Merc on collaborative authoring

Mike Bazeley at the San Jose Mercury news writes today about authors open texts online for others to edit.
He focuses on J.D.’s experiment posting his chapters for Darknet (blogged here by Pete a few weeks ago), but he and I spoke earlier this week and he mentions me at the end of the article:

Nonetheless, Lasica said he would probably use a Wiki again if he writes another book. His editor originally questioned the idea of “publishing” his book on the Web before it is printed. But Lasica said he supports the Wiki experiment. In fact, his editor is now exploring whether to set up a Wiki where authors can help edit each other’s work.
Lasica said the only major change he would make next time is to put his writings online earlier in the process.
“I just think this is where our culture is headed,” Lasica said, “where things are more collaborative.”
Private act
Christian Crumlish, another East Bay writer, has been using both a blog and a Wiki ( to pull together his upcoming book, “The Power of Many: How the Living Web Is Transforming Politics, Business, and Everyday Life.”
So far just the glossary is editable. But he also pulled together a small group of friends, acquaintances and strangers to help him write and edit the book. Like Lasica, he sees the value of letting his peers review his work.
“It’s an intensely private act,” Crumlish said about writing. “Like going to the bathroom. And no one should be around. . . . Nonetheless, my years on the Internet [have] taught me that I work better around other people. It’s like building a cathedral. You need a thousand people to help you.”






One response to “Merc on collaborative authoring”

  1. Pete Avatar

    He also mentions Dan Gillmor’s We the Media.
    Christian, do you think you could have used any other analogy besides going to the bathroom?
    (The article starts off with a contrary opinion on the value of the Internet; the URL that Bazeley can’t quote in a “family newspaper” is here.)