Typos are hell to deal with, it’s a good thing that most of us don’t communicate via crop circles anymore! The medium really helps make the message. It helps spread knowledge. It is how stories are told, whether ’round the fire or on Skype or on your Kindle.
Early on, authorship was inconsequential. A member of the tribe… a scribe, a shaman. Probably all three of them and more contributed to the great early stories whose plots morphed into what we call the Classics. Still, we apply the single-author description to many artifacts that are clearly the sum of multiple writers. In fact, a type of pattern-discerning software was developed specifically to determine “authorship attribution” and has been applied to everything from the Bible to the Barde.
The Culture of Authorship
“Literary giants” is not just a cliche, but a term that indicates where we are in the progression of content. Not that we are all working on “that great American novel” but producing a higher-quality experience is what all content is about, right?
The history of the book is a history of enlightenment, but the development of publishing the book had a natural star: the author. No one thought of producing a book written in collaboration by a group. Not only was it impractical but it did not fit the paradigm.
As we know, this meme was extended to Hollywood, where the star may often make or break a new production. And certainly popular music still relies on celebrity. But what if the next wave is… collaborative authoring? There are several arguments why this is now possible, but are we ready for real-time, collaborative authoring? In other words, can a tribe produce and market a book?
Even the expert on tribes, Seth Godin, advises authors to either “give up more and more freedom and cash to publishers in exchange for the publishers taking the risk of finding, alerting and selling to strangers, or …start to organize a tribe, to build permission, to engage with readers before the book exists and to sell those friends on their work.”
But what if the author is the tribe? Talk about deep thoughts…