In a recent rant to Mark about the difficulty of getting an agent or a publisher to let Gideon's Dawn and Waymaker back in the door of the publishing world, I quipped that it wouldn't be long before the internet would find a way to grab the publishing industry right out from under traditional publishers' noses, cut out the middle man and bring writers and readers together more directly. The music industry has already been pummeled by this revolution (Seen any Tower Record stores lately?), and after a bit of legislation to try to tame the tiger, savvy companies like Apple have stepped in to fill the vacuum in a legitimate way. Personally, I haven't bought an actual CD in almost two years, but I buy music all the time, one song at a time. That's the new normal.
The same is true for the visual arts. One look at http://www.deviantart.com/ will tell you that.
So what's the new normal going to be for the book world? What will happen when book publishing and the internet really, fully collide?
Well, maybe this is a sign of things to come: The Wikiklesia Project
ABOUT WIKIKLESIA: Conceived and established in May 2007, the Wikiklesia Project is an experiment in on-line collaborative publishing. The format is virtual, self-organizing, participatory - from purpose to publication in just a few weeks. All proceeds from the Wikiklesia Project will be contributed to the Not For Sale campaign.
Wikiklesia values sustainability with minimal structure. We long to see a church saturated with decentralized cooperation. The improbable notion of books that effectively publish themselves is one of many ways that can help move us closer to this global-ecclesial connectedness. 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? Wikiklesia was created to answer these kinds of questions.
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 books 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.
Watch out Publishing World. The internet is sniffing in your direction.