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Publishing a Book with YOU in it? Yep, ask me how

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  • Reading the recent posts of a few supportive members (Saint and BlackHeartedWolf, as a couple specifically), I was reminded of an idea I ran with a different website, Newsvine, that I think would be a huge success within this community.

    I've noted several times before that I started my writing tenure as a citizen journalist. My primary focus was political writing and often played the role of devil's advocate between the American political parties. Newsvine however, wasn't a site dedicated to just political writing but was a central hub for all kinds of things - recipes, art display, local news, opinions, politics, etc.,  So one day, I got to thinking about how as a general rule, information on the Internet has a 48 hour lifespan; anything written will have reached it maximum visitor rate at around 48 hours. After that time it becomes archived and "old" information. This is especially true in the arena of "news." Sad as it is, there were many relevant happenings in the world that may become history, but the people on the site that gave opinion or covered the stories would be forgotten.

    I recall a couple of pieces about 9/11 - and a particular piece that detailed a first hand account of the attacks from the perspective of a man at work a few blocks away and the trials of just returning home on that fateful day. There was a soldier overseas that would write a weekly diary online of his thoughts about his family and the experience of returning home. there was also a story of a woman, who wrote about the regret of a previous abortion from the perspective of the child. Some things were gut wrenching, others were light hearted, but all of them were tangible aspects of the community and deserved a degree of preservation. Incidentally, the most difficult piece I've ever written was nominated for this project by the community, "Goodbye Dad, I Love You." Ultimately I was in the book twice, the aforementioned article was one of them.

    The solution to how to preserve the words and thoughts from the community was to make a book, but how?

    I came across a website, Blurb. At the time it was just starting and had a lot of technical issues, but it was a simple and readily available solution that suit my need. Today Blurb is much more robust and offers a variety of options for those who wish to self-publish.

    As I ran this project, it became apparent authors needed a unified banner to fall under - a common tie, so I chose the banner would be charity. All proceed from the finished project would go to the agreed upon charity of choice (authors choice). I didn't let the non-authors choose because I figured since we couldn't pay the authors to use their work, they should at least have the ability to pick what charity proceeds from the book would go. Additionally, despite the work involved in compiling, creating images, layout, etc, it isn't right for me to have received money and not the authors (i.e. I'm not going to make money from the work  or IP of another)

    What does this have to do with my idea? Everything.

    As I said, there's a few members of the community seeking to strengthen and preserve the past, and though my opinion may differ with regard to what's worthy, it is ultimately a community decision. So I intend to run this exactly the same way I did with Newsvine.

    This is a several part process, will take a ton of time, and take several months (it took 8 months with newsvine, but mainly because of how I had break the book up into various sections).

    Here's a run down of the basic Phases:

    • Phase I - Interest
    • Phase II - nomination of authors [no staff pieces] (community)
    • Phase III - voting (community)
    • Phase IV - author selection of charity (author only, publicly displayed)
    • Phase V - author content release form (email)
    • Phase VI - compiling (internal)
    • Phase VII - publication

    Finally, I'll show you the finished product of the book here:

    http://www.blurb.com/my/book/detail/514152

    As each phase starts I'll explain in detail the rules. There are no exceptions to the rules and the rules are in place for very specific (and sometimes legal) reasons - so don't be upset if something doesn't make sense up front, all will be revealed in due time.

    So, that said I'd like to get this thing rolling.


    PHASE I - INTEREST

    If you think that creating a blurb book chronicling the best past and present works of the GIO community (again, no staff pieces permitted), where in 100% the proceeds go to a charity collectively agreed upon my the community selected authors, is something you would like to see and take part in deciding upon. You'll likely notice that this is really just a re-post of my personal blog, but I wanted to also directly approach the writers guild since the point of this guild is to group "writers" together.

