Crowdsourcing for Fiction Authors?

Dohkkiu: try to think of a solution

Kiu was opera jargon in former times and referred to humorous plays. Dohk means to measure or to consider. Dohkkiu refers to working out a scenario in a play; nowadays, it means to find a solution.

I recently participated in a webinar by Guy Kawasaki, author of APE, a guide for writers interested in self-publishing. One of the interesting points in his talk involved crowdsourcing. He actually sent out an outline of his manuscript to his online followers. Later on, when he’d finished the draft, he gave them the entire text to look over. Hundreds of people gave him input and/or reviewed his work. This honed his book (although it still continues to be refined based on reader feedback) and when it came out on Amazon, the contributors were first in line to give Kawasaki great reviews.

Crowdsourcing is an interesting idea and works well with nonfiction. There are a lot of experts out there, and they can all contribute in providing accurate information. For fiction, though, I’m not sure how well crowdsourcing works (except for the certain tidbits that require research). 

In the end, I think the fiction author needs to create his or her own world first. With too many people shifting around words and offering suggestions, the vision for the book may become unclear. Even the opinions of critique partners need to be taken with a grain of salt. For example, the first line (and indeed, the first chapter) of my current manuscript has received feedback from over a dozen people. After altering it so many times, I found it hard to recognize my own voice in it. Eventually, I had to go back to reincorporate my original outlook.
Go ahead and share an experience when community has helped or harmed your efforts.

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