging writers and artists – generating a continuous stream of new anthologies covering all manner of relevant topics.

    Nobody remains in control. There is no board of directors. The franchise changes hands as quickly as new projects are created.

    The questions Wikiklesia is attempting to answer: Can a publishing organization thrive without centralized leadership? Is perpetual, self-organizing book publishing possible? Can literary quality be maintained in a distributed publishing paradigm?

    Personally, I would like to see other kinds of open-platform publishing efforts emerge en masse. The key is attracting quality, which is why I think there needs to be a clear objective / topic, and a shared editorial review panel for each project. Otherwise, it remains little more than a group-blog-cum-Lulu.

  5. dydimustk Avatar

    John, thanks for all that detail on the wikiklesia project. I do hope it continues to receive recognition and generate traction. I also hope that many more ‘open-platform publishing efforts’ will emerge. I was personally unable to get involved in the wikiklesia project, and have had a very difficult time determining how to dive in on round two. For this (and other reasons) I am interested in developing a space where many people can collaborate on many works at the same time. We do need to be thoughtful about our writing, but not in lieu of getting the ideas out there.

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