    The reason for spreading the word is not to draw attention to me, but to later have a larger pull of potential candidate authors. The more people talking about the project, the greater the book will become in scope and depth. Our objective is the VERY best community writers and it would be a disservice to the community to have a small range from which to pull. This is perhaps the MOST important part of the process but it requires some leg work to secure.

    In a week, I will start taking nominations for authors - but be warned, Phase II is exceedingly structured and there is little room for "first" posts and other mockery... those things will only prolong the process and you'll see that very quickly people will begin to get a little anxious. However, the end result will be a tangible book that can be bought online as either a keepsake of the times here, or as a chronicle of the gaming culture.

    Let's get it goin' - I'll be trying to monitor both the forum thread and my blog for responses.

    CAUTION: Shawn's blog increases the risk of intelligence.

  • Sounds like a fantastic idea. Although I hope that the nomination/submission process goes smoothly and organized... I can't imagine trying to comb through thousands of old blogs to re-find the ones that I liked.

    But a lot of great stuff on here, and as you said, it preserves a slice of gaming history as the fans see it. Awesome idea.

  • Well, it is a daunting task to comb through tousands of things but that's the power of crowd sourcing. You propose an idea that benefits the community, and the community will take part in gathering the data. The nomination part is much more than author name and article title, it will be presented in the form of a link to the specific piece so that I can easily go to it, and so that people when voting on it, can read it and see for themselves if they want to have it included. Still, there will be much work on my part, but not as much as I think you think.

    Thanks.

    CAUTION: Shawn's blog increases the risk of intelligence.

  • Oh I figured that the links and such would be provided for you, yes. I just was thinking that we, as nominators, would have to go through tons of old stuff to find it. But if word gets to enough people, I guess everyone can just be nominating themselves or their close friends. That way no one needs to go hunting through old material aimlessly. Crowd sourcing, as you say... well I think you have this figured out and I'm all for it.

  • This is a great idea and makes complete sense. I will certainly be combing through some other peoples backlogs to find some gems and let you know.

  • I'll help in any way I can. Combing, suggestions. This is a great idea and I'd love to help.

    _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  • I'll help out in any way that I can, whatever it is that I need to do, consider it done. Just uh, make sure that it can be done with you somewhere else...

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  • wayoverdue:

    I'll help out in any way that I can, whatever it is that I need to do, consider it done. Just uh, make sure that it can be done with you somewhere else...

    I'm guessing you mean to make sure that it is a task that doesnt require physicla presence, as in something done remotely? Most of what needs to be done in terms of actual physical work I can do. If however, you've got special talents that you'd like to offer, let me know what they are and I'll see if it's something I can accommodate and implement. .

     

    CAUTION: Shawn's blog increases the risk of intelligence.

  • Since the immediate support has been pretty good, I figure we'll go ahead and do this... so with that, between today and next Sunday, a discussion about the Phase II rules should happen. Below are some of the rules I already have in mind. Feel free to propose additions, ask questions of clarity, state a case against a proposed rule, etc.

    • All nominations require a link to the article directly. Nominations with name and title only will not be counted.
    • No more than one article per author in a nomination
    • You may change your nominations only by editing your comment and add "[UPDATE]" to the content  - DO NOT make a new comment for nomination, it will not be counted and your original post for nomination will stand.
    • Nominations after September 25, 2011 will not be accepted. I plan to have this finished and published two weeks before Christmas so this isn't an elastic process.
    • You many not nominate yourself*, a staff member, a mod, or current GameStop employees (if it's noted on their profile, comments, or blog)**. Former employees of GameStop are okay as they're not in any official capacity of operation.
    • User reviews, Guides, or comments are not eligible for nomination.
    • Forum Posts or Threads are not eligible for nomination.
    • You may not pander for nominations for yourself or shill nominations for others in Phase II nomination blog post (which doesnt currently exist, so dont look for it). Comments of this nature will be removed without prejudice or negotiation if I see it happen - consider that the warning. You can make your own blog or forum thread to do that, but not there. 

