Brave or Stupid? You Decide
I am always impressed when someone with quite a lot to lose does something a little out there. I think it is fair to say that Penguin has something to lose. Their latest offering, A Million Penguins, is a delight. It is effectively a creative writing wiki. Their intro says it all:
A Million Penguins is an experiment in creative writing and community. Anyone can join in. Anyone can write. Anyone can edit. Let’s see if the crowds are not only wise, but creative. Or will too many cooks spoil the broth?
If you want to take part, please take a moment to read the technical and ethical guidelines shown on the left. We will ask you to register to participate (create an account here), and to look at the terms and conditions before you join in. But the most important thing we ask is that if you are not happy to have your contributions edited, altered or removed by other contributors, think carefully before signing up.
You can follow the progress of the wikinovel here or at the wikinovel blog where a Penguin editor will be writing regular reading reports on the work in progress.
Can a million penguins sitting at a million keyboards together write a novel? Let’s find out.
But is it really NOVEL?
Well it is not really as just a quick look at ONE or TWO sites [Not forgetting of course the massively successful non-fiction wikibook Wikipedia which even judges have been know to use]. But it is a major publisher taking advantage of technology and harnessing readers/writers/users to forge a new type of product. I wonder will it catch on with the imprimatur of such a distinguished publisher?
If it does another question will arise, just as it has for other successful sites, where is the revenue firstly and closely following that who owns the revenue? There is some half hearted discussion surrounding YouTube possibly paying users. How will this site make money for Penguin? There do no seem to be any ads, they might sell some more books but is the end result to produce a print title that so many people are deeply invested in that it becomes a best seller? I just do not know and that is why I admire the move, it is not innovative but it is exciting and brave for a company with much at stake.
Good luck Penguin