This is probably the most challenging and definitely the most interesting project we have ever undertaken. And I can’t tell you how thrilled we are to announce this.
So what is this book about? The book is about ‘Unconferences‘. Well, what is it? Think of BarCamps, FOOcamp, BlogCamps, BloggerCons and yeah, WikiCamp. Well, these events believe that the collective intelligence of the audience is far greater than that of the speaker. So, instead of just the speaker talking, the crowd is encouraged to participate in the discussion. Ask anyone who has attended any unconference and they’ll tell you that its far more fun than any straight jacket conference.
So, why is this book so special? This book will be one of the world’s first on this subject. No, I’m not kidding. If Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, O’Reilly, Powells, Oxford Book Store don’t have it, its just not there. In fact, search for ‘unconfernce book’ on google and see what you get.
That’s nothing. The most special feature is that this book will be authored collaboratively by people worldwide. These are people who have helped organize or attended unconferences around the world. And at last count, there were in excess of a hundred unconferences that took place worldwide.
The best part is that this book will be openly written on a wiki. It follows the same spirit of the unconference, where every one pitches in to help. This means that you can participate in this book. If you have attended either a normal conference or an unconference, you can chip in.
This is an open book. It’s for all to see. You can actually witness the progress of the book week by week, day by day. Of course, there will be chaos out there. There will be confusion. Heck, It wouldn’t be an unconference book without that. Unconferences thrive on chaos. But just like the successful events we have helped conduct, things magically fall into place. And guess what, its a far superior product and we all have good fun doing it.
I’ve always thought that book writing is a long, lonely, forlorn process. This is going to be diametrically opposite. Why do I sound so confident? Here’s why. Yesterday night at about 9:00 in the night, a person came up with an idea of making a small booklet on Wiki for beginners to be handed out to the participants of Wikicamp. By 12 midnight, the contents were ready, by about 3:00 early morning, the booklet was edited, by 5:00 am the layout was ready, by 6:00 daybreak the book had hit the printers and by noon today, the booklet has been published. Yup, in a little over half a day, a wonderful 20 page booklet got done. And who made this happen? A team of about a dozen folks who collaborated, collated and contributed on this wiki.
If a booklet can be ready in half a day, then a book can certainly be gotten ready in 6 months time. Yup, the book will hit the book stands on September 8th, 2007.
Within just a few days of letting out the news of this book project, we have a editor who have volunteered to help with editing, we have designers who have volunteered to help design book covers, we have at least three consultants who have helped publish international books give us guidance, a book layout professional who wants to chip in with his contribution. My wife volunteered and helped design the entire site, customize the wikis and the blog. All these within just a few days of spreading the idea.
Everyone knows that this is a niche book and it will never get anywhere near a bestseller. This will never make any money. But the satisfaction of being part of a team, the joy of learning the book writing process and the pride of seeing one’s name as a co-author is just so invaluable.
This is an open book. You can be part of this book writing process. You are welcome to add, edit, discuss, or plain simple criticize. You can write a chapter or just a para or just a line. It’s completely up to you. If you aren’t into writing, you can help with proof reading, editing, research, marketing… the opportunities are amazing. Everyone who contributes will have their name mentioned in the book. If you are interested, join up the mailing list.
Take a look at www.Unconference.info
This book project will be kickstarted by Jimmy Wales at WikiCamp on Sunday, 25th Feb. Yes, Jimmy is part of this project.
Remember. This is your book. This is our book. Let’s go have fun.