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
“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.
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: