Interesting post here by Mike Shatzkin (very smart publishing guy) on his blog related to a topic there’s going to be a conference on at the end of this month. It’s publishing in the cloud. For those of you who might be wondering, this is not a reference to the puffy masses of water vapor floating in the sky, but to the notion of having content centralized and accessible to all parties involved. For a book, this would mean my manuscript is located on a server somewhere outside of the publisher, and anyone involved in the process of putting the book together would then have access to it.
It’s not hard to imagine how this could be turned into a great thing for the future of publishing. For one, the ms never has to be moved. It’s always in one place, and anyone involved, from the editor to the publicist can tap into it at any time. Comments, questions, and feedback would be located in one spot. No more emailing around to various people to get needed information. It would streamline the production process ( how much I don’t know, but it would). This in turn would save time and money.
While great for publishing, I’m more excited by the prospects this would offer the writer. How fabulous would it be to have access to the workings of the book in progress? We could offer our own invaluable feedback through all aspects of the publishing process. Now, while it doesn’t mean our feedback would be used, the notion that we could be included in all of this and see the how/what/why of things getting done would be incredible. It could truly make the book a collaborative project. It almost makes me giddy to think about the potential.
Working in the cloud is an exploding industry right now. It offers huge benefits across the board for all kinds of work. Publishing tends to be slow to evolve with new tech, but I sincerely hope they are on the ball with this one. Even in self-publishing, I can see how this might become advantageous. A cloud-based freelance publishing network where a writer pays a fee to be hosted and then an editor, proofer, cover-artist, and formatter are signed on to work on it, taking their percentage of the fee. The author is there in the middle of it for the entire process, and the book ideally becomes a group project.
It’s going to happen, and it’s probably not too far down the road either. I’m looking forward to seeing how this all develops. Exciting stuff!