Volpen is a new service that allows you to write full books with others by collaborating chapter by chapter. It’s an interesting idea that’s at least worth the experiment, as it breaks down the isolated and time-intensive writing process into something short and social.
But why would writers want to collaborate to create a book? Volpen Co-Founder, Daniel Liejardi told TNW that collaborating breaks down barriers for many writers that are overwhelmed by the task of writing a 200-300k word novel on their own. “Collaboration can alleviate this problem, uniting casual writers all over the globe to create the next epic literary work, one book at a time.”
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Readers tend to fall for an author’s voice and style as much as they do for individual books. In the case of a Volpen novel, Liejardi explained that the goal isn’t to create the typical book. “It is meant to be more fun, less uniformity, and an exposé of the different styles of ideas and writings of the contributing authors.”
The platform targets both writers and readers, as everything written is immediately public. The startup is initially focusing on casual writers, and is also developing new ways to engage students:
Traditionally, students in creative writing classes are only writing to please one person — their teacher. The volpen platform will allow them to write competitively and expose their writing for public scrutiny. The completed work will also be sold commercially, further adding to the incentive for them to write. In short — we aim to make the creative writing a fun class activity.
As far as the design goes, the team has done a pretty good job making Volpen a clean experience. The site is very text intensive, as any authoring site would be, but they have worked hard to keep everything organized. A more readily available full screen experience, like that in WordPress’ full-screen view, would definitely do the site some good.
All authors share 75% of royalties when the book is completed. At that point, the book goes into physical production and is sold online via Volpen’s online store. You can learn more about the earnings and creation process here.
This service needs to gain traction for it to ultimately work. But at this point, it looks like Volpen is at the forefront of a new way for emerging authors to create and share stories with the rest of the world.