What is Open Authoring?

Books are traditionally written by one or two authors, and the entire work stems from the knowledge and ideas of these few persons.
We realized an incredible opportunity: what if we “open up” the process of authoring to include all interested? Build a community and co-create books harnessing their collective intelligence? This approach could make the process of writing books much simpler and quicker. It also had the potential to generate healthy social interactions within the co-author teams.
We worked on this line of thought, and developed a unique digital platform that enables an open, interactive setup for multiple authors to collaboratively generate a unified literary content.

Journey of LetsAuthor

The idea of LetsAuthor took seed in the living room of Founder Saumita Banerjee in 2018, and was incorporated in April 2019.
First book opened for author contributions in November 2020. Successfully written by 15 co-authors from nine countries. Scheduled for publication in August 2021.
Three books in the pipeline.
New Lead Author program launched in July 2021.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • As a Lead Author, you are the main driver of your Book. By Opening this Book, you are beginning a new journey. A journey that will help you realize your dream to become an author of a published book; a Book that may go on to become one of your prized possessions and valued achievements.
  • Its successful completion depends solely on the commitment and attention you are willing to give to make this Book happen. We are there to support you at every step of your book writing endeavor.
  • How Does the Lead Author Program Work?
    • As a Lead Author, you will be driving the entire process of writing this Book
    • Decide your Book Idea: what is the topic you want to write on?
    • Ask yourself the following questions before you finalize your Book Idea:
      • Why are you writing this book? What’s your purpose?
      • Who are you writing this book for? Who will be your target reader?
      • How will this book benefit your readers? Why do you think they would want to read your book?
      • What new and unique message will it have for the reader? What new contribution will it make to the field?
      • How is it different from other books out there? Is it different enough to get noticed?
      • Will the book be unique enough to deserve media attention?
    • Answering these questions will help you validate your Book Idea.
    • Now log in to your admin dashboard and click Add Book
    • Fill in the Title, Subtitle, Description, Chapter names and other details. Upload a cover page if you have one (not necessary at this stage).
    • The title, subtitle, description and chapter names should clearly convey what your book is about and what new and unique message it will have for the reader.
    • Submit the book for Approval. We will perform a quick quality check to ensure the book is on a relevant topic. We may ask you some questions to assess your seriousness and commitment in completing this book.
    • Post approval, your book will show on the platform as “Coming Soon”.
    • Your book will Open for contributions only after you manually Open it from your admin dashboard.
  • Before you Open your Book for Contributions
    • Write a crisp Introduction to clearly convey your vision of the book to your fellow contributors who will be writing the book with you. You can do this through yourAdmin Dashboard .
    • Your Table of Content will be a guide for your contributors to bring in relevant content. Give the book a structure by carefully designing and naming the Chapters and Sub-chapters.
    • Spread the word about your Book far and wide. Identify and bring the right people who can contribute valuable and relevant content.
    • Now is the time to Invite your friends and peers to join you in writing this book together.
  • Open your Book for Contributions
    • Your book will Open for contributions only after you manually Open it from your admin dashboard
    • Check the Introduction, refine the Table of Content by adding Sub-chapters
    • Engage with your Contributor Team; ask them to join your Book’s Community Channel on Slack (we will share the details with you soon after you Open your book). Keep them updated on latest developments.
    • Every new contribution submitted will need your Approval. Only after you Approve, will the contribution become a part of your growing book.
    • You can Edit a contribution and also Reject. To reject, simply delete the incoming contribution using the Bin icon.
    • Together with your team of contributors, complete the book in record time!
    • Self-edit the manuscript to give it a uniform flow and tone, remove grammatical errors, etc. Re-structure the Table of Content if needed.
    • Submit the manuscript for publication.
  • What Happens When my Book is Completed?
    • If your book meets LetsAuthor’s Book Publishing Criteria, it will enter the publishing process
    • LetsAuthor’s Book Publishing Criteria:
      • Your book must have atleast 4 unique contributors other than you.
      • The submitted manuscript must be complete, there must be no major gaps in the story-telling.
      • It must have a new and unique message for the reader. It must make a new contribution to the field.
      • It must contain original, genuine, validated content.
      • It must be uniquely different from other competitive publications and go beyond them.
    • We will inform you within a week whether or not your book meets our Publishing Criteria. We may ask you a few questions around the book. If needed, we will suggest some changes to match our requirements
    • It typically takes us about 3 months to publish a book. During this time, we will constantly be in touch with you for tasks such Book Editing, Cover design, etc
    • A month ahead of publication your book will be available for Pre-Order. Co-ordinate with your contributor team and market the book within your circles. Help us make it a bestseller even before it is published!
  • The Legal Aspects
    • You will hold the Copyright to your book.
    • Your name will appear as Lead Author on the Cover Page
    • Copyright to others’ contributions will rest with the respective contributors.
    • LetsAuthor will hold the exclusive right to exploitation, publication and distribution of the book.
    • Profits will be split 50/50 between the Author team and LetsAuthor.
    • 50% profits from the sale of the book will be shared with you and your contributor team, per the proportion of your individual contributions.

