Have you ever scanned the shelves of a bookstore or browsed Amazon and thought to yourself, “I wish there were a book I could buy that spoke to my tastes”?
Do you prefer a particular type of read—say, Cambellian sci-fi with high politics, or time-travel romance with cross-dressing werewolves, or literary musings on the deep existentialist nature of pawnshops—that no one seems to be writing anymore?
“Why can’t someone write the book I want to read?”
My name is Oren Litwin, and I want you to join me in an experiment in audience-driven writing. I believe that anyone should be able to propose a general scheme for a book, join with other fans to provide funding, and then pay authors to write books that qualify. It’s an exciting idea that flips the normal model on its head.
Typically, an author writes the book first, before finding a publisher or an audience. Often, the books that get written are not the books that anyone wants to publish; neglected manuscripts gather dust on millions of hard drives as a result. The struggles of aspiring novelists to get a book contract are proverbial. And even if you do get published, there’s no guarantee that anyone will be interested in reading it.
Audience-funded book deals provide another way—a way for audiences to get what they want, and for authors to benefit from an additional business model for their work. Best of all, readers can ask for things that no one might have thought of in advance, enriching our literature in ways impossible to predict.
Our first experiment was an anthology of military-fiction short stories. But that’s only the beginning. My goal is to allow anyone to suggest any kind of story, or even nonfiction, and see if it gets enough backers and money to attract quality authors. If this model catches on, everyone will benefit, and everyone will have more good books to read.