So you want your voice to be heard, but you’re no future rock star – you’re a writer. What are your options? You can labor for months or years on your manuscript, pack it up in a padded envelope, send it off to agents – or even straight to publishers – and hope for the best. You can decide to go solo, find a self-publishing platform, and figure out how to produce, edit, market, and sell your book on your own. Or you can go to WEbook.com – a web-enabled next-generation publisher. On WEbook, aspiring writers get instantaneous feedback from a community of other readers and writers, and a chance to become a published writer without getting an agent or going it alone.
WEbook.com is all about the power of community. The Web site is home to thousands of readers, writers, reviewers and other lovers of the written word. “WEbookers” read, write, contribute to multi-author writing projects, give and get feedback, and, ultimately, help choose which books get published by WEbook.
WEbook turns the traditional publishing model on its head by using the American Idol model of talent discovery. Every three to four months, WEbook runs a voting and publication cycle. Writers submit completed manuscripts, and the entire WEbook community pitches in to vote for their favorites. WEbook selects its published books from submissions that make it into the top 10 percent of each voting cycle. The theory is that tens of thousands of real WEbook readers will be better at picking winning books than will a few isolated editors and agents.
Is this the future of publishing? Only time will tell. For now, WEbook is gearing up for its second publication cycle, which begins accepting submissions on October 21. (Voting begins on November 4th – election day, naturally.) You can check out the talent, and get your own writing in the running by visiting www.WEbook.com. An extra bonus? Unlike American Idol, there’s no waiting outside a high-school gym for hours in the middle of winter just to get an audition.
Melissa Jones is the Content Manager at WEbook.com. She lives in Brooklyn, and she will receive her MFA in fiction from Columbia University in October 2008. Her short fiction has appeared in numerous literary magazines, and she is one of 17 co-authors of WEbook’s first published novel, Pandora.