The story of The Book Project

Hi everyone, today I'm going to tell you a bit about a side project I've been working on lately. It is called "The Book Project" and is about collaborative storytelling.

(IMPORTANT: Right now, the project is targeted to Spain and Latin/South America which is why the website is only available in Spanish)

Everything started on the morning of Sunday, the 29th of April, after a long celebration of my friend's 30th birthday. On our way home, Javier and I started talking about project ideas, and among other things: A cloud platform to create a story written by different people.

The idea was born. And Javier's sister had previously been talking about a similar concept, and that seemed to be the trigger: If two people in the same city independently of one another had the same idea, could it be that it has a great potential?

The idea

About a month later we sat down for the first time and started to talk about how to put this thing into practice. Equipped with a six pack of Heineken at my former co-working space we wrapped our heads around what this thing could look like and started drafting some first wireframes.

The Book Project Wireframe

So what's the idea behind this project? The concept is actually quite simple. From the beginning the only thing that was clear though was that we wanted to create a collaborative book, written by the online community during a certain period of time. We had yet to come up with some rules and guidelines.

It seemed evident to define a timeline, which turned out to be a year. With this, it was obvious that we should split up the creation of the story into 12 chapters. Somehow, contributions should get exposed to public voting as well. So we decided to dedicate the first two weeks of each month to let people hand in proposals, while the second one would be dedicated to public voting. Like this, the most popular proposal could carry on the story.

Evolution of the project

Slowly but surely all the pieces of the puzzle came together. Our illustrator came up with some rough sketches and ideas for the look-and-feel of the brand and website:

The Book Project Wireframe
The Book Project Wireframe
The Book Project Wireframe

One day we sat down and created a more polished design of the site, created differently colored versions, until we decided to go for the strong orange that you can see now. This version already came quite close to what the page looks like right now, like this little piece of content which illustrates the agenda.

Agenda of The Book Project

What really gave the site its own character though were the illustrations, provided by Cristina Polop as well. Here is the one used on the front page of the website.

Front page header of The Book Project

Proposals and launch

To our surprise and due to the subtle marketing activities before the actual launch of the project, we had already received more than 20 proposals until the 1st of January 2014. So our actual technical launch had been performed long before the official "marketing" launch, something which saved us tons of stress. It was probably unintended, but there's a great blog post explaining why this actually a good idea.

The first phase of proposals ended with a total of 87 proposals, of which we had two choose 9 finalists. These in turn were exposed to public voting, which encouraged a total of 627 people to read and vote the best beginning.

Status Quo

Currently we are in phase two of the project, and have received 16 proposals to continue the story line. As you can see, there is a notable but also unsurprising decline in visitors, but we hope to keep the interest on a level that allows us to keep the project going and aim for these 9 proposals with each new chapter.

If you want to support the project and help it get more publicity, you can go to our Thunderclap and spread the word by sharing the message on your favorite social network.

Wrapping up

I am very excited to have shared this story with you. As you might have noticed, it is a project that we're doing out of passion, without any financial interests. Our main goal is to create a unique kind of story that hasn't existed before, and to encourage hobby writers to show their potential. And if everything turns out well, we hope at the end of the year being able to publish a truly different kind of book.

Link to our website