Books From Scratch Harkens Back to the Age of Serials
Books From Scratch is a collaborative writing platform in which writers submit chapters to continue a story and readers upvote their favorite submissions. And like other crowdsourcing sites, Books From Scratch is dedicated to vetting the best collaborative tales and preparing them for publication. The startup recently launched a crowdfunding campaign on Pubslush to get the website off the ground. Founder Lori Colbeck has high hopes for the campaign and looks forward to a future when short, serial fiction will become a prominent genre in the industry. Following Colbeck shares her vision for the soon-to-be-launched site.
How are you changing the publishing process?
Books From Scratch is taking an entirely different approach to developing books. Genre manuscripts will have many co-authors with chapters vetted by readers. Unique plotlines will be encouraged to avoid the trappings of groupthink. Essentially, the readers are the acquisition editors. Any book published can be considered a recommendation from one group of book lovers to another.
What inspired you to launch Books From Scratch?
The project was inspired by education, in a roundabout way. The concept emerged during a graduate class on changing content delivery. During a discussion on the short attention span of readers, one of the solutions presented was that serials and novellas fit readers' needs the best in today's fast-paced society. The idea of a chapter-at-a-time (not unlike Choose Your Own Adventure) story developed quickly after that, both for writers and for readers.
What are the most important trends in publishing?
We've seen so much change in the past 10 years and it's just going to continue. There is a lot of innovation in delivery formats, especially in mobile technology. People are now reading on their phones, or tablets, whenever they get a spare moment. There will also be a continued reversion to novellas and serials and flash fiction to better fit those platforms.
Who is your competition?
There are other collaborative storytelling websites on the internet, ranging from word-by-word, sentence-by-sentence, and chapter-by-chapter formats, but they all stop short of actual publication.
Alternately, some publishers involve readers in the publishing process by way of crowd-sourcing, but it is primarily for the marketing of books. Books From Scratch stands apart from these websites and publishers by bringing readers and writers together and getting out of their way, creatively speaking, then polishing what they've produced.
To offset the legal and development costs associated with starting the website, a Pubslush campaign has been started at booksfromscratch.pubslush.com and runs through the end of September. Pubslush is a niche crowd-funding platform that caters primarily to the literary community. Some of the rewards offered to supporters include the opportunity to view the website before the general public and the prospect of contributing chapters earlier than others, increasing the chance for possible publication.