I have already written a post about author Silvia Hartmann and the Naked Writer Project. Holly McDowell has taken her writing process for King Solomon’s Wives to the web in a different way. As reported by the Huffington Post Ms. McDowell has engaged her readers before the book ever hits the shelf. The concept here is to have readers guide the story along using the latest in tracking software. The author knows where readers stop within the manuscript, which chapters they re-read and what characters they want to know more about. All this is possible through her publisher, Coliloquy, which allows readers to guide a book along on it’s development. This latest trend in digital publishing is called an interactive serial novel. Readers of King Solomon’s Wives look forward to a new episode in the story released every three to four months. They can then vote on where the story goes from there.
I am intrigued by the concept and the technology that brings it to life. I don’t foresee us facing a glut of novels written by general consensus in the near or distant future, but anything that brings readers and authors together for the better of the work can only be a good thing. As for myself I will file this along with the Naked Writer Project as something I may take part in if I have the right project. And really how many of us already do some level of this on our own in our limited circles. Every time we share pages with a spouse, friend, writing circle are we not engaging in this same behavior? Do we not listen and make changes based on what our readers say? Like everything else on the web this just kicks things up a notch.