  • Once you identify the book you’d like to contribute to, sign-up or log-in to start contributing
  • You will be taken to the Author dashboard. Select the book, open the table of content, read through the book – how it has developed so far, identify the chapter/location you’d like to contribute to
  • You can view others’ contributions (annotated), can comment, but cannot make edits
  • Click on the contribute bar and start adding your content anywhere in the book. You can also paste content from your word processing software. Please take care to only add original content owned by you. Take a look at our Terms of Use for more information on this.
  • Once you’ve added your content, Preview to ensure everything is in place, Accept our Terms of Use, and click Submit.
  • An email notification will go to the Book Manager upon your submission. The Book Manager will go through your contribution, make edits, adjust the flow of writing to match with the rest of the book (only if needed), and then approve your contribution to appear on the book’s webpage; other logged-in users can now view your contribution.
  • Please note that this is still a draft manuscript, evolving with every new contribution. Your contribution appearing on the draft manuscript does not guarantee that it will be there in the final manuscript as well
  • Just as it happens with an author’s first draft, this draft manuscript will go through a thorough editing process, and only after the completion of the full editing process can we conclusively commit whether your contribution has made it to the final version of the book or not
  • You will be notified when your contribution makes it to the final version of the book to be published
  • Once that happens, congratulations! You are now an official contributor to the book, and depending on how well the book sells (rest assured we will be make every effort to ensure that the book sells REALLY well), you will begin receiving regular payouts.

“Open Authoring” is practiced to write internal documents, technical notes, or articles that feature on websites. We all know Google Docs, Wiki, and the likes. What makes us unique is the fact that we are a platform that is enabling the creation of a full book using “Open Authoring”. This is Open Authoring in its true sense – if your contribution gets selected, you become an Author of a published book. To our knowledge, there isn’t any other way in the world that may be easier than this, for getting your work published.

Furthermore, our primary focus of this whole endeavor is to create books that are REALLY good, containing a diversity of ideas never seen before. We essentially capture perspectives of people from diverse backgrounds in our books. These books capture the essence of a global author community, and not just the East or the West.

LetsAuthor’s editing tool is Wiki-like, but with a few foundational differences: you can only add, and not edit or delete others’ contributions. Each and every contribution made to LetsAuthor passes through the Book Manager for their approval, and only then it appears on the website. In essence, LetsAuthor is way more managed than Wikipedia. This is to ensure that the books we create on our platform progress in the intended way and direction. We also take utmost care to ensure that the content is original, and validated for its authenticity.

Different from an anthology, books created on LetsAuthor have a coherent flow throughout – all chapters are inherently linked together, and do not tell separate stories. A dedicated Book Manager consistently monitors incoming contributions, selects the most valuable contributions, edits the work if needed in order to ensure a uniform writing style, rhythm, and flow. Each chapter flows lucidly into the next, and is an inherent part of the whole book, not a set of different topics pulled in together.

If you are 18 years of age or more, you can start contributing. There are no qualification requirements; all we’re looking for is a contribution with the potential to make the book stand out!

Any new idea you add to the book becomes your contribution. It can be in the form of a few sentences conveying the message, or as a Case Study, or some personal experience you’ve had. But the contribution has to be a complete idea on its own. You may pick up an idea written by another author, as it appears on the book’s page on the website, and write something supporting that. But, your contribution must make sense on its own. It should not be a broken idea/concept.

There is a limit (max/min) to the number of words one can contribute at a time, but there is no limit to the number of words an author can contribute (you may add more by first submitting a contribution that has reached the prescribed limit, and then submit a fresh contribution)

Once the manuscript is finalized, we will notify you if your contribution becomes a part of the final manuscript. This should not take more than 2 months after the book is closed on our website. If you do not hear back from us, you may assume your contribution did not get selected. Please note that we have multiple contributions coming in for a book and sometimes it gets very difficult for us to decide on which contributions to reject! But, as you may imagine, we cannot have a book that is running through hundreds of pages. So, some rejections will unfortunately be there.

As with most publishing contracts, each contributor (co-author) retains complete copyright over their own contribution(s) as it appears in the published book. However, per the Terms of Use, each contributor shall exclusively assign their rights to LetsAuthor to exploit their work and thus LetsAuthor has the exclusive right of publication and worldwide distribution of the book and its derivatives.

