Workshop: Digital Publishing Studio
Collaboratively writing and publishing a digital book, start to finish, in four days — or at least trying to
November 4, 2015 | MCN | Minneapolis
In 2011, I ran a couple workshops focused on creating EPUBs from start to finish, this 2014 update sought to do much the same, but by using a static site generator to produce a web publication. As you can see in the description below, the approach also focused much more on the publishing process than it did the technology being used. Not totally surprisingly, this workshop ended much the way those older ones did: we had some fun and learned some things, but didn’t finish our very optimistic agenda.
Digital book publishing, digital production of any kind, is not an isolated act. It is not about a particular format or tool. It is a collaborative, physical, emotional and intellectual endeavor. While this has been true for centuries in print book publishing, digital publishing is about bringing the publishing process to a wider range of potential collaborators. It is about making that process faster, easier, more open, and more universal. It is about creating networks of people acting in concert across geographies toward a common end.
Trade publishing is by nature a cottage industry, decentralized, improvisational, personal; best performed by small groups of like-minded people, devoted to their craft, jealous of their autonomy, sensitive to the needs of writers and to the diverse interests of readers. —Jason Epstein, 2001
So, we’re publishing a digital book about MCN2015! An actual book. Start to finish. In four days. Together.
The process starts in this half-day workshop, where we‘ll set up and name our publishing house, decide what our book will be about and in what digital format or formats we‘re going to publish it in, assign tasks, give ourselves titles, and set out. As a highly-distributed guerrilla group of publishers, participants will gather and submit content for the book throughout the course of the conference. We‘ll keep in touch and on task by email, text, project app or over drinks at the hotel bar. The project will culminate in our book‘s final publication, announced at the conference plenary and probably read and celebrated for centuries to come.