Saturday, May 31, 2008

Revolutionizing the publishing industry in American Idol style

American Idol gave a chance to names you haven't heard before like Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood to become famous singers. But how about writers? is there any similar platform that like American Idol will give talented writers a chance to bypass the industry's typical boundaries and hit the spotlight? well, actually there is. It's called: WEbook.

What's WEbook? here's the intro on their website: "WEbook is the home of groundbreaking Community-Sourced Content. We hope to do for publishing what American Idol did for music. Founded in 2007, WEbook is the vision of a few occasionally erudite people who believe there are millions of talented writers whose work is ignored by the staid and exclusive world of book publishing. It just makes sense: If you create a dynamic, irreverent, and open place for writers and readers to meet, write, react, and think together, the results will be extraordinary. Cue, an online platform that allows writers, editors, reviewers, illustrators, and others to join forces to create great works of fiction and non-fiction, thrillers and essays, short stories, children’s books and more. The WEbook community will rate and elevate the very best work for publication under the WEbook imprint."

For aspired writers WEbook offers the chance of being published. The screening process is a bit unique - the community itself vote for its favorite content, and a la American Idol, help to choose the next published books for the WEbook imprint. The selected authors also enjoy two big advantages - zero costs and the best royalites in the business (according to WEbook) - 50% of all profits generated from the sale of WEbook titles.

But WEbook is more than a platform of ‘get the love of the audience and get famous’ a la American Idol. It is also a community of authors, editors, reviewers, illustrators and others who meet online and join forces together to create
the great next books.

WEbook published their first book last February, a thriller titled
Pandora (a joint effort of 17 authors!), and according to Springwise they have plans to publish another 3 to 5 books this year. Beginning July 4, the WEbook community will begin selecting the lead candidates for the next publication cycle.

This is definitely a non-traditional publishing model and I like it! It combines the advantages of both the digital age and social networking/online communities, creating a revolutionary platform to create great new books. I am not saying this should come instead of the traditional platforms, but it’s definitely time to have a lit version of American Idol that will offer anonymous talents an alternative way to become the bestsellers of tomorrow.

It’s also worthwhile to pay attention to the investors backing this venture and their team. These guys are serious and mean business, and my guess is that they aim higher than just being a lit version of American Idol. I believe that they would like to see WEbook revolutionizing publishing in the way Yair Goldfinger (one of the investors) and his colleagues in ICQ revolutionized instant messaging and the online world as a whole. Just wait and see.