Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
February 2, 2007 8:54 AM

Publishing House Penguin Launches A Wiki Novel

You know I love books. You know I love technology. You know my passion for social media. When I saw this news release from Reuters: Publisher Launches Its First "Wiki" Novel (hat tip to MarketingVox), I got all excited.

"'This is an experiment. It may end up like reading a bowl of alphabet spaghetti,' Jeremy Ettinghausen, head of digital publishing at Penguin UK said, adding there were no plans as yet to publish the completed work... 'I'll be happy so long as it manages to avoid becoming some sort of robotic-zombie-assassins-against-African-ninjas-in-space-narrated-by-a-Papal-Tiara type of thing.'"

You can check out the wiki novel, amillionpenguins.com, here: PenguinWiki - A Million Penguins.

This sounds way too much like a PR play than a calculated strategy to see if a bunch of people can write, edit and produce a sensible novel. Something is not sitting right with me and this concept.

I'm guessing that the better books out there start with the end in mind and the author (or authors) is (are) able to construct a vision of how to get there through story and character development. The amillionpenguins.com reminds me more of that game we would play in sleepaway camp where someone starts a sentence and the next person must continue the story. There's never much rhyme or reason.

So here I sit, grappling with my thoughts. On one hand, I can't imagine anything of substantive quality coming out of the wiki. On the other hand, I want to applaud Penguin Publishing for leveraging a wiki to see what kind of literature the wisdom of crowds can publish.

By Mitch Joel


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