Naked Came the Collaborators
Posted by: Keir Graff
I seem to remember a book written by 13 authors…oh, yes: Naked Came the Manatee (1997). And, in fact, Carl Hiaasen, Elmore Leonard, et al appropriated the concept from a practical joke called Naked Came the Stranger (1969). Now there’s an Internet start-up that’s hoping to turn a hoax and a lark into a business model. According to Publishers Weekly (“WEbook Launches Collaborative Book-Writing Site,” by Lynn Andriani), WEbook “is hoping to do for novel writing what American Idol did for music and what Wikipedia did for information.”
Essentially, WEbook hopes that people will come to its site to write books and then vote on which ones should be published.
Within the site, there are dozens of (mostly nonfiction) subject areas where members can start writing. Members can designate their work as "private," which allows them to keep the rights and share it only with their friends, or make it "public," which is where WEbook makes its money: if a book garners enough votes from the WEbook community, WEbook copyedits, typesets and publishes the book, giving the author and contributors a 5% royalty on sales.
Their first book, Pandora, a thriller with 17 authors (but 34 total contributors), came out last month. Is it any good? Sample chapters are available at WEbook. Sample paragraphs:
Pandora took a deep breath. "You know I love you, but I can’t be with someone I don’t trust," she exhaled. "Is there something I should know?"
Chris shook his head in disbelief. How could the woman resting in the next room, a woman he’d only met twice, know something that only five other people in the world knew? How had she divined the secret Chris had carefully guarded since he was eighteen? What the hell was her secret?
Oh look, here’s another one: Naked Came the Phoenix (2001).