March 08, 2004

Book Making on Blogs: Readers as Editors

There are so many now. Dan Gillmor was the first that I know of to use his blog to help write his book. Then JD Lasica began writing more and more on digital media and copyright in preparation for his book, and he's posted asking for feedback. John Battelle started his search blog as content management and discussion for his book. And now Jay Rosen has posted a chapter for an O'Reilly book he is contributing.

I believe this is a reflection of the way people work in person, where when writing something, especially non-fiction, they interview and discuss the ideas with knowledgeable people in their topic focus. But blogging to discuss the book and ideas is a new manifestation, as it works to collapse the space and time that restrict discussions in physical space.

Now, if four respected and knowledgeable people do it, is it a trend? I'd say it's at least a very constructive use of blogs, and certainly it is a variation of my contention that blogs are like a conference (which was the basis for this panel I put together) without the requirements of same-time and same-space, for the sharing and iterating of knowledge.

Posted by Mary Hodder at March 8, 2004 09:54 AM | TrackBack

"You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he's really sick and they won't link to him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think they're both faggots and they won't link to either of them. And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people bloggin' a chapter of a book and logging out. They may think it's an organization. And can you, can you imagine 50 people a day,I said 50 people a day bloggin' a book and logging out. And friends they may thinks it's a movement."
(with apologies to Arlo Guthrie)

Sorry, I couldn't resist after seeing that last line. :-)

Posted by: bryan at March 8, 2004 07:59 PM


It's probably more common in non-fiction, especially among tech savvy writers. There aren't that many blogs by fiction writers, who are talented with words, but often computer-phobic (unless they write SF)

I've created Open Source Novel Blog

to support my novel on a wiki

Readers are invited to edit what already is a complete novel, using the metaphor of open source software development.

I used to do screenwriting, so I'm not territorial with my words.

Posted by: Rick Heller at March 9, 2004 08:32 AM