Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Want to Watch a Book Being Written?

Well, you can over at The Red Couch, Robert Scoble and Shel Israel's blog chronicling their process of writing a book about blogging.

And it's really far more than a chronicle. They are actually posting things like their Table of Contents, their proposal etc. and soliciting open feedback and commentary.

On the one hand it's undeniably a cool idea. Not only for interested folks who will be able to see the book take place, and if they care to, try to shape it. But also for the authors who are basically getting free editing, advice, proofreading etc. from a slew of mostly qualified people.

I would be concerned that they'll kill a bit of their own buzz marketing potential by doing it this way. Why? Because word of mouth starts with the early adopters. They get something; they like it; they pass on the info to the next circle of folks. When their book finally comes out I would be just a little apprehensive that it might already be old hat to the folks who would normally be all abuzz about its release. Probably not a real problem for these folks, given their blogland celebrity...but I'm not sure the totally transparent method would work for lesser-know authors.

The recently posted their first chapter on the blog. Truth is I wanted to like it more than I actually did. The main problem to me is one of tone and one of citation.

Tone: throughout the chapter they speak rather derisively abut the "hyperbole" and "hubris" of marketing-speak. I actually agree. I would only say that they fall into that very hyperbolic language themselves. Many of their statements didn't pass the gut-test. The sweeping and dramatic predictions or even analysis of the past felt over-played. And that wasn't helped by the complete lack of...

Citation: If you're going to imply that any company who didn't get a web site died, better have at least one good example. If you're going to claim blogging has the fastest adoption rate ever, I'm sorry I want to know how you come to that conclusion.

Now, this Chapter One may really be more of an Introduction than a real first chapter.

If that's so, make it clear. Tell us you're going to dig deeper in coming chapters. My apprehension in reading this chapter is that the authors think they can throw out statements like "Today, they [blogs] are the best way to make your company more profitable, grow faster, or get your product more rapidly adopted" once and having "established" their premise, move on to talk about the "how".

Probably not a fair apprehension, but there it is.

If you want to watch the book-writing and publishing process, The Red Couch is the place for you. In the end the transparency of their process may be more interesting than the final product. We shall see.

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