All profits from the sale, distribution, and exploitation of the book are split 50/50 between LetsAuthor and all co-authors (authors whose contribution(s) have been selected to be a part of the final manuscript). You will receive your contributor fee per the proportion of your contribution to the published book, on a quarterly basis.
Example: For a profit of $20,000 obtained from a book over a given time period,
LetsAuthor gets: $10,000
Co-author 1 (proportion of contribution: 45%): $10,000 x 0.45 = $4,500
Co-author 2 (proportion of contribution: 20%): $10,000 x 0.20 = $2,000
Co-author 3 (proportion of contribution: 15%): $10,000 x 0.15 = $ 1500
Co-author 4 (proportion of contribution: 15%): $10,000 x 0.15 = $1500
Co-author 5 (proportion of contribution: 5%): $10,000 x 0.05 = $500

“Profits” is Net profits, after all statutory deductions and other deductions / levies.Profits are calculated by subtracting all associated costs from revenues generated from the book.

We take care to safely retain all contributions coming to our website. We do not use the contributions for any other purpose other than the original intent.

Our platform has an embedded plagiarism checker to ensure contributions are not copy-pasted from elsewhere. However, if you do notice something that is potentially infringing, please write to the Book Manager assigned to that book, and we will look into the matter right away.

The whole book is not, at any point of time, open for viewing on the website. The work in progress is visible, but once we have enough content, we start locking the chapters, and finally close the whole book. Even after the book is closed, it goes through a content editing process that may involve lot of changes before the manuscript takes the shape of the book-to-be-published.

Furthermore, we have the copy/paste function disabled on our platform. This prevents any illicit copying of the content.

The platform is designed in such a way that every new contribution is tracked to its original source (your contribution is always yours). Now, the Book Manager and our Content Editor may see a need to edit your contribution – for grammar / to set a uniform flow / to make the sentences crisper or more concise / for some other reason – but the contribution still remains yours, and the proportion of your contribution is calculated accordingly.

On your Author Dashboard, you can view the “Sales Activity Report” for each of the books you’ve contributed to. This figure is basically how much a book has earned in a given quarter, and how much you are entitled to. We try our best to keep this information updated, but there can be some lag owing to a delay in receiving the sales figures from our distributors.

Of course, you are most welcome! Authors are one of our major marketers! Once you become part of a published book, please do share it around as much as you like. Get engaged with other authors on LetsAuthor, and showcase the new book to them as well. If you are an established author, with publication experience, please leverage your experience, and also guide your fellow co-authors through our Author Community.

We encourage you to share your ideas and suggestions. Each book has provision for comments. Other authors can also view your comments, and pick up your idea.

No, you cannot delete or edit others contributions. If you think something needs an edit / deletion, comment about it. The Book Manager will decide and make the required changes.

You can always paste content from your work processing software into LetsAuthor’s editor. You can also drag and drop your content. But you cannot import a file.

Each book we launch on our platform is our baby. We intend to publish each of them, and make them as successful as we can! However, in some cases, it may happen that the book does not progress the way we’d like it to. In such a case, after a feedback from our internal quality team, we may decide to shelve a book. Please be aware that this will be very rare.

Yes! Absolutely! We’re always looking out for a helping hand (or rather a “helping mind” in this case). We regularly post requirements to our Author Community. Please visit that page, and look out for open opportunities to contribute to other parts in the value chain – editing, proof-reading, cover designing, reviewing, etc. Please note that you cannot do this if your contribution features in the book (the usual conflict of interest story…).

From time-to-time, we solicit book topics from authors via our Author Community. Please write in your ideas to an open call. You may also send us unsolicited ideas via email. If a topic suggested by you is chosen to launch a new book on our platform, you get an opportunity to collaborate with our Book Manager in managing the book. You will also receive appropriate remuneration for this.

At the moment, we launch books from the following Genres on our platform: Sciences, Technology and Medicine; Business and Economics; Health, Family and Personal Development; Society and Social Sciences. We intend to diversify and eventually include fiction. However, we know fiction can be a bit tricky to handle through Open Authoring. So, we have begun with creating Short Stories that will only be featured on the web platform (not to be published outside the platform). If you’re interested in writing fiction, please visit the Author Community – we have a few Short Story projects ongoing.

In order to keep the visitor engaged, we also invite you to write blogs, feature your other works on our platform.

Once the Book Manager decides that an Open Book has received enough contributions, or once the deadline of the book is reached, the book is Closed on the platform for any more contributions. From this stage, until the book is published, the book is designated “Closed Book”. This is the time when all the “back-end” action happens – content and copy editing, proof-reading, cover designing, typesetting, and eventually, publishing.

You may support your original contributions by your previous works. However, your base contribution should be original, written in fresh words.

We tie-up with global distributors to ensure wide reach and availability of our books in both printed and digital formats.

Digital formats are sold globally through Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, etc. For printed versions, we begin with the US, Canada, some countries in Europe, and India.

We’ve begun with English books. We plan on diversifying to other languages, but right now, its only English.

Sure! Your ideas are what matter, not the language. Please feel free to submit your work, even if you’re not sure of the grammar. We’ll take care of that!

We currently publish three categories of books:

  1. Books created on our platform through Open Authoring
  2. Books created offline, by soliciting contributions from selected authors
  3. Books created through scouting ideas from the common people – our team goes out in the field, talks to people, and writes their stories.