    *     The reason for not nominating yourself is everyone would simply do it negates the point of nomination - I'd simply just ask people to send me their stuff via link. FAIL.

    **    The reason we cannot nominate staff, mods, or current GameStop Corp employees (or its subsidiaries) is because they operate in an official capacity to Gameinformer.com, which is run by Game Informer Magazine and owned by GameStop. An impression of bias may exist in the nomination of staff or mods, but more importantly I really don't want to have a legal team send me a cease and desist letter over copyright, trademark, service mark, intellectual property rights, plagiarism, or something else at any point during or after all this work is done.

    The last time I did this project on a different site, I was not given advice on anything with exception that I could no be given advice or input of any kind in an official or unofficial capacity (not even how to absolve the corporations of affiliation, which was an interesting task to figure out through numerous legal forums) -  It could be interpreted as involvement, which MSNBC legal staff strictly forbade. I'm operating under the assumption that GameStop Corp's legal teams would advise Staff of the same and urge staff to advise mods of the same. So - essentially we're completely on our own here (and it's really not going to hurt anything, so don't worry).

    CAUTION: Shawn's blog increases the risk of intelligence.

  • Hmm, preserving the past... a writer worth of being published... Lady Sarai. It's a shame her history of blogs posted here doesn't display correctly anymore. If you go through RSS though, it will go back a few extra posts... still, there were dozens more behind the ones that show there.

    To the staff/admins: Is there any way to get her profile to show the archived pieces properly again?

  • "All nominations require a link to the article directly. Nominations with name and title only will not be counted."

    So does that mean we can only choose one article from a specific writer?
    If it's just authors, I nominate Oni No Tenshi

    If just a specific blog post, then I'll edit the post after you tell me that it's just one post. I can't get on often, so I'll try to bear with you guys. I might miss a step, but that's very, very unlikely.

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  • wayoverdue:

    "All nominations require a link to the article directly. Nominations with name and title only will not be counted."

    So does that mean we can only choose one article from a specific writer?
    If it's just authors, I nominate Oni No Tenshi

    If just a specific blog post, then I'll edit the post after you tell me that it's just one post. I can't get on often, so I'll try to bear with you guys. I might miss a step, but that's very, very unlikely.

    Well, we're not in Phase II yet -

    "So with that, between today and next Sunday, a discussion about the Phase II rules should happen. Below are some of the rules I already have in mind. Feel free to propose additions, ask questions of clarity, state a case against a proposed rule, etc."

    See? only discussion of rules... not nomination - so keep those in mind but they don't count YET. Both of you were half right in how to do it... you're nominating A blog entry from an author. You can only nominate one blog per author you nominate. or "No more than one article per author in a nomination"

    As an example, if someone nominated me, the proper way to do it would be:

    Shawn Gordon - OPINION: And Justice For Whom

    but you can nominate more than one person so you could add a few other people to it. If you want to add more later, edit the comment.

    If I see just the name of the author and it links me to their bloglist... that's useless to me.

    CAUTION: Shawn's blog increases the risk of intelligence.

  • dont link me to her blog roll, link me to a specific blog post you're nominating. Is she even around anymore? Even if she had a blog that would make sense to include, if she's not someone I can get written permission to use the blog from, it's a wasted nomination

    CAUTION: Shawn's blog increases the risk of intelligence.

  • She is, she posted recently. I think yesterday? Also, the rules are fine, I have no problem with them.

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  • Just to clarify, that's one article from an author per nominator, right? But if a different nominator likes a different article from that author, they could nominate it?

    For example - Bob wants to nominate the "10 ways to use your N64 as a Toaster" article by CrazyJohn. But George feels that the "Psychological Effects of Angry Birds" by CrazyJohn is a better piece, so he nominates that one.

    Two different users could nominate CrazyJohn, but since we are nominating pieces not authors, they could list two different pieces? Then both would be looked at and voted upon by the community as two separate entries, right?

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